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Evolutionarily-conditioned (instinctual) human fear hasn’t had enough time to be calibrated optimally to the contemporary threats humans face. That people so frequently drive immediately after waking up or while intoxicated without great concern are examples of signicant but historically recent dangers. Becoming scared while watching a horror movie is an extreme example of fear arising when no threat is present. Uneasiness in swimming in a lake or walking in the woods at night are primordial fears that serve little constructive purpose, assuming you’re not wading in the Everglades or hiking in the Rockies.

I’ve been in a bit of a dispute with family and friends over what I see as an issue of fear vestige. My neighborhood is at the edge of a town on the outskirts of the metro area, surrounded by brush and fields on three sides. It’s only a couple of years old, and several houses are being built near mine. Consequently, my unfinished basement has become a sanctuary for arthropods, especially spiders. They’re are webs all along the ‘step’ that protrudes a few inches from the drywall halfway down, and along the stairwell.

I enjoy seeing the little guys whenever I go downstairs. While most spiders are venomous, very few are threatening to humans. The effects of most bites are, at worst, similar to the pain suffered from a bee sting. Because cool, dark, and damp (I hang my wet clothes on clotheslines in the basement to dry) environs are a spider’s favorite, it is rare to see one upstairs where I live and sleep. They cut down on the population of insects that actually are pests, like roaches, moths, and termites. I live alone, and without any pets, so they’re companions as well. Hence, I’ve not done anything about them.

Those close to me are creeped out by it. They say it’s only a matter of time before I’m seriously bitten. Eastern Kansas has black widows, and more commonly, brown recluses wandering about.
One day when you go to grab a shirt, you’ll grab a recluse instead. What if they launch an organized assault, a la Arachnopobia?!

Maybe. But I’ve never been cognizant of a bite. Even the bite of a female black widow, the notoriously most dangerous encounter a person can have with a spider, is fatal in less than 5% of cases. I’m an active, healthy guy. The chance that I’d suffer from necrosis or even severe pain after being bitten by a recluse or a widow is minimal. Unlike a pit bull or rottweiler loose in the neighborhood (animals that are more likely to kill or injury humans than the most poisonous arachnids are), spiders are never aggressive toward people. Take a quick look at clothes, a towel, or your bedsheets before using them and you’re fine.

Wolf spiders are my personal favorites, and there are lots of them on board. With a body the size of a quarter, they are about the scariest looking things you’ll ever see inside. While I like putting on the tough guy veneer, these beasts are a threat to both widows and recluses (and any other unfortunate bug they come across) but not to me. They’re the best ally a guy who deplores chores to keep the place pristine could have! As hunters, they are more mobile than ambushers or web spinners. A widow or recluse that takes to the floor risks being run down and devoured.

I have plenty of bug bombs on hand if the situation ever gets out of control.

(Republished from The Audacious Epigone by permission of author or representative)
• Tags: Nature, Self indulgence 
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  1. Generally Ive avoided giving out secrets on my blog or the net (hey why do something for total strangers?). But heres a lil freebie…

    Get a bottle of Mega H (also known as MegaHydrin).

    If by chance some serious spider bites you, it could very well be the difference between life and death. It will probably counteract the poison till you get to a hospital.

    Once my aunt, in her traditional eastern "the guests are all that matters" mode, accidently spilled a saucepan full of boiling water on herself.. Needless to say she was in a lot of pain. I gave her two little pills, and her pain disappeared a minute later. She couldnt believe it because 3 minutes later she was fretting over her guests (us) again and my uncle had to tell her to take care of herself first – only then did she realize she was painfree.

    Similarly when I was working on a farm, and taking a lot of mosquito stings – they cleared up the itching for about 3-4 hours. Most poisons (all?) work somewhere along the way by releasing high amounts of free radicals – and this seems to quench them dead.

    Normal free radical scavengers are HUGE molecules. Vitamin C for example is C6H8O6. What Patrick Flanagan, the inventor of MegaHydrin did was stick the same power (in fact better) on a single Hydrogen Molecule.

    Given that oxygen is 8 times heavier and Carbon 6 times heavier, and electrons are arranged in a pattern of 2n^2… and a rough estimation (I figure anyway?) of electron orbits is the same as the Solar System – you could fit hundreds of hydrogen molecules in the same place of a carbon atom – and thousands in the place of a Ascorbic Acid molecule.

    I dont take it regularly, as I figure quenching all free radical activity might not be the healthiest thing – but I keep a bottle around usually.

    Cheap Source for it.

  2. Little bugs aren't pests to me — no crops that they're eating, or whatnot. So I'll take them over creepy spiders. I'd nuke the basement if I were you.

    The worst are camel crickets — do you have those in Kansas? ::shudder::

  3. One of these fuckers ran over me when I first got to Iraq:

    Needless to say, I freaked out.

  4. Mensa,

    Interesting, thanks. I'd never even heard of it.


    I've seen them on runs but never inside. They're harmless though! When I had several pet toads, I used to gather them up as a food source. Sure, they look alien enough (and sort of resemble spiders), but their main method of defense short of hopping away is puncturing some unfortunate would-be predator's abdomen with their hind legs–not something that's going to 'bug' you.


    Those things are huge!

  5. They are good sized, but thankfully not as big as I had originally been led to believe. Still very disgusting though.

    However not everything in the desert is gross or freaks me out. A friend has one of these as a pet:

  6. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    hi my name is jenifer. i was reading up on spider bites and i couldn't help notice your comment on pitbulls and rotweilers being "vicious" or whatever. just thought i'd let you know that every animal of course can be vicious. a pomeranian attacked a young boy nearly to death. are you going to assume all pomeranians dangerous? not trying to be rude at all i just love animals and i am veery passionate on stopping breed discrimination.i own a pitbull, his name is ruger and he is the best dog i've ever had. i used to be afraid of big dogs. still am some. Ruger laid with me while i was recovering from surgery, he is extremely protective.but when it comes to being mean or "vicious" we've had to guys break in to our house one night and our dog did not bite either of them. he did growl of course but we were not holding him back and he did not bite. he never attempted to hurt anyone. it just depends on how they are raised. alot of people judge without the facts.

  7. Jenifer,

    Pit bulls have killed more people than any other breed of dog has. Rottweilers are right behind them. No, that does need mean all pit bulls are vicious or all Golden Retrievers are harmless. But individual anecdotes do not constitute statistically significant meaningful trends.

  8. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Wow. that is creepy even after that picture with the spiders in the sink. We had a huge wolf spider in the basement that i caught i now have it as my pet. I know it is weird but i also let is free down stairs once in a while and i was following it around and it ate a lizard that got into my basement. it was weird.

  9. Anon,

    There is a mysterious attraction about Wolf Spiders. In my case, I think it is the way that they are able to get the job done, without inhibition, that is the draw.

  10. i just hate spiders! A wolf spider bite me one the jaw bone in my sleep!
    it hurt like h e l l!!! and now spiders wont stop biteing me in my sleep. now every morning i find a new spider bite on me! it suckes!!! wat do i do?!?!?! the stooop it spiders wont stop biteing me!!!!1 help! and wow camle spiders look HUGE!and not very many pit bulls are bad, in fact, its the owners falt! if the animals abuesd it will try to please its owner, usualy becaus the owners bad the dog acts bad, iv got two pit bulls, they would lick ppl to death be for hurting them!! id aree with you anon

  11. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    rotweillers and pitbulls are not naturally vicious! Like any other animal, they have been bred by cruel people to fight! The reason that statistic is true is because of the treatment and environment they grow up in. Pitbulls are extremely misunderstood dogs, they are among the most intellegent breeds. Do the full research before spreading around a claim like that.

  12. Anon,

    Terriers have been bred for aggressiveness and rottweilers are one of the choicest breeds for use as guard dogs. But even if we grant that their behavior (and their means to act upon it, which no toy poodle, no matter how vicious, is going to be able to match), the fact remains that pit bulls and rottweilers are the most likely and second-most likely breed of dog to injure or kill people, so the average person is wise to be especially wary of them.

  13. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Rotties and Pitbulls can be vicious but so can every other breed, most Pitbull and Rottie attacks that lead to death or serious injury is due in large part to bad training, Not socializing them with ppl and other dogs. Also, Pitbulls rank among the top for dog related deaths in america but if u actually research it its not pitbulls specifically, its a combination of 50 breeds of "pitbull type" dogs. i.e. Bull terriers, boxers, american bulldogs etc etc. And rottweiler are one of the smartest breeds, i've raised many dogs and hands down my Rottie is by far the most intelligent, obedient dog ive owned. As well if u look into how many pitbull type dogs and rottweilers are registered in america, u will notice they are the most bred dogs. there more dogs per capita, mixed with bad owners, its a recipe for disaster. anyone who claims these two dogs are vicious clearly have never met German Shepards and Dobermans. Learn the Facts ppl before u start blowing smoke out ur ass

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