Dude, I lost my love

By Mir
April 30, 2009

All day—as I worked, ran around doing various delightful things like taking my son to the orthodontist to have part of his gums lasered off (note to self: BUY MEDAL AND ICE CREAM)—I kept thinking I would find my happy place and return to my computer ready to do a Love Thursday post. I like Love Thursday. Some might even say I LOVE Love Thursday. And I’ve always managed to find something love-worthy even on days that weren’t so great.

But not today.

Today my love is on temporary hiatus, and it has been replaced with a DEEP and ABIDING sense of SQUICK. I’m sorry, but it’s true. And I don’t know how to fix it.

Last night I went outside to water the garden, as I always do. Watering the plants generally puts me into a Zen zone where all is right with the universe.

But last night, I noticed a spider’s web in the corner of one of my planter boxes, and I’d seen the web there before, but this was the first time that I thought I saw something down in the deep, dark corner at the edge of the web.

Look; I actually LIKE spiders. For the most part. There are, obviously, some exceptions. But a spider in the garden is a good thing, because that spider will eat bugs that might eat the plants. Right? Right.

And so it was with a sense of love and tolerance that I peered into that dark hole.

Huh, I thought to myself. I’m thinking I see something there that’s… wait, you know what? I think I want to go grab a camera. Because I think maybe… nah, I’m sure it’s not, but why not just duck inside for a sec all the same?

She soon came out to eat her dinner.

I kept clicking away, even as in the back of my brain, something niggled. Isn’t that…?

Eventually she went back to her hidey hole, and I came back inside.

And consulted my dear friend The Google. You do know what Ms. Spider is, right? Here’s a hint.

And now my love is GONE BABY GONE, because WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE. I mean, black death is waiting right over by the tomatoes. Tomatoes that I brought back from the dead with tender love and care! Tomatoes I’ve coddled and pampered! And now I can’t go near them.

Because I’m a big giant wuss.

I love the south, man, but the bugs here just do not mess around. Sheesh.


  1. liz

    I think that black widows only make you sick. You won’t die if you squish her the next time you see her. I’ve squished them before. :)

  2. Jodi

    Ewww. We have those here too. Go and by some bug spray for your yard. Spray the foundation around the house and about 4 feet out. It will keep them out of your house and away from your kiddos.

  3. Tracy

    Let me just say—RAID! I would be killing the dang thing. I can’t stand bugs and I don’t know if it’s just me but when we moved from the city to the country, I’ve noticed more bugs then ever and they are HUGE! I’ve seen bugs I’ve NEVER, EVER seen before. Needless to say, my Bugman gets paid really well. Happy Love Thursday!

  4. Megan

    I grew up with the things. They’re really, really beautiful but as a small child? The Zone of Death was at LEAST fifteen yards wide.

    My parents’s neighbor’s kid though? Raises ’em as pets. And then tries to sell them at his garage sale.

  5. The Mother

    I would definitely not leave Ms. Black Widow where your kids could accidentally put their hands. Kill her off before she kills a mate and ends up with a web full of progeny.

  6. Scottsdale Girl

    I had one crawling up my arm when I was 10. I was sitting on the floor with my back against the front of the couch and thought it was a hair tickling me. Keep brushing at it and it kept tickling. Finally I slapped/cupped my hand to remove the offensive hair and when I went to drop it out came a bigass black spider. Needless to say I died Dead after that and don’t remember what happened.

  7. Jess

    Somebody once brought one of these to the library where I worked to have it identified. My co-worker showed it to me on her way out of the building with it.

    I mean, yeah, a library’s a place of learning and information and all that, but still! Dude!

  8. Scottsdale Girl

    I remember! My mom threw a napkin over it and called my dad at work. (sigh it sure was nice having a stay at home mom those first few years) Dad told her to kill it. Um yeah, we both stared at each for a very long time…then she grabbed the Sunset Living Garden Book off the shelf and whacked the crap out of the napkin. Then I died again

  9. Jan in Norman, OK

    Ordinary bug spray won’t work. You need to look for a spray made for spiders.

    I know that this shoots a big hole in your organic gardening but, sheesh, you don’t have a lot of choice here.

  10. Jennifer

    If you want to stay organic with your gardening and be pest free, get some diatomaceous earth. They sell it in the garden section with all the other bug killers. sprinkle it all over the garden for good measure! It kills pretty much every garden pest…

  11. Holly


  12. Little Bird

    Ummm… I seem to remember hearing somewhere that that particular type of spider is partial to relatively new wooden constructions. It sounds weird though. When they were building a new wing to the science museum in St. Louis, they had a wicked bad infestation of them. So much of an infestation they had to delay the re-opening of the place. After hearing about it, I never went back.

  13. My Kids Mom

    If you’re trying to remain organic, the bests option is your shoe. If possible. Maybe use a cone of paper to sort of catch her, then toss it to the ground and step on it/her. I’m all for spiders and usually ignore any critter outdoors, but a black widow is a black widow and, well, here she’d be a goner. Weigh the options: tomatoes all summer v. black widow bite on you or the kids?

  14. Steph

    Get your vacuum hose attachment, wait for her to come out again, suck her up. You get to stay arms length away, still organic. Everybody’s happy!

    We just moved our sprinkler valves under ground so I could have raised garden beds, and a HUGE black widow crawled on my boyfriend’s hand. I swear it’s body was like the size of a quarter. he squashed it. I’m writing this from the grave.

  15. Lisa


    Running away from the computer…

    Door slamming!

  16. LiteralDan

    I hate to be a spider racist, but you need to take that thing out, and hope a less dangerous spider moves into that sweet spot.

    Alternatively, you could adopt her as your mascot, and use her to implicitly threaten Otto.

    As a side note, after reading through that Wikipedia page, I’m thinking that maybe the ladies kill their mates most of the time because they’re grossed out by all the “sperm webs”.

  17. Sara

    Squick-squick-squick-squick-squicky-squicky SQUICK!!!!
    That thing is the poster child, er, spider for a shoe-thumping!!

  18. Lindy

    Next time you see it, kill it. A black widows bite usually isn’t deadly, but that depends on your age and physical condition. Your kids are big enough they shouldn’t be particularly vulnerable. Even though black widows bite probably won’t kill you, it’ll hurt like a sumbitch and can make you really sick. They don’t always live alone – we used to find nests of them around my parents farm. They’re not very mean though so if you don’t mess with them they tend to leave you alone, and usually they live places like woodsheds and piles of rubble and places like that. You’re not likely to find them in your house.

    Another one to keep an eye out around these parts are brown recluses. They’re kind of generic looking brown spiders except they have a little violin looking pattern on them, and they’re mean and aggressive. They live in little hidey holes. If you have a dank sort of carport or garage, don’t leave your shoes out there, at least in the summer. Shoes make good hidey holes. My dad almost lost a foot one time when he got bit by one that was hiding in his boot. If you leave your shoes outside for while (days, not hours), shake them around good to spook any potential spiders out. Worse things about recluses is you might not even realize you’ve been bitten until hours later.

    Not to scare you or anything. Figured since you’re a damn yankee and all you might not be familiar with local bugs. Those two are really the only two I can think of you have to worry about around here. Wolf spiders can also bite and hurt like a sumbitch, but they live in the ground outside usually and it won’t kill you.

    Oh, also – the scorpions around here won’t kill you either. Feels like a bee sting. Sometimes they’ll get in your house or garage, just scoop em up in a cup and move them outside.

  19. Groovecatmom

    Hmmmm…we can’t plant tomatoes here for at least another 3 or 4 weeks, and they won’t grow anyway because it will get hot really fast and then cold again, or else they will wither from lack of water, or the crappy clay soil…but at least we don’t have those. Or do we? Oh great, I just googled Colorado spiders. We have western black widows AND $200 tomatoes. It’s a toss-up, that’s for sure.

  20. tuney

    I once did a friend a favor and collected his mail while he was out of town and his wife was laid up after surgery. I started to reach in, and danged if there wasn’t a whole NEST, complete with recently-hatched babies! I happened to have some bug killer in the truck (cuz I’m awesome that way), and when I took the mail in, the wife said, “oh, yeah, that spider’s been there a while. Hubby just hasn’t gotten around to getting it out.” WTH?!? Mir? KILLLLLL HERRRRRRR. *shudder*

  21. heels

    SQUISH IT! The black widow adult would probably just make you sick, but he babies- of which there are hundreds- will swarm and, if old enough, bite. Lots of black widow bites=NOT GOOD. Babies swarmed my mother one time when I was a kid, and the doctor said that she was lucky that they weren’t just a little older.


  22. ellbee

    Hm. That Wikipedia page was actually very interesting, but my visceral reaction to your photos was to suggest you wack the bejeebus out of Miz Spider. Maybe with a baseball bat. Like others have suggested, it’s organic!

  23. PandaWriter

    We had some baby black widow spiders crawling through the house one day. <> Right after that we got an organic pest control company, called Greenleaf, that sprays with a concentrated mixture of oils like Rosemary, etc. Before they came, we had wasps and black widows and ants. Now, we’re bug free. They come every three months and spray around the outside of the house, and all we have to do is keep the dogs in for about 15 minutes until the liquid dries.

    Hope they have something similar in your area.

  24. Randi


  25. Kristi

    KILL IT!

  26. Holly

    I was bitten by a black widow when I was nineteen. Nothing happened. I didn’t get sick and it stung a bit,but that was all. I also have a scar. Black widows are only dangerous to small children and elderly adults. Also, they rarely leave their web. I would recommend killing it, but panicing or blowing up the situation isn’t necessary.

  27. Anna Marie

    I thought those things only hung out in garages and other dark spots! Ick.

  28. Jennifer

    Geeze now after reading, looking, freaking out – I feel like the King Lemur from the Penguins of Madagascar – “I’VE GOT THE HEEBEE GEEBIES”!!!! Man I don’t know HOW to type that wicked cool accent. I want a haz-mat suit. I have been having daily ice cream for the swine flu, per your suggestion. Can we add hot fudge for the spiders??

  29. pharmgirl

    If it’s not currently weaving “Some Pig” into the corner of that planter, it is fair game.

    Goodbye Charlotte.

  30. Kate

    I know about black widows, so why? Why did I have to click on the freakin’ Wikipedia link? My kids are going to camp this summer. With outdoor latrines. Now I’ve got a whole new worry to keep me up at nights. Introduce your friend to the bottom of your shoe so she can’t make babies that will fly up here to bite my babies.

    Pharmgirl – thanks for the laugh! awesome response!

  31. meghann

    My earth hugging hippie self has to say “Kill it! Kill it quick!”

  32. Dave

    Spray poison all over your tomatoes! You’ll know they’re safe to eat when the spiders come back. :-D

  33. Crickett

    I second the recommendation for diatomaceous earth. I used to live in northern Louisiana, where they got to the size of quarters, and loved living in all my native rock flower beds. I got a bag of diatomaceous earth and went to town on the rock walls. You will have to reapply after each rain. However, it is organic, and doesn’t involve, you know, actually TOUCHING those things!

  34. danelle

    Make sure bang the hell out of your shoes before you put them on – it’s one of their favorite places to hide. And chances are, there’s not just one hanging around.

  35. Ruth

    I agree that if you have to do anything, use the diatomaceous earth. The photos are great, though; surprised they’re not all shaky and such!

  36. Julie

    Umh, Mir. This was a sucky Love Thursday post. Jus sayin’.

  37. Kendra

    Okay I made the mistake of clicking on all your links include the one from the old post. Are you freaking kidding me…You attract the biggest baddest spiders ever. Move to Canada we may get snow but our spiders aren’t nearly as as okay I am so freaked out right now that I have to turn off my computer. She needs to be relocated with a shoe or something lighter your choice……….I am never moving south and now are southern vacation is questionable.

  38. Deva

    *twitches at the picture of a spider*

  39. Katie

    ugg! KILL IT KILL IT. Ask Otto to smoosh it. I too have the heebie geebies. Bleg.

  40. Jo

    OMG, the reactions to this post are almost as funny as your actual post. Mir, you have very funny readers! And I agree, kill the dang thing without poison if you can. Or make Otto do it.

  41. mama speak

    Lindy–your explanation right there is why I would be moving RIGHT NOW if I lived near you.

    Mir—why are you still reading these KILL IT NOW, NOW, BEFORE IT TAKES OVER THE US OR SOMETHING!!! Ok, no really go do it now, I’ll wait.
    We get them out here in Nor Cal too, but I have NEVER seen one so BIG. And I’m supposed to go to bed now. ACK! I think I’m getting the kids and putting them in bed w/us to night. Someone on every side, for protection! Them! Not me, well maybe me. ick. i have to go now.

  42. mama speak

    BTW, what is she eating? a small cat?

  43. Brigitte

    Sometimes there are actually good things to be said for bitterly cold Northern winters.

  44. Jean

    And here I thought you were going to end up talking about the toad/crocodile looking thing that was taking up the corner of the garden and the corner of the photo in the first shot! As if maybe you were so deeply concentrating on the mysterious hole that you failed to notice the giant prehistoric toad right in front of you. And then I realized it must be a lawn/garden ornament. Kill the spider, there are plenty of other species to infest your garden. The end.

  45. Kristy

    AAAACCCKKKKKKKKKK! I must say I miss a lot about Georgia but I still shudder at the thought of the spiders. GAH-that decides it, I’m staying in NY!

  46. Miss Elanor Ouch

    Oh You poor dear! You loved those tomato plants soooooooooo much!

  47. Kelly

    That’s it, I don’t know if I can do my own garden… I have a fear of the Ss – sharks, snakes and SPIDERS and that picture did not help me one bit. I don’t even know how you took the pictures!! Surely Otto can save the day somehow.

  48. pam

    Thanks, Mir. Now I not only have the heebie jeebies, but I am seriously reconsidering my want to plant a garden. I really hate spiders.

  49. StephLove

    According to my son’s 100 Most Dangerous Things on the Planet book (an excellent read btw even if you’re not a second-grade boy) you have a 95% chance of surviving a black widow bite. Feel better?

  50. Kailani

    You know, I never squish anything. ANYTHING. EVER.
    If I find it inside, I put it outside.
    And if I see it outside, I chalk it up to my being a guest in nature’s house.
    But in this case?? I’d probably tell husband to “take care of it” and then not to tell me how he did it. Too close to my baybees for my comfort.
    Am I over-reacting? Yeah, probably. I’m good like that.

  51. Mary Fran

    Wow – all these organic and non-organic suggestions are great. But, I’m really sorry that you’ve put so much work into the house, because the only solution I see is to MOVE! Move quickly, and very, very far away. ACK!!!

  52. Mama Goose

    Oh man. I’d have to move. Sorry.

  53. Ani

    Black widows are prolific little breeding buggers.


    Or, send Otto to relocate it far far far far far into the woods.

    (I love spiders, but not black widows or brown recluses!)

  54. Aimee

    Yeah, dude, you gotta just kill it. And all its kith and kin. We are overrun with black widows here in SoCal.

    On the bright side, their bites are rarely lethal. The main reason I worry about them here is because of our cats. They could be lethal to a cat.

  55. Karen

    Ooooh, my Good GOD. Uh, yeah. Kill it.. with ..like, Clorox, or something. And then tread lightly FOREVER MORE in the Garden. Jeez, they could be ANYWHERE. OK, now I”m not so envious that you’ve moved south away from New England.

  56. Aisha

    Before I got to the link I thought ‘OH MY GOD, MIR HAS A BLACK WIDOW IN HER GARDEN AND SHE DOESN’T KNOW!!!’

    Now I’m just thinking ‘KILL IT KILL IT KILL IT, DIE! DIE! DIE!’

    I might have some bug issues that make me a little biased toward spiders… I was bit a non-venomous spider when I was 13. It was traumatizing. I tend to smash all bugs that cross my path. Yeah…

  57. Krisco

    I saw a HUGE one of those in a closet in a house I was showing. EEEEEEk. I called the listing agent and said, um, I’M not dealing with that! She killed it.

    I think you can smooth them but you will have to lure it out first. And have Mir Man do it because, eeeew. : )

  58. Krisco

    I believe the word I was typing in my head in that previous comment was “smoosh”. You can “smoosh” them to kill them. But sp? Definitely not “Smooth them out.” Whatever. I lost my spelling and my brain when I had kids.

  59. Lori N

    I’m all for live & let live – going as far to tell small spiders I find in my house that as long as they stay on their side of the house, they can live. Come near me – they DIE. But these are YOUR tomatoes & therefore the implied “keep away from me” contract has been violated & the spider must die.

    Good luck – we’re all standing here behind you…so the it doesn’t jump out towards us!

  60. Colleen

    God Lindy, now I don’t want to live here anymore. Except in 15 years I’ve never seen a live scorpion here – so there’s that.

    Mir, all I can say is keep an eye out when you empty the skimmer baskets on your pool. Seriously, they LOVE skimmer baskets. My husband is a pool man. I know these things.

    And don’t ever watch, “I Was Bitten” on the Discovery Channel. Ever. Under any circumstance.

  61. Katie in MA

    Oh. My. Just. Oh my. Your Love Thursday posts are always so perfect and lovely and spot-on. And then when you flip it around and go all Love Lost – you really do a bang up job.

    Also? I second Elbee’s idea of using a baseball bat. Whack that sucker.

  62. amanda

    When my husband and I were in grad school at Clemson, I found a GIGANTIC one living ABOVE OUR FREAKIN BACK DOOR. That we went in and out of a zillion times a day. Aaron bought some of that Raid you can shoot from a long way away and squirted our entire door with poison until she fell on the ground and we squashed her with a brick. A lot. Anyway, there were no more and none ever came back. Make Otto get the Raid out and defend the family.

  63. Lindy

    Oh for Heavens sake. Those spiders are nothing to get your panties in a twist about. If if makes you feel any better, my dad is 53 and lived in the boondocks his entire life in 2 southern states, and he’s only been bitten by a brown recluse once. He learned his lesson after that. I only know a few people who’ve ever actually been bitten. I’ve seen them fairly frequently when I lived out with my parents growing up (I live in an apartment in town now) and pretty much, if you don’t mess with them, they won’t mess with you. When I was in high school, I had a black widow crawl across my arm when I was driving the farm truck, and other than scaring the shit out of me and causing me to nearly run off the road, I was fine. It was scared of me as I was of it (and then I made my dad practically take the truck apart to find it and kill it). What I’ve found is as long as you don’t park an old vehicle in a barn in a field somewhere, and you drive it regularly and keep it fairly clean, no worries. I figure most of you reading this blog don’t live where we did either. We had bigger problems with coyotes, bobcats, and venomous snakes. And if you’re worried about any of those, take your dog with you.

    My mom raised tarantulas, which are big and ugly and live about forever, but they’re decent pets (and are not native to the region). At their largest – which is much larger than wolf spiders, brown recluses and black widows- they might eat small mice or frogs, but mostly just bugs. They have no interest in eating you. Like most spiders and also bees, big ugly scary spiders will only attack you if they feel threatened (like you sticking you big stinky foot in their home / your shoe). Just shake your shoes out before you put them on if you’ve left them outside a while, and look before you stick your hand into some dark place outside that is usually undisturbed. If you come one and one with a big spider and he’s looking at you, you can tell they’re threatened because they’ll raise their front up a bit, and usually their front legs too. It’s kind of difficult to describe, but it’s a sort of ready to attack ninja pose. If you see that, just leave em alone.

    I don’t see scorpions around here much, buy they’re there. I haven’t seen one in a long time. They’re nothing really to worry about. They’re more likely to give you a heart attack when they scare you than actually hurt you. Sting feels like a bee sting. They’re a lot smaller than the ones in the pet stores or like they have out west. We used to get them in the carport sometimes – they like dark, damp sorts of places. I stepped on one in my folks kitchen once. It hurt, but I was fine. I was more pissed off than anything. Don’t poke them though if you see one on a wall or something above eye level. They don’t have good traction and will fall, and give you a second heart attack.

    Oh, and scorpions really like to eat spiders.

  64. Colleen

    Ha Lindy, I was kidding. Unless the discussion turns to ticks. Then I kind of pass out.

  65. Lindy

    Ha. Yeah ticks are gross. And roaches. Eeeeeeew.

  66. Sheila

    I once saw a documentary on National Geographic about Black Widows. They did some awesome camera work (uh, the documentarians, not the spiders themselves), showing an inside-a-shoe-perspective of a spider laying in wait for a hapless victim. For weeks afterwards, I was unable to put my shoes on without shaking them violently beforehand. And I live in Wisconsin, for Pete’s sake.

    I am afraid I will be unable to visit your blog without vigorously rattling my laptop first. Please kill that thing, then speak of it nevermore. Thank you.

  67. Michelle

    Holy potatoes! Awesome pictures of her, though. She’s actually really pretty.

  68. Susan

    Mir, boil water and pour down nest hole. Four cups would be plenty. Takes care of female and spawn.

    Love all your posts and welcome to the South.

  69. ImpostorMom

    ahhhhh, now I totally feel like it’s on me.

  70. Debbi

    ummm….was that a FROG in the first picture????? If so, I would have packed my bags and LEFT!!! The spider i can handle, black widow, whatever. The frog?!?! NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!

  71. Little Bird

    I’ve been bitten by a brown recluse and I can attest it is no fun at all. I was lucky enough to get to my doctor within two hours of the bite, so no real damage.
    And just to squick out some more people, we have these freak-show large spiders that live on the high-rises in Chicago. They LOVE to make their webs in the windows. There is nothing like waking up, walking into the living room and seeing 15 plus QUARTER sized (body, not legs too) spiders in the window. And two INSIDE the window (I still don’t know how they do that). As far as I can tell, they aren’t venomous, but the bite does hurt some.

  72. Jen

    I’m just loving my Dear Old England right about now…. None of our bugs are very dangerous. I think we might have a native snake that’s best avoided, but that’s about it! I don’t mind spiders, but a black widow? I just got the shivers!

  73. sassymonkey

    It’s official. I’m scared of the south. I’ll going to stay up here where such things would freeze to death. (Bonus: snow is organic.)

  74. Karate Mom

    OK, I’m so skeeved out by the pictures of the OTHER spider on your light, that the little black widow looks practically…pretty by comparison!

  75. Amy-Go

    Okay, so could you kill it and then blog about its death it gory detail, please? To make me feel better? ThnxKbai!

  76. Trish

    lol And to think, I was born and raised in NYC and that spider didn’t skeeve me out in the least. I had a feeling, when you started talking about spiders, that you were talking about a Black Widow. Lindy’s right – they won’t bother you if you don’t bother them (true of just about every animal except polar bears, who will go out of their way to hunt down a human – nasty sumbitches, those). I personally wouldn’t kill it, just make sure I wasn’t touching its web when I reach in to pick tomatoes, but that’s me – I also have been known to handle tarantulas barehanded (they’re quite docile actually, if you’re gentle) and have a picture of myself as a toddler with a 10-foot python draped over my shoulders. So yeh, “creepy-crawlies” don’t bother me much. Roaches, on the other hand? Yes. Dumbass insects who fly stupidly right at my head (like, say, cicadas)? Yes, those squick me out. But spiders and snakes are actually pretty frikkin cool critters.

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