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Insect Armageddon and Spider Refugees

September 1, 2010

Before we came here, I was worried that we’d have to deal with a lot of unwanted creatures indoors. I was especially concerned about a certain large insect that loves the tropics and whose name rhymes with “coaches.” I’m not going to mention them explicitly because I don’t want to encourage the universe to send them my way. I had enough of that when I lived in New York.

At any rate, luckily we haven’t had too many unwelcome six-or-more-legged-visitors. There were a few ants when we moved in, but keeping the kitchen clean seems to keep them away. Outdoors, though, it’s a different story. We have a banana spider and her brood next to our washing machine on the back porch. (Scientific name: Argiope appensa; also, star of the worst, or second-worst episode of “Lost,” depending on your opinion of “Across the Sea.”) To me she seems big, about two and a half inches long, but apparently they get bigger. And then several days ago I noticed several wasps flying around, and they were building a nest right over our back door. And then yet another large banana spider constructed a new web about five feet away from the other one, blocking the little walkway to the backyard.

Now, I don’t like to think of myself as one of those people who sprays poison and messes with bugs. When they’re in the house, I try to catch them and release them outdoors. And spiders eat a lot of mosquitoes! But the situation was untenable. I killed the wasp nest and slowly took apart the second spider web with a rake and encouraged the spider to relocate. I didn’t scream or vomit during any of it.  And today I cleaned all of the dead bugs out of the light fixtures, because I was on the subject, and because it’s one of those things I like to do when I move into a new place, along with putting a new seat on the toilet. You know, a fresh start.

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