My wife hates spiders and says they're invading our house now because "it's spider season." Not true, experts say. House spiders live indoors and don't relocate.
As my colleague Jerry told our coworker Jessica (to her horror), "Spiders don't come inside in the fall. They're in your house all the time!"
And Jerry is right, according to a Seattle arachnologist recently
quoted in the Kitsap Sun.
However, it's true you might be seeing house spiders more often nowadays. Not that there's more of them. They're more visible because they're on the prowl, searching for mates.
Yes, it's spider breeding season.
Just like deer and elk in the fall, lusty male spiders are ranging far and wide, casting aside caution on their love-struck walkabouts.
What panics my wife most are spiders that suddenly appear on our white ceiling, "huge ones" that she invariably perceives to be marching to a spot directly over her head from which they'll sneakily descend, if not outright pounce on her.
I saw one such critter Monday night while my wife was engrossed in "Dancing With the Stars." I ignored it until she left the room momentarily, then squished it with a Kleenex.
But last night, I chose poor technique. As I got ready for bed my wife entered the room and shrieked, "There's a giant spider! Get it!" I strained to detect a tiny shape inching across the ceiling, and then in one fluid motion, I pulled off my T-shirt and snapped it against the intruder.
Dumb move. The swatted spider shot through the air in the general direction of our bed, then vanished from sight.
We spent the next five minutes searching for that tiny spider. We couldn't find it but I reasoned it likely was dead, wherever it lay. But my wife was equally certain it crouched hidden in a crease on her pillow or under the bedsheets, ready to emerge once the lights went out.
I suspect similar scenarios will play out for the next few weeks until mating season ends.
Myths abound about how to dispatch spiders, but two remedies seem plausible: Keep a clean house so that you'll attract fewer bugs, which spiders eat. And seal up gaps between doors, windows, walls, and baseboards to limit their gateways.