Spiderman’s got nothing on me.
I can’t shoot webs out of my wrists or send freakish villains to their doom, but when it comes to spiders I know more of them than Spiderman does. All I have to do is look out my window or go into the back yard.
I seem to have a veritable bumper crop of spiders this year. This is OK with me, as long as they stay outside the house, but it does make me wonder: why so many spiders this year?
I have to assume that spiders go where they can find bugs. It was an unusually wet spring, so maybe there are a lot more bugs hatching around here. I have a lot of bushes and flowers in my yard, which I imagine attract bugs, too.
There is one spider in particular who has gained my admiration. He spun a particularly intricate web on my picture window that looks over my back yard. Maybe he was attracted by the lights inside the house. Maybe he was just a show-off spider and wanted everyone to see what he was doing.
At any rate, there came the day when I had to wash the window so I knocked the web down. I felt a little guilty but to tell the truth I had friends coming over and the web did make things look a bit neglected. Plus, it was a little bit creepy when he would sit out there on the window and look inside with all those eyes. Spiders have way too many legs and way too many eyes.
The day after I cleaned the window, he was back. He’s a determined little arachnid. I have pretty much left him alone since then, but in the last few days he seems to have disappeared. Maybe he moved on to where he could find more bugs. Maybe a bird or a spider wasp got him. I understand that sometimes spiders even eat other spiders. It’s a tough world out there.
His relatives have been busy in other locations around the yard, particularly in the covered area between my house and my garage. It’s all I can do to keep a path open out there. I have to take a machete with me just to get to my bicycle.
A couple years ago, the coolest spider ever moved into my yard. I looked him up — he was a garden spider, which I thought was a pretty lame name for such a scary looking guy. Big, yellow and black, gigantic web in the flowers. He stayed all summer but I haven’t seen another one like him since. Too bad, at least he had some style.
My current spiders are much more normal looking. I know, they help out by eating all those bugs, but let’s face it, few humans will tell you they really like running into spiders and their webs. What’s your first reaction when I ask you what it’s like to walk into a spider web and feel it hit you in the face? I’ll bet it’s not one of your favorite feelings.
I decided to do a little research, so I went to an Ohio Division of Wildlife website that tells about spiders in Ohio. Yikes! Lock the doors and shut the windows! The site listed 76 different kinds of common Ohio spiders, including jumping spiders, spitting spiders and prowling spiders. We live in a regular Spiderpalooza! I get all itchy just thinking about it.
Most spiders are harmless when it comes to humans, but there are a few you want to avoid. Yes, there are black widows in Ohio. Ohio also is home to recluses, yellow sac spiders, parson spiders and grass spiders, all of whom may try to take a bite out of you. I don’t think any of them are in my back yard, but who knows? If my spidey sense starts tingling I’ll just head for the house and lock the door.
I do hope my friend on the window comes back, though. I guess you can kind of get attached to spiders, as long as you don’t look at them too closely.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.