Spiders are much-maligned little creatures. Many people seem to have an irrational fear of our arachnid friends. Sure, they have eight legs and six to eight eyes (the better to see you, my dear). They are by no means human or even mammalian so cut them some slack.

I know people have an aversion to insects in general, but a special realm of hate is reserved for spiders. I haven’t been able to discern where this particular hate originates. Maybe a clue is most parents yell and scream when laying eyes on a spider and generally fly into a panic. Then their children learn this reaction from them and fear spiders and other insects. Alternatively or perhaps in addition to, kids also learn this fear from their friends at a young age.

My parents never over-reacted to spiders or insects except to squash them if they were in the house. However, if the beasties were outdoors they would call my sisters and me over to look at a dramatic web. These would stretch five or six feet across and were so beautiful with dewdrops hanging in the strands. My mom would always say not to disturb the spider because it would eat all those nasty flies and mosquitoes.

It’s ironic that people kill spiders at every opportunity and then complain that there are too many insects around them. Well folks, you killed off all their predators so, of course, the insects come and stay in the bug heaven you have created for them. Then the bugs reproduce like crazy in a way that bunnies could only dream of. These same people complain of too many bugs and spray poisons in their home to kill everything. The warfare escalates until they are using flame-throwers and hand grenades to kill the hordes of insects.

I find flame-throwers too warm and grenades too noisy, and they ruin the paint. I pick up my wayward spider explorers that I find in the house and carry them out the door. Outside, the spiders can more easily catch a meal and at the same time keep the insects out of the house, a running of the gauntlet for the insects if you will. This way there is a phalanx of spiders guarding my home, chowing down on mosquitoes with dread diseases, flies, and moths.

Now I need to get rid of the hornets that are harshing on my spiders…