You, Me and Black Widow Spider Makes Three (hundred or more)

My partner thinks I got side track distracted. Asked me if looking up black widow spiders was on my to do list. I think it’s become an annual ritual for me, since when I started to enter “how to recognize a bl,” Google filled in the rest with “ack widow spider.” Surprised, it only took a second before I remembered the night my partner was away at a conference and I was desperately scouring the Internet for any images that might be similar to the little thing with a red dot I had caught from my kid’s bed and held captive under a water glass.

But this one was much closer to the real thing. The one from before, I finally concluded it was a harmless-enough spider that had some red markings but was much too small to be a black widow and was described by others with enough proximity to mine that I did not rush Lil Bit to the hospital.

But, as for this one. Also a probably not. But still. Maybe just a maybe not. But still. I only took the pic because the image of the spider there on the porch wall I share with my neighbors was striking. I thought it looked like a shadow and was playing camouflage (not very well) with the other shadows. But as I walked into the house, I realized it looked kind of familiar. Last time, I spent several hours analyzing spider images on the web. Tonight, I had one of those moments – like when you pass someone on the street and only recognize after it’s too late that it was Steve Buscemi. Or something like that. I knew I had seen that spider somewhere before. (No offense, Mr. Buscemi, you’re kinda kinky weird and all, and even have a bit of a spider look about you, but I would never assume you had much in common with a black widow. If you do, I don’t want to know. I like you with just the right amount of weird you have now — no more, no less).

So, although my partner thinks this is not a black widow because it doesn’t have the telltale markings, my renewed online search instructs me that the markings on the female (the more dangerous of the genders, at least twice the size of the male) are typically only on her belly. This particular spider wasn’t flashing me. Side note — c’mon, amazing wonderful Internet — isn’t there some other way to recognize the world’s deadliest spider for pete’s sake? Mcbrooklyn blogger at least points out that if you’re close enough to see the red, you’re closer than you should be. At least the NYT has a post online about how to recognize when you’ve been bitten by a black widow. Running a pic along with that article might help. Being that I couldn’t see this spider’s underbelly, I don’t know if it was or wasn’t a black widow. Apparently there was an influx of the unwanted tourist last summer. And this one was spotted by an old wood log that was deteriorating in the crook between my neighbor’s porch and my front yard — which describes precisely the environment black widows love.

After coming across one article about a woman in the U.K. who almost died by being bitten by a false widow spider, I’ve decided I’m not as fond of spiders as I once was. I used to believe they were a good omen, and even let one remain rent free in the web it wove on my patio door. But now, I’m removing my welcome mat. What’s left of that wooden log that once looked so charming in my yard (yes, I am having one of those what-was-I-thinking moments) is as good as gone. And now I’m scouring the Internet for natural spider repellants. I’ve been on a lemon kick lately (one glass of water with the juice of one lemon gets me halfway to the two glasses that I hear will kick start your metabolism and help you burn fat all day, the lazy way). So I’ve got lots of lemon rind in the fridge and freezer just waiting to be put to use. According to this WikiHow, they’ll make the perfect natural spider repellant. So, take that all you faking me out maybe being deadly predators spiders!

How about you, revelers? Any other sightings? You know how it goes … go ahead, gimme the dirt!