I admit, I’ve been a delinquent blogger. I’ve also neglected putting my columns online lately. So I’ll post the latest one here, inspidered (get it? in-SPIDERed? haha) by the Hobo Spider. They’re all over the place here. Ew!
When I first called to set up our phone service here in Idaho Falls last October, the nice lady I talked to was a virtual welcoming committee, sharing all things good and bad about the area.
“Hobos are horrible here,” she said at the end of our conversation.
I imagined scads of homeless people filing the sidewalks of old downtown, complete with smudged faces and polka-dot bindles. I said something silly about not knowing Idaho Falls had a problem with the destitute.
She laughed. “No. Hobo Spiders. They’re nasty!” She explained how the Hobo killed entire populations and kept most Idaho residents entrenched in fear. Okay, so I’m exaggerating. She said something about them being poisonous and drawn to large piles of unfinished laundry. Just what I needed to hear.
Now I had heard of the black widow, and even the brown recluse, but never the hobo spider. And Google gave me just the panic attack I needed; they’re hideous looking creatures with long, icky legs and those strange dangling eyes. Other pictures illustrated how a hobo bite pickled a man’s thumb while extraneous text explained that it had killed countless others. Should we call an exterminator, bug-bomb the place, or move to Atlanta? A call to the extension office (which also provided us with a lovely pear-butter recipe) gave us just the answer we needed: sticky traps. That’s it. Pesticides, exterminators, and even the evil eye would do us no good. We just needed a good set of sticky traps.
So I diligently set up eight in the basement, putting them against the floor boards and praying that not one delinquent spider would make its way up the stairs. Little did I know that by October hobo season was nearly over; I had nothing to worry about.
Until last week. Because I guess August is mating season for the hobo (yes, I Googled that too) and all the adult spiders are looking to get lucky. In my basement.
How do I know this? Just last week I was working on a little freelance at the library when I got a call from my mother-in-law who occasionally watches my children and tackles Mt. Laundry. She reported witnessing a real live hobo spider by the washing machine in my basement, big enough to carry one of my offspring from the house.
So betwixt more Googling and an informative conversation with two young moms at the park, we decided that rather than purchase the hobo-specific, pheromone-laded sticky trap I had read about online (because, apparently, that’s inviting all the hobos in the wild to come live with you), I would buy some good old fashioned bug spray at Walmart and exterminate my basement.
That’s why, two hours later, you would find me in my basement, wearing a nuisance mask, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves and some tennis shoes, picking through piles of laundry and spraying pesticide like it was air freshener, trying to unearth the hobo.
What did I discover? Three suspiciously hobo-esque spiders and a lot of unmatched socks. Which begs the question, which problem is really worse at my house? The infestation of venomous spiders or all my loads of unfinished laundry?
I’d like to say that for once, it’s not the laundry, thank you very much.
(And you're welcome. Because I was only thinking of your well-being when I decided NOT to include a picture with this post...)