The Cool House: Disorderly Webs

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Disorderly Webs

I've gotten used to the thick, white cobwebs that form lacy patterns under the windows on the exterior of The Cool House. They appear sometime in late July or early August and are a pretty gingerbread decoration for the rest of the summer. Then winter comes, they are gone and I forget all about them. I've never seen the spider responsible; the ones I usually see spin straightforward Charlotte's Web-type gossamer circles.
This morning I was shocked to find this spider INSIDE the house; it had a plume of white billowing behind it, a horizontal will-o'-the-wisp that I could clearly see. It reminded me of the vapor trail of an aircraft against a cloudless blue sky - except the pristine sky had been replaced by a slightly grubby baseboard.
Now, normally I would just pick this baby up and put it outside where it belongs but a cursory googling of spiders in New York has led me to believe that this might be a Brown Recluse Spider. They are known for building shelters from "disorderly threads" and being a tad poisonous. Let me quote from Wikipedia:
A minority of brown recluse spider bites form a necrotizing ulcer that destroys soft tissue and may take months to heal, leaving deep scars. The damaged tissue will become gangrenous and eventually slough away. The initial bite frequently cannot be felt and there may be no pain, but over time the wound may grow to as large as 25 cm (10 inches) in extreme cases. Bites usually become painful and itchy within 2 to 8 hours; pain and other local effects worsen 12 to 36 hours after the bite with the necrosis developing over the next few days.
Sounds delightful, doesn't it? So I'm respectfully keeping my distance until someone can assure me the spider is safe to handle... or until a knight arrives in a full suit of shining armour and disposes of it for me. Either. Or.


Jennifer said...

Ick! I would keep my distance, too! And maybe stay outside... but that's just me!

Kathleen said...

It's just one spider. I'm not an eco-criminal, and protect most spiders around here, but get the vacuum cleaner hose and do away with this guy. Necrotic flesh? Really, you don't want that.

Debra said...

One of my friends husband's was bit by a brown recluse. It got really really bad... to where he had a hug hole in the back of his neck. Gross.

I have been seeing lots of spiders in my house lately too; luckily they are brown recluses.

Stay safe!

Debra said...

Of course I mean, luckily they are NOT brown recluse! ewww

modernemama said...

The slightly grey knight, armed with an extra-long piece of toilet paper, did battle and vanquish said spider. And bonus, cleaned grubby baseboard: My hero!