There's no way I'm going to post a picture of a black widow spider. I saw more than enough today.
A little over a week ago, I received a notice telling me I had two weeks to mow my weeds or I'd be fined (I have more weeds than grass). I hate mowing so much that I always wait until I get the notice before I do it again.
Mowing means that I have to get the weed-eater out of the shed, where spiders live unmolested much of the time. One time a year or two ago, I opened the shed doors and saw two black widows hanging on a web slung between the shed wall and my bicycle tire. Yuck! I went in the house and grabbed the Raid, but when I came back, one of the spiders had disappeared, so I doused the other one until it stopped moving.
Today when I opened the shed, I saw a suspiciously similar-looking web from the bicycle tire to the shed. But the spider on it was a daddy long-legs. Harmless. I did my usual routine of swinging the broom all around the inside of the shed to knock down any stealth spiderwebs, as well as the un-stealth webs. Then I noticed a small, round beige thing on the daddy long-legs web that could have been a seed pod but might have been an egg sac for spiders, so I hooked it on the broom and smashed it to bits on the cement.
The birthday present my daughter gave me last year (which I couldn't hang on the wall while my house was for sale--no personal items on display) was in the shed, protected by an old mattress pad. I picked it up by the mattress pad and pulled it out, leaning it against the shed, when I noticed a fat, shiny black widow sitting on the bottom part of the mattress pad. I stomped on it and left a brown smudge of spider guts on the white pad. Shudder! The mattress pad went in the trash.
Next was the weed-eater. I got it out and swept off the base, which had a couple webs on it. With it lying on its side, I swept out the underneath side as well, then swept the broom around on the cement to get off as many of the spiderwebs as I could. That's when another black widow came crawling out of the underside of the weed-eater--where I was about to stick my hands to pull out some of the string!
I stomped on that one too.
After that it went well, spider-wise. I weed-eatered, stopping frequently to pull out more string, because it was near the end, and the line was wrapped all over itself in the spool. I went off to Home Depot to get a replacement spool, and after I put it in, I could do the bump-button method of letting out more string. Perfect!
Until I bumped for more string and the shaft of the weed-eater broke in two. With at least a third of the yard still to go.
But right at that time, the maintenance guy was going by, so I asked him if he could finish the job--for a fee, of course. He doesn't speak much English, so we had a bit of a time making sure we understood each other. He swept his arm around toward all the weeds and said, "¿Todos?"
I said yes and showed him the little bit around the back corner of the house. He said he couldn't get to it until Saturday--"Mucho trabajo." I even knew what he meant.
So that was that. I pulled out my almost-new spool of string and threw the rest of the weed-eater in the trash, then put everything away--in the shed--until I need it again the next time they leave me the "Mow your weeds" memo.
Tonight I went off to a meeting, and when I was pulling back into my driveway afterwards, I saw a dark shape where I usually don't see one. I had seen something like it a night or two ago, but there wasn't anything there today when I was doing all the yard work. So I backed up until the headlights lit it up, and it was a spiderweb with a shiny, dark spot in the middle.
I parked, went in the house for the can of Raid and the broom, and came back out armed for trouble. I sprayed the spider until it was in a puddle of poison, writhing in agony. Then I came back in the house and locked the door. Just in case.