Incey Wincey spider climbing up the spout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
And Incey Wincey spider went up the spout again.
Thanks to a mother who was afraid of spiders I spent an unhappy childhood in that respect. Bedtime was torture, with every wall, the floor and the ceiling being scrutinised closely for the dreaded black speck before I would get into bed. The bed was, of course, placed against the wall to make things worse, so I would have to sleep near the other edge as far away from the wall as possible. (But obviously not so near as to be reachable by the man under the bed.) Added to this was not wanting to kill any creature, so the dilemma of having to call out for help, knowing that the culprit would then meet the sole of my mother’s shoe, made me even more miserable.Once I was away from home a new dilemma arose: put up with spiders in the flat, move out or learn to deal with them. I learnt to deal with them. Glass and card, then out. Quite scary, though, and not very foolproof. I gradually got fed up with being scared of them and managed to pick up the smaller ones. The threshold for me seemed to be the body size. Long legs were okayish, but too large a body – no way.
Face your fears with a vengeance
I bought a tarantula! She was a Chilean Rose, named, obviously, ‘Gillian Rose’. A tarantula is an eight-legged hamster, that’s all you have to remember, and then you are all right. She lived in a small tank in our kitchen for eight years and when she died we buried her in the garden, and were very sad, but I still couldn’t pick up those big old house spiders.
Invasion of the Garage Monsters
Our garage is full of ‘Daddy-long-legs spiders’ (picture below). The Daddy-long-legs spider (formal title Pholcus phalangioides) is interesting in that it is the most venomous spider in the world! Fortunately, its mouth-parts are too small to bite us. The worst thing about them is their messy webs, which they spin in great transparent mats in every corner and across the ceiling. So what clever thing did I do a few months ago? I brought in an old box from the garage and infested the house with these pests. They are so fragile that they are very hard to catch safely because when you get near them they start to shake violently, and become just a blur. (I have a similar effect on some people.) Pholcus breed like rabbits and create swarms of almost invisible microscopic babies (aw, cute) which soon grow up and have broods of their own. I’ve left them to their own devices for so long now that the house is full of them and their webs. Something had to be done, so I considered buying a spider catcher.
Shinesun Spider Vac
I’ve never owned a spider catcher, but I’ve seen plenty of adverts for them. I felt that the sort that grab spiders in a sort of brush-like grip would not be appropriate for these gossamer ghouls, so I investigated the vacuum variety. I knew Lakeland sold them, but as I already had an order on the way from them I didn’t want to pay another delivery charge, so I looked on eBay. Good old eBay! I immediately found the Spider Vac
. Not only was it the same price (£9.99) as the Lakeland one; it also incorporated a torch, which I felt would be a most useful feature, and free delivery. I paid up and within 24 hours it arrived. Excellent service! (eBay seller: trademagnetuk – highly recommended!)
The Spider Vac arrived safely in its somewhat flimsy cardboard box. The only assembly required was to push the two clear tubes onto the handpiece, which contains a small fan, a battery compartment and a torch. There is a small end cap for trapping your victim inside the tube once hoovered up. This enables you to walk outside to release the spider without fear of getting there and finding it has escaped – horror of horrors! To release you just remove the stopper and shake it out. What a good person you are, and the spider can carry on eating all those nasty flies.
Who goes? You decide
Feeling a bit like Luke Skywalker with his light-sabre (and, I confess, making the appropriate noises) I headed to the bathroom where I had previously spotted a large Pholcus (pardon my French) in the corner of the ceiling. Tentatively I approached it, knowing that it would be a guinea pig; for who knew that it would not be sucked up through the protective gauze and into the fan? But all was well! I turned on the torch, stuck the tube near the spider and gave the fan a quick burst on the button. Spider shot into tube, end cap went on and I had my first victim. A few minutes later and I had evicted seven more, ranging in size from microscopic (still no problem with the gauze) to humungous (bewildered). All went out into the garden. Result! The force was with me!
What you get
A comfortable yellow handle, which incorporates a white LED torch. There are three buttons on the hand piece, one for the torch, toggles on and off, and two side by side for the fan. I’m not sure why two, (they work the same) unless it’s thoughtfully for left- and right-handed users. Two clear tubes, which push fit onto the handle, a connecting piece for them and a yellow end cap. There is no battery supplied with this one, unlike the Lakeland version which does come with a 9v battery (but no torch).
For a nice little video and a bit more about the company visit the website. They also sell a rather clever baby cam, in case you’re interested.
And that’s not all
Apparently, this little treasure will suck wasps out of the air! Now that has got to be fun! Two Spider vacs, two players: close doors and windows, release wasp into room. First catch wins. Wasp reusable, difficulty levels increase in inverse proportion to patience of wasp. Or hornets. No, Jan, get a grip.
This gadget comes highly recommended. It is easy to use and looks like being the perfect answer to my Pholcus problem. I think it also might get quite a lot of use from the rest of the family, as it makes it just so much easier to trap and remove creepy-crawlies. Moths and butterflies would easily fit into the tube and it seems gentle enough for them too. Oh, I forgot to say – our problem came to a head when a large pholcus descended abseil-fashion in front of daughter’s face whilst she was sitting on the loo. Quite put her off.
Thanks for reading. Jan x