Thursday, October 11, 2007

Spiderless in solitude

Over the last few months, I've noticed a precipitous drop in the number of my eight-legged friends in the basement. Their population peaked right about the time I indulged myself in posting on them, feigning more affection and less anxiety than I actually had for their presence. I live in semi-rurality, in a stand-alone subdivision under construction (although I bought my house from a previous owner), with an unfinished walkout basement--as open an invitation for creeping crawlers as can be had in a dwelling still considered contemporary. I literally could not go downstairs without seeing several of them; webbers suspended along the walls and my favorite, wolfies, on the cool floor.

Now, I'm fortunate if I see one every few trips down. No freeze has hit. It hasn't even fallen below 50 degrees yet. Unless it gets above 85 or below 45, I don't manipulate the temperature inside. The only thing I've done to intervene has been to remove egg sacs. But I've been doing that all along, and it only applies to web dwellers since hunters like the wolf spider carry the sacs (and their young once they've emerged) on their spinnerets (the 'sticky' part of their abdomens). So I'd been at a loss to explain why they seem to have departed.

Until yesterday, when the lights finally went on. Three months ago, in anticipation of an allergy season that brutalizes me every year, especially from early September until the first freeze when I fight with hay fever, I bought a six-speaker surround sound system to blast DragonForce while (sloppily) shadow fighting in the living room, as another workout option that kept me indoors. Upstairs, it's loud. But only when underneath the source of the sound do you appreciate the bass, which is enough to cause fixtures in the basement to vibrate a little.

I was aware of pesky wildlife, like racoons, being forced out by the application of continuous loud music. Spiders rely on vibrations to 'hear' prey. This is disruptive to all of the hunting styles (and must make it impossible for ambuscaders, although I didn't see much of them anyway). Sometimes I'll go for a full hour, often at night. This is the only thing I can imagine to have caused the exodus. It might be a tactic to try if you have recurring predatory infestation problems.

Live and let live, as they say. Just as I did not consciously alter my behavior in an attempt to push them out, I must remain fidelious in not changing it to invite them back in. No, no, I'm not glad they are gone. I was never uneasy about their presence! Really...


Anonymous said...

Ew... how can THAT be something you WANT living with you? That is very weird.

Audacious Epigone said...

Just look at the thing. It's a formidable hunting machine, taking out all the things that actually are nuisances (wolf spider bites are pretty benign to humans). It is an acquired taste, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

We had a huge wolf spider that lived under the trash can years ago. This guy was a fucking monster, tarantula sized. I would go in the garage to take the trash out and he would often be under one of the cans. Never ran or anything from me, just stared. He was so big you could see the glare of the lighting off his eyes. No crickets in the garage that summer either, he did very good work.

Audacious Epigone said...


Heh, I love tales like that. The glare off the eyes is very true--at night, shining a flashlight at one will produce a glare that is similar to what is produced when you shine light on a cat in the dark.