Wolf Spiders, Yay!

I tried to get a real picture of one of these today with my own camera, but the little dudes just wouldn’t sit still long enough. Plus my camera kinda blows, so I just found this one online here. The point here is that my backyard is full of them. Hundreds. Thousands. When we walk through the taller grass these little hairy monsters just start crawling beneath our feet. During Connor’s birthday party, we set up the huge water slide that we have, which was great, but during the set up and take down of said slide, the spiders crawled over it in droves. (And the grasshoppers and crickets too, but they were very tiny). My mother-in-law- thinks we should have someone come out and kill all the spiders, but that seems a tad draconian to me. For one thing, I’m not one for just dumping poison in my yard (hello??). Aside from that, spiders are good bugs – they keep the nuisance bugs down to a minimum. Wolf spiders *are* venomous, but they’re not aggressive. Leave them alone and they’ll leave you alone. Pretty simple, really.

Do they come in the house? Yeah – they do. Most of the time I scoop them up and toss them outside. When we first moved in, there were a fair number of them living in the basement (along with these big, black crickets). Whenever we’d go downstairs to play with the kids we would find piles of cricket parts in all the corners. We did end up spraying the back of the basement where they were coming in and we haven’t had a problem since. I don’t mind the bugs trotting on through once in a while, but I don’t need Wild America in my daughter’s doll house, either.
I did find one the size of a nickel crawling on my couch one evening (a very furry one) – I managed to get him outside, but I do admit to killing the one in my hallway that was about the size of a half-dollar. (It was dark and instinct got the best of me, I’m afraid. I was barefoot. Sue me.)
Connor has been catching them (along with many praying mantis) with his bug vac. We’ll toss a few of them into his bug house all together, along with some moths or whatever else we find and watch them eat. Rather fascinating, really, and an excellent way to teach the kids. (Hey, you can take the girl out of the biologist, but you can’t take the biologist out of the girl, I guess.)
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