A landscaper came over yesterday evening, and we were talking about whether our front yard was graded properly to prevent moisture from seeping under the house.
He decided to prove it by going under the house. As my husband went to open the hatch door that leads underneath the house, he focused on a spider web, and suddenly realized that there were two black widows in the web. Unfortunately, I didn't get the camera out in time, but the landscaper confirmed the identification before they scampered away. I had never realized that the red spot on the black widow spider belly was so distinct and bright.
The landscaper -- OMG -- went under the house anyway, and a minute later pushed a board out with this on it.
He said it was the black widow's egg sac. Sure enough, when he poked at it, all the little baby spiders went running. All those little specks of dust you see there are baby spiders.
We almost never go under the house, but the builder's nephew had told us that he had killed a bunch of black widows under our deck, where we do go, while the house was being built.
You can probably tell from the alarmed tone of this post that black widow spiders have not featured prominently in my life to date, except in horror stories. I'd prefer that they keep to the story books, frankly, but I was interested to see how blase the landscaper was about them. He said that one year he saw so many that he was thinking of collecting them and taking them to the local hospital so they could milk them for the anti-venom serum.
You can imagine that's going right to the top of my 'to do' list. Yep, I'll be out there each morning creeping around under the house trying to capture little poisonous spiders so that I can save the lives of others. A regular Florence Nightingale, that'll be me.
Or maybe I'm just going to declare that entire side of the house off-limits.