brown recluse

All posts tagged brown recluse

The eight-legged residents that just won’t leave.

Published June 27, 2015 by AntiqueMystique1

I’m writing out my frustrations. I’m not mad at the economy. I’m not upset about anything I read about in the news. I’m nearly at my wit’s end even though I’ve heard that living with spiders isn’t something to go off on a b**** fest crying fit over.

Actually, they aren’t just your average ‘spider’. They are the somewhat misunderstood, yet potentially dangerous brown recluse. Oh, and it doesn’t help that the basement is only 50 % finished, either.

And another thing, the former tenants from what I was later told about (long after I moved in) were heavily into drugs and didn’t take care of the place, if at all.

Well, gosh darn it! I loathe drug users, too. I especially dislike tinkers taking home repair/remodels into their own hands and doing things on the cheap… actually, I’ve never seen handy work like the kind I had to re-fix correctly to the best of my abilities. And no, I didn’t come across any brown recluses in the minor upgrades I had help getting done on my tiny money pit.

The house was just in a nice neighborhood and property taxes are well below reasonable.

And like any older structure that hasn’t been lived in in quite some time, it will attract all different sorts of residents. They hang out in the bedroom, living room, kitchenette, open basement/ crawl space (gross!), the utility area, bathroom (they love the shower walls and scaring yours truly half to death).

The ancestor brown recluses had to be eradicated. And I had never in my natural born days seen spiders get quite as large up to the size of a half dollar. Oh, man, take my word on it, I was driven beyond insane and ended up moving elsewhere for a period of time and put the tiny money pit on the market and write it off as a major loss. And most of my personal possessions went to the trash the first time around since I couldn’t deal with it anymore or the potential that a few hangers-on moved with me in the process. The most sentimental stuff remained in a garage and sealed. I sorted through it all later.

Spiders shouldn’t dictate how a person should live their lives. In fact, it should be the person settling fine into their new home. Instead, I didn’t have one spider to deal with, but up to many different kinds in my first year alone. I had venomous Hobo spiders, St. Anthony spiders, daddy long legs, brown recluse, grass spiders, funnel spiders (mostly in the yard) and wolf spiders that pack a nasty bite, but not lethal to the others mentioned.

“Kill ‘em if you see ‘em.” That’s my motto when referring to the spiders.

I’ve had two different pest control companies to my tiny money pit so many times over I lost count. At first, I was considering what chemicals they sprayed with and if they were safe to be inhaling when the AC or heat had to be used. I was assured what they use is safe around pets and humans. However, a person has to stay gone for a few hours for the fogging because it can be highly irritating. In my case (and I must have an industrial strength eight-legged freaks) that can live through an atomic blast. Moving can be an option, but at the present time unfeasible until I’m more financially stable.

I am wiser now than I was about what to look for when figuring out where to live. Don’t buy the darn place if the price is cheap. It’s priced to sell for a reason even though the realtor may not have any clue what’s been inhabiting the open basement/crawl space or attic longer than man has been on God’s green earth.

Everything was normal during the two walk-throughs I did with the realtor. The only thing I saw were two dead daddy long legs in the bathtub and several dead elm bugs in the window sill of the utility space. The open basement (although spooky and very small), didn’t give off any indication of the nasty surprises that did await me once my heart was set on this place.

I might be in love with the era the house was built in, but wasn’t thrilled that I found myself stuck in a living nightmare few ever find themselves in. I’m not going to get into the specifics as to why I was in such a rush to move from my previous place.

Oh, I guess coming out of a nine-year controlling relationship and failing at loving a Mama’s boy will make a woman go crazy eventually. But I won’t use that excuse in my current situation.

I think what plays a significant role in all of this is that a.) the house sat vacant with no takers or renters for at least three years or better.

And b.) the ancestor brown recluse spiders had been in the house for more than seventy years (no joke). Brown recluse spiders can survive without food and water for many long years and adapt to all harsh conditions.

The first go around made me haul out my personal belongings without even sorting through the contents. I think I wouldn’t call this down-sizing so much as it was more of a lost cause effort to combat this infestation that was reaching epidemic proportions. I couldn’t sleep, eat or even have furniture in the house. What I did have would go curbside after one month. Long curtains, oh yes, spiders LOVE to nest in fabrics, towels and clothes, shoes, etc. So I went with mini-blinds and I plan to wash and return the curtains I do have.

Sad that I can’t even leave stuff out. No books, magazines—nothing stays out. All of that was placed in a storage tub and hauled off elsewhere to be stored off sight. My life feels really boring since I can’t enrich my literary diet. But some day I pray this will change for me and I can have my books and magazines again and leave them discarded wherever I please without worry.

If money was no object… I could go the circus tent route—(yeah, right, if I was made of money I wouldn’t be living in this tiny money pit). The circus tent route is where a pest control company places a fogging tent all around the outside of the house and then fog the hell out of it. Sometimes it works, other times it won’t have any effect on brown recluses. And it’s extremely costly…. Not to mention a waste of resources, money and time if it fails.

The second time I had another pest control place come out they fogged the attic in the dead middle of winter. And guess what? I at first thought it worked completely. I had just gotten hired on a factory and moved back in. Everything for a brief period of time was looking up for me, but it didn’t stay that way. I still took precautions and kept nothing left out not even food or opened containers. Everything food-wise (except canned goods) stays in the fridge.

And I switched to storage containers and trash bags. All my clothes went into bags and containers. This I knew would have to cut down on the spider population since I wouldn’t give them a breeding ground. Well, my hopes were again dashed, and dashed some more.

The second infestation of brown recluses began cropping up in the spring of 2013. This time they ranged in dark brown, light-sandy brown and tan (almost impossible to see on laminated oak flooring). Arrg! I HATE SPIDERS! There, I shouted it in all caps.

I didn’t have quite so many mental melt downs whenever I saw a few spiders running around (and no, I’m no a messy person). I keep a strict, tidy place.

This house, its age and the fact it wasn’t remodeled right (or built eons ago) correctly says a lot about the architecture of its time which I was informed started out as a slave home (which may or may not explain why it was cobbled together without insulation in the utility area where the washer and dryer hook up). So when it gets hot, it cooks. In the winter the pipes freeze and doing a load of laundry is out of the question.

I feel like palm-smacking my head for being a nitwit when it came to first-time home-ownership. But I was young, really looking forward to getting back on my feet and simply couldn’t remain patient until the right house came a long and one had that might have been a lot better in quality. The spiders gave me an education, but seriously, I want them gone so I can live a somewhat peaceful life until I can save up enough or meet a rich Mr. Right and be out of here.

Brown recluses can bite. And although sometimes their bite can lead to a flesh-rotting wound (this is caused by necrosis, skin lesions). Thankfully the brown recluse’s fangs can’t penetrate through fabric and I haven’t been bitten as of yet. However, I take extreme precautions to shake out my clothes and shoes before I dress. I always check my bed and never let the covers touch the floor.

But I still don’t sleep well even after all the preventive measures and countless sprayings and foggings. This seems to just aggravate the spiders. So I did extensive reading on natural methods to make this place as unpleasant as possible for them. I invested in double-sided sticky tape and it became my best friend.

But—the grass spiders and one new spider that now lives inside of my bathtub faucet that juts out from the fake paneled shower wall (it’s not even shower surround material, that’s how shoddy the landlord and/ or previous druggie renters were), creates a new web every morning and night. I go in knock it down, spider hides inside faucet and doesn’t emerge until the next day.

When does the madness end? Likely it never will. With a house as old as mine (and it’s a crying shame and not remotely laughable), it makes me wonder, “What was I thinking?” when I laid eyes on this tiny money pit.

And then I had all that enormous life-time accumulation of stuff that moved in with me. If wondering, no, none of my personal possessions had any spiders in or contained in any of the moving containers. In fact, I was baffled as to where these brown recluses were just ‘showing up’ in the blink of an eye.

In the beginning they would repel from the ceiling, crawl out of the floors, floor vents (another do-it-yourself job that was s***** constructed long before the house was even on the market). The spiders loved to crawl out from under the fake tile in the bathroom and scurry back in once I spotted them on the edge of the tub.

I wept tears of anger and complained about my living conditions that made me feel like white trash even though I’m a far cry from that. I did everything in my power to combat this spider infestation and became more angry in the process. I downsized some more. Threw out memories, pictures— anything I could get my hands on. I pitched all of my books even some valuable antique ones that were scarce to find in print.

I then began trashing everyday dishes, cups and limited myself to one cup, plate, bowl and silverware. Next, I threw out my extra pairs of shoes, clothing, and towels. I simply couldn’t stand living in a brown recluse house and couldn’t escape the fact that at any given time I might have a nasty scar from a brown recluse bite or be bitten at any given time.

I don’t care what the pest control companies tried to console me with. They see this stuff all the time. Heck, there was an article in the local paper published in 2013 about an alarming influx of brown recluses leaving pest control companies working overtime that particular summer. My place was no different, but the unusual number of them was making my living conditions impractical and impossible. I soon heard that brown recluses were invading the rich homes in the city. So I wasn’t the only one having nightmares keeping them awake at night and it still didn’t bring me any peace of mind.

And I’ve read and picked through every self-help article on battling brown recluse spiders and came upon one disturbing relation: they are EXTREMELY difficult, if not impossible, to eliminate once they reside inside a house. I’ve heard of clearing away grass and brush from the foundation. I do that weekly. And the lawn gets mowed regularly. There’s so may cracks that several tubes of caulking won’t fix. And the foundation is so old some of the cement overlay has gaps where some previous renter or landlord shoved rocks into just to cover it up. I can clearly see daylight behind the installed hot water tank. And damn-blasted to the wanna-be never-will-be home un-improvement renters before me never sealed up the cinder block window. They just crammed a cinder block and built a wooden porch over it. That’s another reason why the spiders keep getting in.

And the other un-improvements I won’t bother mentioning because they don’t relate to this blog post. I will, however, offer some tips on keeping one step ahead of this brown recluse:

1. Storage tubs and trash bags. If you have anything of value, place it inside a trash bag, seal it good and store it in the plastic container with a tight-fitting lid.

2. Double sided sticky tape. Place this around all inside perimeters of the house, around bed posts on the floor and thresholds. For the longest time I did this around the edge of the bath tub, but the water ruins the stickiness of the tape.

3. Peppermint oil and water in a spray bottle. I heard brown recluses hate the scent of peppermint. I did this tonight around the house, hoping on a prayer this helps combat the issue until the pest control man stops by next week.

4. Vinegar and water. Seriously does this really work? You have to directly spray the spider and most of the ones I did this to did nothing. It doesn’t faze them.

5. Hair spray will freeze them long enough to get the fly swatter to them.
Nobody should have to live like this. But I won’t ever know the freedom for quite some time to just lay my stuff down and not feel the overwhelming compulsion to micro-manage it every second.

One good thing about this, living with brown recluses will be a motivator to save as much dough as possible to get the heck out. I’ve come to realize that this problem existed and went largely ignored for quite some time. Perhaps the former druggie renters worried more about getting their next high than ridding the house of the spiders.

And secondly, knowing very well who the landlord was didn’t help. Living here has taught me A LOT about living. I became a minimalist overnight even though I didn’t intend to live without some creature comforts. I made sacrifices just to tolerate my living conditions and I’m the crabbiest person because of it.

Then I learned from May to July are the active months for brown recluse spiders. And I have one more month to endure and then a grueling long a** winter ahead of me as well to get through. I pray by this time next year or sooner if I can make it happen I can move out of here.

I’m sick of not having my life the way I want it. I’m sad because I can’t relax. I’m frustrated because this tiny money pit will never be a ‘home’ except if you’re a contractor with a lot of money to sink into this place and don’t mind sharing it with brown recluses. Also, investing in the really expensive bug dirt would be nice, but financially out of reach for now. And besides I have my sights set on someplace else hopefully in the near future anyway.

Enough with my b**** fest crying fit. I now return you to your blog. As always, thanks for reading, re-posting, sharing, twittering, etc. I sincerely appreciate it. And if you have any helpful suggestions or tips I’d be happy to hear them too. 🙂