Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.


Posted by Lissa on October 21, 2010

Well, okay, that title is a bit misleading, since we killed the f***er.  How about

“Things I’ve Learned as a Home Owner #6: Sometimes horrible creatures will invade your house and you will have to do battle.”

It’s eleven o’clock at night.  I’m making the nightly round, checking the locks and doors, and I reach for the sawed-off broomstick that wedges the sliding patio door.  As I sweep back the curtain and reach down, I notice A SPIDER THE SIZE OF A F***ING CADILLAC SITTING ON THE INSIDE OF OUR GLASS DOOR.

My gasp leads Mike to call out worriedly, “What’s wrong?”


(Seriously.  I cannot emphasize enough the SIZE of this monster.  To a girl raised in the Northeast, it looked big enough to swallow Rajah whole and then chase small children.  It was horrifying.)

Question: What caliber for gigantic terrifying spider?

Answer: STING.  But Bilbo hadn’t given me one.

Here is the chain of events, as I can most properly recall it:

ITEM: Lissa and Mike go running for rubber gloves, shoes, 409, RAID, and magazines.  Lissa curses herself for not having a stainless steel flyswatter. Considers sacrificing her favorite kitchen spatula, which would of course have to be bleached, doused with flammable liquid, and burnt.

ITEM: MIKE: “Um, I have bad news.  The spider’s gone.”


ITEM: We discover that the spider has retreated to higher ground.  It is now lurking in the corner of our box-like curtain header, perhaps ten feet off the ground.

ITEM: In the process of re-locating the beast and in the interest of preventing future hiding places, we rip down the curtains themselves. They were getting in our way, they were ugly and I never liked them anyway.  I immediately fling them onto the back porch, lest they be hiding a million renegade spiders between their layers.

ITEM: Using an light bulb changer extension pole, we attempt to squash the spider.  It thumbs its nose at us and climbs higher still.

ITEM: Mike fiercely wields the sawed-off broomstick.  The monster judges discretion to be the better part of valor and makes a run across the wall.

ITEM: Mike SLAMS the scurrying bastard with a back-handed broomstick.  Two legs fly off and the fiend drops to the floor.

ITEM: Lissa flies across the field of battle and douses the fallen corpse with copious amounts of 409.  Just in case.

ITEM: Lissa photographs the vanquished enemy.  Pix will appear below the fold for the benefit of the arachnophobic.

ITEM: Mike notices that he has dented the wall/dinked the paint where he slammed the broomstick.  Then realizes that it’s just a big blog of spider guts.

ITEM: Lissa gingerly uses a pair of disposable chopsticks to pick up the corpse and place it in a plastic container with a tight lid.  She also picks up the two legs that flew some three feet from the body.  She douses the entire battlefield with 409 and scrubs compulsively.

ITEM: Lissa and Mike pour drinks for themselves.  Lissa drinks her Glenlivet with shaking hands.

And now: The Vanquished Foe!

That's a quarter for scale. Imagine all the legs spread out instead of crumpled up, and you'll see why I was horrified.

You can click to embiggen, but why in God’s name would you want to?

CODA: The pest prevention people confirmed that it was a wolf spider (thus, the post title).  Apparently there are 2000 varieties of these horrible creatures living in Florida.  They’re not venomous, and therefore not dangerous, which is a mercy.  Because I had spider nightmares all that night.

CODA II: Yes, I realize that this incident disqualifies me from ever living in Texas, Latin America, South America and many other places.  I accept that.


  1. Jay G. said

    Oh. My. GOD. I am laughing so hard I can barely breathe, Lissa…

    Come back to New England – it’s too cold for something that evil to live here… 😉

  2. Well, with all that 409, at least it’ll be clean…

  3. ZerCool said

    I’m very glad to know that I’m not the only one who deals with spiders in an abrupt and high-velocity manner. There’s an understanding in the Z house: high corners are OK. Any flat spot more than 4″ from a corner means, “YOU’RE MINE, BITCH!”

    Jay: As evidence to the contrary, I give you the following exhibits:
    (A) Ted Kennedy
    (B) Martha Coakley
    (C) Michael Bloomberg
    (D) Hillary Clinton

    Shall I continue?

  4. breda said

    *cries* No! Not the spiders! Nooooooooooooooo…. *curls up in the corner*

  5. emdfl said

    And now what are you going to do when the house is invaded by the cockroaches(palm meddow bugs to you yankees)? That’s what those guys feast on, ya know?
    And just be forewarned that IF you mess with that particular brand of spider, they can jump about a foot straight out or up… heh, heh, heh
    Welcome to Florida

  6. Lissa said

    Jay, believe me, I considered it for a split-second 🙂

    Doubletrouble, it may NEVER be clean again *shudders*

    Zercool, even if it were four inches from a corner, if it’s four inches IN DIAMETER that sucker is marked for death. DEEEEEAAAAAAATTTTHHHHHH.

    Breda, it was an EVIL spider!! EVIL!!!!

    Emdfl, we were expecting it to jump the whole time. Or perhaps develop lasers, inch-long fangs and raptor claws. SRSLY.

  7. MaddMedic said

    I loves me my Minnesota.
    To cold for that kimd of riff raff…

    Although spiders do not alarm me much.

    • Lissa said

      Really? Can I absorb that somehow? Just don’t recommend exposure therapy ’cause the cure would be worse than the disease!!

      • Really, the spiders are harmless. Ya get used to them after a while.


      • MaddMedic said

        My experience with spiders here in the Northland does not include spiders of the size you have. I may or may not have a similar reaction.

        Daddy long legs and the like are not to alarming!!

        So you keep them big buggers.

        They look much better dead on your floor then mine.

        But I have been known to kill a bat in the house by catching and crushing with my hand….About mortified my dear wife and sent my kids into hysterics…It was purely a self defense move mind you!!!

  8. Yankee Cracker said

    As MA refugees now having lived in FL for 20+ years we have been let in on the old southern secret that hair spray(aerosol type) works wonders on wolf spiders. Think wicked witch melting in Wizard of Oz.

    Now Palmetto bugs…try 12ga with 7 1/2 birdshot or if indoors a size 12 boot.

  9. Lissa,

    Just wait until you have a Palmetto bug flyin around your dark bedroom in the middle of the night (and then landing in your hair). Those things make the wolf spiders look cute and cuddly. That’s the price we pay for living in Florida where it’s sunny and warm year around. The best advice that I have for living here is to keep your pest extermination plan up to date. Between the german roaches, the palmetto bugs, and like a billion differant species of ant, it is worth it. Oh, and until you are sure that your yard doesn’t have any fire ants, don’t go trapsing around barefoot without watching where you step.


  10. Lissa,

    One more thing for your grocery list: WASP SPRAY! The kind you get at the hardware store that shoots like 30 feet man! The wasps down here can get down right ferocious if you piss them off, best be far away as possible. As an aside, if you find that you have run out of wasp spray and are in dire straits, WD40 sticks to a wasps wings and will down one in nothing flat (but won’t kill it), you then just have to step on it (wearing shoes to not get stung of course).


    • Lissa said

      Thanks, and good to know! Yeah, I called the pest prevention service the next day. We’d been waffling over whether to buy it, or to just attempt to do it ourselves; chasing the eight-legged fiend made our decision for us!

  11. George said

    At the risk of sounding more wussy than I am, when I was married, the wife and I had an arrangement: She killed the spiders (usually black widows) and I killed the sewer roaches. I’ve become more self sufficent since the divorce. We did find a wolf spider once, it was about twice as large as yours (we live in Az.)

    • Lissa said

      The funny thing is, I didn’t think I had a spider phobia. I’ve held tarantulas before, as well as vinegaroons . . . in nice, safe, entomologist-supervised conditions. Finding it INSIDE MY HOUSE, COMPLETELY UNDOMESTICATED AND UNSPOKEN FOR, was quite a different matter!!!

  12. alan said

    That spider was there because he found something to eat. THAT is what you have to worry about, not the spider.

    Just helping out. 😀

  13. Brad K. said


    I was going to suggest that the thing might actually have been a tarantula – and be protected wildlife. At the least, you might have tried opening the door and brushing it outside.

    Perhaps a pet parrot or parakeet, or a non-poisonous reptile (if you keep the house closed!) would keep the arachnids at bay, or at least, down to a dull roar. Then all you would have would be Rajah toys. And droppings.

    I tend to go with the “I don’t care that they are there; I won’t go looking. But if I see the sucker, it is dirt-nap time” rule.

    • Ian Argent said

      Tarantulas are protected wildlife? Really? I guess FL is off the list for any future Chez Argent. I don’t mind our fuzzy octopodal friends, but Mrs. Argent has firm rules, which include “spiders serve an important role in the Circle of Life, and more importantly, the Circle of Pest Control. They may stay in the house as long as they are small, and neither seen nor heard.”

      Wolf Spiders at least won’t leave Irish Lace about.

      As for Palmetto bugs, I dunno about Rajah vs the bugs, but our one cat considered the NJ cochroach an excellent source of Brown and Crunchy when he could get it (not often)

  14. Dr. Feelgood said

    What caliber? Why, 6mm .20 gram at 300 fps does nicely. I keep an airsofty in the basement for just such monsters. Laser sight for bonus fun!

    • Ian Argent said

      I’d use the .25g myself; but that’s because I find .20 to be insufficient for penentrating paper target, and won’t have it aroudn the house.

      Why, yes, I am starting an airsoft caliber war 🙂

  15. Sarah said

    I’ll take an entire legion of wolf spiders over even one freakin’ black widow every single time.

  16. Ruth said

    Heh, you just found the exact reason why I shall never ever ever EVER!!! move to Florida or any other state that is inhabited by insects of that size!!! Try coming back to your tent one night and discovering that fellow’s sibling sitting on your pillow….and then he moves and you have no idea where he went….and you have to SLEEP in that tent, the camp counselors were NOT sympathetic to my refusals. I didn’t sleep much that night!

  17. PhillipC said

    Wolf spider, huh? Wait until you have a good size banana spider building a nest close to your door. I have a couple of trees about twenty feet apart that frequently have banana spider webs stretched between them. They’re about as big across as a grapefruit… Those are interesting.

    I have an understanding with the spiders that try to live in the house. They keep the bugs down and don’t try to shower with me, and I leave them mostly alone.

  18. McThag said

    I have more bad news. Look up “Blue Huntsman”. Same basic design, lots bigger.

    I don’t trim the hedges because of a close encounter with a female bearing babies.


  19. Heath J said

    See, now you can rationalize buying that flame thrower you’ve always wanted..

  20. Robert said

    Oh hell, that thing is TINY.

    Just wait until you run across one that’s about the size of a silver dollar. It’s worse when it’s a mamma wolf spider; they carry their young — all eleventy billion of them — on their back after they hatch. Nothing worse than squishing a massive spider only to find out she was acting as a soccer van for a horde of spiderlings…

  21. bluesun said

    I found this comic today and thought of this post. Apparently girl scout cookie boxes work well.

  22. yes “Palmetto Bugs” a.k.a. huge flying cockroaches. Did you know cockroaches can fly? I didn’t. And then I moved to Texas.

  23. Tarb said

    Hi Lissa! Have you heard of glove guns? My cousin and I used to torment each other with them. You take a piece of inch diameter polypipe, about the length of your hand, and cut off a finger of some rubber gloves. Put the cut end of the finger over the pipe, use a rubber band to hold the finger on, and then poke the end of it through the pipe. Then, just add a pinch of sand in the glove, pull back hard and THWAP! It’s a tiny shotgun for spiders! If you really want velocity, use surgical gloves. Plus, it’s also hilarious to shoot people in their bare legs with it. I recall using it to pulverise some wolf spiders of a similiar size to yours when I was little, so if you have too much time on your hands, or you really, REALLY hate spiders, maybe give it a go!

  24. Jay G. said

    Lissa, I think this might be your most popular post EVAH! 🙂

  25. Tam said

    There are two kinds of spiders we kill on sight:

    1) Ones that are on me.
    2) Ones that are trying to get on me.

    Any sufficiently large spider spotted indoors is presumed to be harboring thoughts about getting on me, and is dealt with appropriately.

  26. breda said

    You know what works great on spiders? A vaccuum cleaner.

    I like to make “Bwahahahahaa!!” sounds when sucking them into a certain doom.

  27. Chris in Texas said

    Wolf spiders are fun! If you really want to scare yourself, go outside at night with an LED flashlight and look around your house. All the little spots of light shining back at you like glitter? Spider eyes. They reflect light just like a deer or a raccoon.

    And yes, the big banana spiders are the best for freaking people out. They spin webs YARDS wide across any open space, namely the trails where I work. And they’re strong webs, too. There was one in the corner of an awning at a shooting range I fequented in East Texas. I would fire my AK and then hear the expected tinkle of brass hitting the ground. After one particular shot, no brass sound. I checked the gun. No brass. I looked up and saw that the spiderweb had caught the hot casing and held it. It stayed up there all afternoon.

    Might also want to google Lake Tawakoni Spiderwebs for some awesome photos.

  28. hazmat said

    I’ve found that for the outdoor variety funnel web and garden variety spiders, a Briggs and Stratton mounted on any chasis that also contains a rotating blade works wonders, too.

    My wife’s method of dealing with the 8 legged, if I’m not around to holler for, is to hit them with RAID until they’re white.

  29. Obligatory Flanders & Swann reference.
    At least your battle turned out better than the one in the song.

  30. Effing silly damnedyankees! That spider ain’t gonna bite you, it eats the insects which might bite you! If a spider dosn’t have a violin drawn on its tummy, it’s your friend! I betcha you’re one of those insensitive doodahs who’d kill a Daddy Longlegs!

  31. Jon said

    We get that sort of thing all spring, summer and fall long here in AZ. Last summer was fun – a batch of black widows on the back patio and another on the benches around the patio in the yard. They died, hard and fast since I have access to commercial-grade pesticides. This year it was the freakin’ cicadas everywhere always getting in through the dog door and then buzzing around the house.

  32. Laura said

    This is why I could never live in Florida. I need to live somewhere where a merciless winter keeps insects from growing too large or getting out of hand.

    FYI: Scrubbing Bubbles foam works really well on spiders. It immediately bubbles up and encapsulates the spider, making it impossible for it to jump. If it’s a bigger spider, it may crawl slowly, but just spray more. Then the spider dies, the bubbles dissipate, and you have a non-squooshed spider so you can bring it to your husband later and “DO YOU SEE HOW BIG THIS THING WAS? I WAS NOT EXAGGERATING.”

  33. Motor-T said

    Wait till you run into one with babies on it’s back. They take off like living coffee grounds in a thousand different directions. I am told that this type of incident is what caused Sherman to burn Atlanta.

  34. Borepatch said

    Late to the party, but you’ll like this:


    I once killed a scorpion in the basement when we lived in Georgia.

  35. wrm said

    Shame, poor thing.


  37. […] […]

  38. […] Lissa recently recounted her harrowing experience and the epic battle that ensued when her home was invaded by a dangerous predator. […]

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