Ask the Bugman: Spiders are only dangerous when people act foolishly

Originally published at the Mountain View Telegraph

by Richard Fagerlund

so they don’t have to use toxic pesticides or hire someone to spray their home inside and out.

Most pests can be controlled using non-toxic methods. The first thing you need to do is inspect your home inside and out, look for places pests can get in and then seal the areas.

Many homes have crawl spaces under them. It is a good idea to go under your home and inspect it if you can. I have been under thousands of homes over the years and have only had two incidents that were strange.

On one occasion, I had to go into a crawl space to do a termite inspection.

This was in Florida. The house was near a canal.

After I made several turns in the crawl space, my flashlight died and I couldn’t see the opening or daylight anywhere. I started crawling toward where I thought the opening was when I heard a low growl.

I never heard a noise like that and thought there was a dog under the house with me.

I fished out my cigarette lighter (good thing I smoked in those days) and lit it. I discovered I had almost crawled over 6-foot long alligator sleeping under the house.

Needless to say I dropped my lighter and crawled in the opposite direction as fast as I could.

It only took a few minutes to see the daylight coming through the crawl space opening. I told the lady I couldn’t find any termites, but she had an alligator under the house.

Actually, I don’t know if she had termites as I never finished the inspection.

She said the alligator lived under her house when it wasn’t in the canal. She just forgot to tell me about it.

On another occasion, I went under a house in Bloomfield, and I didn’t wear a shirt or T-shirt as it was hot out. I was crawling around when I felt a pinch on my stomach.

I put my flashlight down there and I crawled over a black widow that bit me on the stomach. I crawled out and told the homeowner I would have to come back and finish the inspection.

I drove home to Albuquerque and my wife asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital. I said no and just sat in a chair for a couple of days.

My wife brought me food and beer and I was fine fairly soon.

So, if you are visiting friends in Florida and somebody asks you to go under the house, make sure there aren’t any alligators under there and never crawl under a house half naked.

Someone asked me if spiders are dangerous. Yes!

In one case, a woman jumped out of her car while she was driving because she saw a spider on her shoulder. The car was wrecked.

In another case, a woman saw a spider on her rear-view mirror and panicked and ran off the road. She wasn’t hurt but her car was wrecked.

In another situation, a spider got loose from a cage on an airplane, forcing the plane to land as soon as possible. I guess they were afraid the spider would kill all the passengers.

Then there was a guy who tried to kill a spider with a cigarette lighter at a gas station and ignited a big fire from the gas.

And then there was the fellow in Seattle who found a spider in his house and decided to kill it with a lighter and a can of spray paint. He burned his house down.

So, spiders are dangerous: wrecking cars, causing emergency plane landings and starting fires.

In reality, spiders don’t sit around every morning discussing how many people they can kill. They simply try to make a living like all of us.

The female will build a web, lay an egg sac and gather food. If she is in your house, she will pay rent by helping control cockroaches.

She will defend herself and her children, but we do that too. If you have to control spiders, simply scoop them up in a jar and put them outside.

If they build webs in areas where you don’t want them to, spray the area with peppermint essential oil. That will repel them.

If you have roaches, you don’t need an exterminator. If they are the large brownish American roaches or the black Oriental roaches, all you need is beer and some duct tape.

Put some pie pans full of beer outside where the roaches hang out. Use good beer, not lite beer.

Put the pans on the ground and make sure the roaches can climb in them. They will go in the pans at night and get drunk and drown.

They don’t check IDs.

If they are in the house, put down some duct tape sticky side up. The roaches will be attracted to the glue in the tape and get stuck.

This also works on crickets.

If you have the smaller German roaches, you can control them with German roach pheromone traps, which are available online.

If you have any pest questions for The Bugman, contact him at or 385-2820.

Date : 3/7/2018