I wasn't aware there was more than one type of Black Widow spider. There
is another that looks very much like a BW but does not have that true
hourglass on the shiny black body. They are the ones that are more
commonly in buildings and are not poisonous (except the "normal" spider
venom that can cause blisters if they bite you). I've seen people
(including my own son) refuse to go in sheds, etc., thinking they were
BWs. BWs seem to prefer dark, moist places. Growing up in eastern
Washington, I had to deal with them whenever I went into the pump house,
scary stuff! However, that was the only place we ever saw them besides
dirt cellars. They weren't ever in the garden which I always worried
about when picking tomatoes (yes, fields full!) since that was dark and
moist in those vines.
Here in western Washington, BWs are not common but they are present. The
Brown Recluse is more common and that is the one that scares me! BWs are
not hiders but the BRs are, or so I understand it that way. I've not
knowingly seen one, but they are very much on my mind when I see a brown
spider I don't recognize. <shiver>
They (brown recluse) are common around here... especially when I move
furniture to clean the floors properly. ;-)
They are milk chocolate brown, flat finish, not shiny, and with very
pointed toes. Look on the cephalothorax (upper back) for a violin shaped
marking. That is why they are also known as "violin spiders".
K. (from Central Texas)
I wasn't either, til I saw these. They are longer-legged, smaller
bodied, run like the wind, and will jump right at you if disturbed. If
it's the same species, wonder if it might be a variation induced by
climate? Because I never saw this type in Montana, only in SoCal.
All of these that I've examined (after a suitable squishing :) have a
red or yellow hourglass on the belly.
Here they get into everything. They prefer the dark moist spots, and
being under furniture, eaves, etc. but will web up just about any
undisturbed spot in a matter of days, to the point of looking like a
spook house. Under beehives is their favourite place in the whole wide
world, as I can attest from several years working for a beekeeper :)
They weren't common in Montana either -- you could count on finding
some in certain window wells, but hardly ever anywhere else. Here,
they're everywhere, and far less fussy about where they live!
some good closeup photos.
What we have are definitely brown recluse.
We also get a lot of long-leggers that get into everything but are not
aggressive, and are mostly just a nuisance because they'd much rather
come in the house and eat each other than stay outdoors and eat bugs!
OTOH, I've never seen a proper daddy-long-legger here (the kind that
just run around and don't make webs, and shed their legs at a touch;
I'm not sure they're actually a spider per se). Our long-legged spider
is similar, but is not what I grew up calling a daddy-long-legger!
I have two yellow rose bushes that I refer to as my grandma roses. When I
was a little girl, my paternal grandmother had one on each side of her
front steps. One summer, when my maternal grandmother was visiting her,
she got a start. After I was married, I got a start from my maternal
grandmother. Hence the name grandma roses, they came from both of my
grandmothers. I've moved the bushes twice now (when I moved). I have no
idea what kind they are. Though they don't last long, they are one of the
most fragrant roses ever.
They grow quite high though are not climbers and bloom mostly in clusters.
My other "family plant" is my lilacs. When my grandparents visited
Arkansas one year, they dug up a lilac bush from my grandfather's home
place. In 1976, I brought starts home to my house. Those also have been
moved twice with me. I call them my "Arkansas lilacs" because of where
they came from. They, too, are extremely fragrant.
It's cool that friends have asked for starts from both the roses and the
Many years ago, I had a Christmas Catus I took the start from from my
grandmother's plant (which I now have and is at least fifty years old).
For years, that little plant lived in water only, bloomed beautifully
twice a year, plant a very healthy green. Then during one of my
grandmother's visits, she noticed it wasn't in soil. She told me I better
plant it because it can't live in water (though it had for over ten years,
first in an apartment and then two houses!). Yup, you guessed it, the
plant died. No kidding, within two months, it was unquestionably dead. I
always said she killed it. It was happy in its ignorance that it needed
soil and flourished in the water.
who moved her outdoor plants as well
as her furniture when she moved
(of course working for a utilities
contractor and having access to
backhoes helped a lot!)
What a great idea! Somewhere in the garage, there is some fiberboard
(don't know what else to call it, used it for room dividers in a frame
covered with burlap-type fabric. It is much lighter than wood so worked
well. I've considered tossing it since it likely won't be needed for a
room divider again since my business has been closed for many years. Seems
like every time I toss something unusual like that, a need for it arises.
<g> We had a carpet tube in our basement for about five years, kept
moving it around and finally tossed it. Two weeks later, we bought our
little boys Bert and Ernie puppets which would have fit perfectly on a
piece of that silly tube for safe and attractive storage. Fastened to a
piece of board and painted by the boys, the pieces would have worked very
well as well as given them another "satisfaction project."
My cats absolutely loved the pipe for playing. Fabric fastened to the
inside so they could climb up the verticals was a plus and gave it more
usability. I also had fabric (carpet scraps) on the top so they could
easily lay on it without slipping and on parts of the inside also. I
made it mostly because we lived in a relatively small house and they were
not allowed outside. With no climbing stuff, they were at odds a bit, cats
love high places so much. It's one way to have a lot of "tunnels" in a
small area. I found their favorite thing was to hide in one end of the
pipe while waiting for the other one to either walk by and sneak up from
the other end of the pipe, either inside or outside. That this was
assembled when they were still kittens helped a lot as they became
accustomed to playing in it while they still had excess room.
By the time all the tees were purchased for the free pipe, it became more
expensive than the cat tower I bought for them later, but they really had
a great time with it (as did we watching them). On the positive side, if
I ever need to put in a main water line, I have several 8-inch tees. <g>
Another thing I was able to acquire from my boss' job sites was the bell
end of 10-inch pipe which I use to surround some plants to protect them
from the weed trimmer. While black is better because it blends in better,
the green works well. Many times I've wished I'd thought of it in earlier
years so I'd have more of them (he died in 2000), but cutting the bottoms
out of flower pots also works though not as permanent as that pipe.
Scraps of corrugated drain pipe (18-inch) work well around bigger plants,
the black blends in better as our eye "goes past" the black. I hope to
some day be able to get more of that to make tomato plant rings, should
work as well as wall-of-water type things. Right now, I have it around my
kiwi plants and two rose bushes along the edge of the grass for protection
from the mower and trimmer as well as allowing me to concentrate the water
during the drier weather (they are in the ground about two inches).
Again, bottomless planter pots would do the same thing but are not as
My main bird feeder is a gazebo feeder mounted on a 6-foot tall piece of
4-inch PVC (black) pipe which sets over two 6-foot-metal fence posts (for
moving later if desired, two for stability). When I bought the gazeobo,
the friend with me said he had just the thing to attach it to the pipe.
It was a PVC toilet flange! It works wonderfully and allows me to easily
take the feeder down for cleaning, etc. The black does blend in and
doesn't stand out garishly in the garden. Because the PVC is so slippery,
it keeps the squirrels out of the feeder as long as there is nothing near
it for them to use as a jumping point (and *not* under a tree!).
The same type of thing might be used for a rat trap as was discussed in
other posts. A larger piece of pipe with an end cap glued on one end,
partly filled with water; something appealing on the top of the inside
might attract them to their death. Because the PVC is slippery, they
can't get traction to get out. It would have to be vertical and not at a
slant. Smaller stuff would likely work for mice as well.
Love your "scratching post" application!
Hey! I like that idea!
You can staple things to carpet tubing.
Wonder if I can get some from the local floor store?
I've been buying those single story cat houses from Wal-mart lately.
I have two so far, and they are never unoccupied!
And that is what really matters! <lol>
Gods I love cats!
I have an older one right now that is dying from Hyperthyroidism. The
medication made him sicker, so there is nothing we can do. I'm trying
Iodine therapy right now, but I'm afraid it's too little to late. :-( He
is only 13 years old but he's gone from 12 lbs. down to 2 lbs. and his
heart rate is over 200 beats per minute. All I can do is to allow him
all the good canned food he wants and give him lots of love.
He is so weak and sooo thin. He's not in any pain tho' or I'd have him
put down. He is really fighting to live!
This really sux. :-(
Recycling at it's best. :-)
Hey, would squashes do well in pots?
We have a horrible time with squash borers.
Good idea. ;-)
I need to put up new feeders. My last Audubon feeder finally bit the
dust. Right now, the local birds just eat grain off of the ground in the
henyard. I do have gourd birdhouses up, and am considering turning a few
of them into feeder stations. I grew many birdhouse gourds 2 years ago
and have not used them all yet. The way they are built, they ought to be
Damn! That is SUCH a good idea! And that would eliminate my problems
with using poison bait! They are attracted to dog food, but Jewely kills
any that get near the dog food on the front porch. ;-) I keep finding
young dead rats in the front yard with her. <G> Good dog! She is a
border collie. :-)
I like that! Thanks!!!
We used to do cat rescue many moons ago, but quit, but we ended up with
a large number of non-rehomable older cats... Most of them are over 10
years old now so I will lose most of my babies over the next 5 years or
so. <sigh> Sux, but that's the way it goes. They are all spayed/neutered
Thanks for the awesome drowning trap idea!!!
The cat tower here is six feet tall, about two feet wide, and more
expensive than a sane purchaser would consider.<g> It has many "nooks"
and ramps to the next nook as well as a hideaway at the bottom. They have
loved it. They can bounce around in it almost as good as a tree. It has
carpet floors on the flat surfaces and carpet on the lower outsides for
scratching posts. Ours came from PetCo five or six years ago. While
expensive at purchase, it's like the automatic litter box, worth every
penny. Of course, through the years, the litter box has paid for itself
in saved litter, but the cat tower has in entertainment. :-) Cats, given
climbing places, can be so easy to please. It's been my intention to put
a shelf above the cat tower and door for them to lay on, but good
intentions . . . you know the rest.
Expanding on what others said about drowning them, it seemed a logical way
to do it given the characteristics of PVC. The test will be how many will
go into it before they get wise to it. Remember, when emptying and
resetting it, to handle it with leather gloves to keep your scent off it.
Maybe even rub the gloves in the dirt, etc., before handling it to keep it
as "earthy" smelling as possible. My grandfather always said they won't
go to where there is fresh human scent for food because they figure out
quickly that fresh human smell is a trap and not a free meal; how true it
is, one can only guess. However, he knew lots of stuff most people didn't
(and was a rotation farmer with higher yields while others spent $$$ on
fertilizers). He was quite amazing in his knowledge about practical
things that produced impressive results.
Of course, one must make it easy for the critters to get into the pipe
(next to a shelf, table, roof, etc.) while the pipe long is enough they
can't get out by stretching/jumping (though I doubt they can do much
jumping from water). From all I hear, they are definitely the most
intelligent of our pests. :-(
I'm thinking if grain/dog food attracts them, a piece of heavy paper (even
newspaper fastened with one clothespin only, don't want it too secure)
with the bait on the paper laying across the top might get them into the
pipe, the idea being the paper is light enough they will just fall in but
it looks safe before they step onto it. Being as curious as hungry
animals can be, just something inside (like peanut butter) might do the
trick without the extra work. Peanut butter works surprisingly well for a
variety of critters. With rats, canned cat/dog food or even tuna fish oil
might do the same thing.
Good luck to all of you with a known rat population.
Here is my cat furniture. :-)
Suitable for multiple cats, easy assembly, and not that expensive:
They love it, and you can get additional hammocks and houses for it.
I'll probably use the classic p-nut butter and oatmeal bait.
Works very well, keeps well and is easy to manipulate.
The animal behaviorist on 'Calling All Pets' says that cats often
reject scratching posts because they're flimsy. The best ones, she
says, are made from material/carpet nailed to something that won't
wobble or fall over when 'attacked.' Your room dividers must just fit
the bill. :-)
Sorry about your poor kitty. Don't wait too long -- cats often show
few signs they are uncomfortable. Good thoughts, etc.
A good reason to stay where I am!
Like most people, I've never been fond of spiders. Gardening now, and
knowing how valuable they are to the environment, I have a better
tolerance for them and am trying to teach my granddaughters that certain
spiders (refer to them as garden spiders) are helpers so they don't freak
out every time they see a bug. My own mother was so terrified of spiders
that she would run from them. My grandmother said she was shocked when
she saw my mother actually step on one when I was a baby crawling on the
floor. Her fear is why I had the chore of going into the pump house;
amazing how that protective instinct disappeared after I could walk! I so
hated going there as there were always at least a dozen spiders in sight,
no easy task to not disturb them. I just cannot imagine living with them
all over like you have them!
I saved the link you sent but it's early morning and haven't had my
breakfast yet so will wait until later to look since I'm about to go out
and work in the yard for a short time before leaving for work.
Thank you for the information.
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