Friday, October 3, 2014

The Spiders Of Belgium

A Cross spider, one of many
Belgian varieties
I've been absolutely loving the fall weather we've been experiencing over the past few weeks. Cool mornings are giving way to warm and mostly sunny afternoons. The days are noticeably shorter with sunrise coming long after we get up and sunset occurring before I can even get dinner on the table. While the leaves lack the vibrant colors of New England autumns, they are slowing turning to shades of red and yellow. I'm loving all aspects of Belgian fall except for one: the spiders. Yes spiders.

I had been hearing complaints from fellow Americans here in Belgium about the plethora of seasonal bugs that inevitably invade their homes but I figured these creepy creatures appeared because these houses were located in more rural parts of the area and were surrounded by farms and fields. I figured that by living in the city center we were safe. But alas, that is unfortunately not the case. We too have been invaded by spiders and I don't like it at all.

These spiders are literally everywhere. I first noticed them in the high corners of a few rooms in the house. They were mostly the Daddy Long legged variety that I had grown up with and appeared to be limiting the building of their webs near the air vents leading to the outside of the house. I would sweep them away only to have them return the next day but they were essentially harmless and with our high ceilings, didn't really bother me. But then they began appearing in our large windows. These were larger spiders, often sporting huge egg sacs, but fortunately they spun their webs outside of the house rather than inside. But then I realized that they were not just hanging out in our windows; they were extending their webs to our climbing rose bushes and other shrubs. And they are all connected, meaning our small yard has become a booby trap of spider silk. These spiders move fast too; on more than one occasion I've discovered newly spun webs being built on top of my fresh laundry. But it gets better since I've gotten caught in more than one web because I didn't see the fine silk strung before me. Now I don't like spiders but for the most part I can abide by these. But getting the silk stuck all over me is a whole different story. Its horrible.

So I've been doing my research on spiders here in Belgium and have discovered that there are over 700 different species of spiders in Belgium. Fortunately, none of them are really venomous but that doesn't make me like them any more. Fall is apparently the season when spiders hatch their egg sacs so apparently it is only going to get worse before it gets better. I also found out that spiders are a common topic to blog about in Belgium. In fact, there are numerous blogs discussing this very topic. Again this doesn't really make me feel that much better but at least I am not alone.

Now I know spiders are good since they eat other bugs. And we don't have other noticeable bugs....maybe because we have all of these spiders? Or maybe not. I've been told that spiders don't like peppermint oil and spraying a little in the vicinity of their webs is a non-toxic method for getting rid of them. Of course I couldn't find any peppermint oil in the local markets--maybe because everyone else has already bought it? So I've ordered some from trusty old and am now anxiously awaiting its arrival. In the meantime I'm staring down the big old spider hanging out in my window and have tasked Glenn with clearing the webs from the backyard before our company arrives this evening. Perhaps the spiders will simply move on for the winter on their own. But I will now be prepared for the next time they return because just like rain in Belgium the spiders always return.

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