Face Your Fears

Florida's Flying Spiders

Face Your Fears
pixabay.comImagine a spider as big as a dinner plate. Our spider was all black and HUGE. I am not kidding you when I tell you this!

There is no doubt about it everyone has a fear of something. If you cannot admit your fear, you are not honest with yourself. Two things frighten me the most, and they are spiders and heights.

Spiders make my heart skip some beats. It never matters how big it is and how ugly it looks. I don't care if the spider is inside or outside my home it needs to go to spider heaven or leave my property. Okay, as long as the spider remains outside and away from my windows or doors, I am cool.

When my aunt was living, we would stay with her in her home in Florida and we always had a wonderful time. My aunt was one of those people whom everyone liked. She carried a smile on her face and a song in her heart.

Auntie passed away at the age of 93 years, in 1993. I never recall auntie being afraid of anything, or if she was, she met her fears with fierce diligence. She even tackled a rattlesnake one day when she found it curled up in the corner of her garage floor and killed it with her shovel.

I asked my aunt if she was not fearful of that awful snake and her reply was, "Of course I was, but what was I going to do? I had no time to be afraid."

Auntie and Her Broom

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My aunt swung that broom hard

On one of our visits to Florida with my husband and three children, our family had a nasty spider encounter, which is why I do not like to live in Florida. On this particular night my aunt, husband, and three children were watching television in the Florida room.

I became increasingly tired after a busy day, and it was getting late, so I decided to go to our bedroom and get ready for some much-needed sleep.

My aunt's house had central air conditioning, and the vents sat high on the wall next to the ceilings.

As I was in the bedroom, I turned toward this air vent to retrieve something and was not sure what I saw. I thought I saw a creature crawl through the air conditioning vent. This creature has long, skinny, black legs. I stood there frozen in time as this "thing" wiggled the last part of whatever it was into the vent shaft.

I casually went to the Florida room and reluctantly told my husband to check the air vent. I told hubby what I saw. He waved my urgency off until the next commercial break and I sat restlessly nearby.

Mind you now, he thought I had seen things, again, but just wanted to appease me so he could tell me there was nothing there.

Everyone, including my aunt, remained at the television. My husband and daughter brought a chair to the bedroom so that hubby's eyes were even with the air vent. He started to look inside.

In a split second, this vast black spider the size of a dinner plate flew out of that vent, nearly hit him in his face as it flew over his head and landed on top of the bed. My husband yelled out because this spider practically flew into his face. My daughter started screaming, and I was in shock trying to get out of the room.

By this time, my aunt was in the bedroom with the boys following on her heels. She went to retrieve a big broom and beat that spider to death.

We laugh about the scenario that night, but at the time there was nothing funny about seeing this little 89-year-old woman beat that spider to a pulp, no words could describe the scene.

As my big, strapping man stood cowering my auntie finally killed this spider. After my aunt laid her broom down, auntie looked at my husband and boys and said, "Really? You were afraid of that little ole spider?" Are you folks aware that there are bigger spiders in Florida? She told my hubby to grab a dustpan and put the creature in the garbage.

Looking at that immense dead spider made my skin crawl. I was still fearful of that spider even though it was now gone. All I could think of was, there must be more of those in that vent.

I did not want to sleep in that room that night, and my husband said I was foolish. Well, I did go to bed in that room, and I wore my glasses all night with my eyes fixed on that vent. I also told him I want to sleep near the door so I could get out quickly if I saw something in that vent again.

For someone who has a fear of spiders, this only deepened my fear of these creatures. We frequently talk about that night and are still amazed at the size of that spider.

Why did she have to spin her web in my kitchen window?

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I am glad that our spider is outside with a window between me and it.

A Creepy Spider on My Kitchen Window

My husband, adult daughter, and I were sitting at our kitchen table one day visiting when I noticed a giant spider was in the process of building her web across one of my kitchen windows. All spiders seem enormous to me. This kitchen spider prompted the memories of our encounter with a Florida spider.

At the beginning of the summer, my husband knew that there was a spider building a web on the outside of our kitchen window and he never told me. I asked my faithful hubby to brush down the web, and he just laughed and refused, saying that it was too pretty to destroy and that the spider was hurting no one. I said to my hubby, "Well, how am I going to open our window or even wash the window with that thing there?"

His reply, "I guess you won't."

My daughter and I took a good look at the web and were amazed at what a stunning job that spider did on her web. My daughter took a closer look and said, "Dad, that spider has made four anchors to hold her web, just look at this job, it is amazing." Then the spider came from the side to the web's center, and it was as big as a fifty-cent piece and getting more prominent with an egg sac. This spider was going to have hundreds of tiny spiders. I thought to myself, "Well, this is just great, that is all I need, around here, more spiders!

My daughter did an internet search on this particular spider to see if it would poison anyone and found it would not harm anyone. My hubby now had my daughter sold on keeping that spider around, and I had to let my window go dirty until the end of October.

Reason being, the spider, would bury her young and die in October. We watched bugs, flies, and other insects fly into that web all summer and Miss. Spider took her pick of dinner. I must admit it was interesting, but not interesting enough for me to keep around, and this certainly did not make my fear of spiders away. I was outnumbered and had to endure this all summer.

A Cross Orb Weaver Spider

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What my daughter found out about this spider is as follows. The name of this spider is a Cross Orb Weaver. It has three other names, Orb Weavers, Diadem Spider, and the European Garden Spider.

These spiders are found most prevalent from early summer to late fall when she leaves her web to deposit her several hundred eggs in a safe place. My neighbor has a more prominent garden than we do, so I hope she makes it over the fence.

This spider originated in Europe and showed up in the United States from Europe. The spider ranges in various colors such as,

  • Yellow
  • Burnt Orange
  • Dark Gray

Some Cross Orb Weavers have large white dots on their back that form a cross. Sizes range from 12 mm to 21 mm. These spiders take up residence in,

  • Meadows
  • Woodlands
  • Hedgerows
  • Gardens and,
  • My kitchen window!

Some Orb Weavers make their homes inside structures sitting in the countryside.

(Um? Penn State University mentioned nothing about kitchen windows, so I hope my daughter is not wrong about this).

When they weave their web, they do an excellent job. When passing my kitchen window, I have to stop and look at the intricacy of this web with all its anchors. This spider's web is very complicated, and I do not know how they have such artistry, only God knows.

(If it sounds like I am getting to be a spider fan, do not kid yourself for one minute). On this web, she (I say she because it is the female that does all the work, sound familiar people?) sits in her web and waits for most flying insects, including bees, small sweat bees, flies, and mosquitoes.

According to the information below we have no reason to fear this spider, it causes no ill side effects if you get a notion to handle it and get bitten.

I vote to leave well enough alone.

Reference Only

wild animals
Carolann Sherwood
Carolann Sherwood
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Carolann Sherwood

Professional nurse for over 40 years

Owned a children's daycare, eight years

Owned an upper scale clothing resale shop

A freelance writer

Editor since 2010 on a writing platform site

A published author, "Return To The Past" available on Amazon

See all posts by Carolann Sherwood