Making Peace With Porch Spiders

Content Warning for discussion of spiders and encountering spiders in daily life.

After all of the stress of last week (stuff I wrote about here and things I didn’t mentioned combined into one of my most exhausting and draining weeks since that time I spent three days in a row driving to and from a job site back in January), I’m feeling pretty dang exhausted and spoonless. Not quite to the point of filling in this week with some posts about The Legend of Zelda (I still have brainpower, just not much energy), but I’m definitely going to be focusing my energy on simpler posts. Less in-depth topics, nothing as emotionally involved as last week’s posts (unless, of course, something comes up and I need to vent/rant about it again). For instance, today’s post is about the friendly porch spider.

Personally, I’m a fan of friendly porch spiders. Territorial ones, not so much. But the friendly ones are a lot of fun to have around. They do an excellent job of reducing the number of bugs that manage to get into my apartment when I’ve got the door open or that can worm their way through the small gaps in my windows. They’re also usually pretty friendly, as far as spiders go. After all, if they’re going to live somewhere as high-traffic as a porch, then they need to be incredibly chill with people passing by. Freaking out or jumping at someone passing by is a great way for a porch spider’s life to be cut short. They also tend to not get in the way very much either, since their webs by default will only last if they get put up somewhere out of the way.

It’s also fun to consider that these little bug-catching buddies are opportunists making the best of the changes to the world around them. So long as they’re left to their own devices, they’re going to take advantage of the changing behavior in bugs by building webs in places that bugs gather as a result of humans being present. While there are a number of webs in the corners of my porch, the biggest ones are near my porch light and around the window that looks out over the porch. After all, if bugs are going to senselessly fly toward the lights I’m using, spiders might as well reap the benefit. A bug will bonk itself to death on my windows and my porch light, so putting a spiderweb in the way just means the spiders get plenty to eat and I don’t have to deal with bug corpses.

Personally, I don’t much care to interact with spiders. I don’t want to touch them, I don’t want them to touch me, and I will absolutely murder any spider that shows up in my bathroom or bedroom because that behavior will not be tolerated. Those are private and personal spaces. Anywhere else they show up is fine since they’re usually pretty good at finding places that are out of the way. Which is one of the nice things about living in the Midwest. Most of the naturally-occurring spiders around here aren’t particularly dangerous to people or pets. You can just ignore them, they’ll ignore you, and everybody benefits except the bugs. Few insects in the home, an eventually stable number of spiders (after all, once the excess bugs are eaten, the population will shift until there’s a decent match between predators and prey), and year-round Halloween decorations. What’s not to love?

I get that some people have phobias and I understand that there’s no reasoning with a phobia. Not everyone can put up with spiders and maybe people would rather deal with bugs than spiders, but I’m a fan of things that take care of themselves and porch spiders are pretty dang good at that. They get all the bugs they can eat, I get fewer bugs in my home, and neither of us interferes with each other until the lawn guys blow a bunch of dead grass onto my porch and fill up the webs with plant garbage, which means I have to clear the old, occupied webs to make way for the new. I don’t know if the spiders understand that I’m trying to help them by removing habitats that they can’t benefit from anymore, but I sure hope they do. I’d hate to think I’m upsetting my porch spider friends.

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