Aranchnophobia? Texas is not for wimps.

My hands are shaking so that I can hardly sip my coffee. Yes, I’m back on coffee right now. I need it.
We came home from the Plano homeschool conference to find our bathroom and laundry room infested with an obscene number of daddy longlegs. Tis the season, and the alternating heat and rain seemed to drive them indoors by the horde.

It was so bad that I was finally motivated to take the 5 gallon Shop Vac under the house and suck the writhing masses of legs from under the floor joists. Hairballs, we call them. They like company, so they cozy together by the hundreds into a dark mass that looks deceptively like moss. Touch it, and you’ll find yourself transported into a nightmare or a horror movie. The ball will dissolve into thousands of legs, dropping by small clumps of 20 or 50 and shattering into individual crawling creatures that instinctively spread out as quickly as possible, blanketing the ground beneath them and crawling up anything they reach – usually my legs.

Feeling like Sigourney Weaver in the movie Aliens, I dragged the heavy machine around, trying not to alert them to my presence, seeking out nests and hives one by one. At one point, I thought I was done, and sank to the ground in exhausted relief.
Then I heard something hit the ground with a soft thump. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw another dark mass dripping as small clumps broke off and fell. My heart fell. As the clumps hit the ground, I saw them find their legs and disperse in all directions, climbing up the foundation and covering the very areas I had just cleared.
I set back to work.
Gradually, I perfected my technique:
Maintain the precious element of surprise. They are sensitive to vibration, so don’t bump the foundation or the joists. Keep the Shop Vac running so they will be accustomed to the sound. When you find a hairball, start slowly, around the edges. Get the loners and the watchful ones before they raise the alarm. Pick them off one by one until there is nothing left but a compact bunch, relying upon the sentries that you have disabled. Now you are ready to make your move.
Bring the mouth of the vacuum hose in quickly but carefully. Don’t let it hit the floor joist or the hairball itself, or they will drop as a body just before you hit them. Suspend the vacuum hose just in front of the hairball and suck them up by layers, sweeping smoothly from side to side. Speed and precision are key to victory. That, and nerves of steel.
Don’t panic when the inevitable happens. Sooner or later, a hairball will see you before you see them, and they will fall in a clump on you. They are not spiders, and they don’t bite. Be an adult. Don’t panic just because there a 498 arachnids with breakaway legs on you, legs that continue to squirm long after they are detached.

Don’t panic. Yeah, right. That’s why I’m sipping coffee with shaking hands. But they are gone from under the house. I won. When I was finally finished, I shut off the Shop Vac and rested my ear against the body of it. Inside, I heard the sound of tens of thousands of legs, wriggling and tapping out messages in morse code. Believe it or not, it was a soothing sound. It sounded just like the gentle rush of water, a babbling brook running over thousands of smooth rocks. Like the sound of the ocean in a conch shell.
Now, where’s the Sevin Dust?

Comments

  1. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I am doing my heebie jeebie dance now. I had to read it out loud for hubby. He didn’t flinch at all. Schmuck.

  2. I’ve never seen anything like this before. Cool!

  3. EWWW!!! I have heard horror stories of these pulsing masses. I am not looking to have a one on one experience, either. We will have a few this time of year. I am so glad that we trade work with a pest control company!!! Although, we found out this morning that dd1 was not allergic to scorpions. Too bad she found out the hard way.

  4. The Ramblin' Rat says:

    Wow! You are more woman than I am! I get creeped out by the two daddy long legs that live behind my washing machine. I’d die of a heart attack if I had that many.

    Major kudos to you!

  5. Okay, Kim, I come visit your blog, hoping to find some of your usual uplifting comments, or delightful anecdotes about life in a family of ten, and I can barely sit still, because I’m afraid something (or things) is crawling upon various places on my body! I shudder. I can’t even look at the pictures. I must come back another day… Lots of love to you, anyway!

  6. Happy Momma says:

    I was horrified in reading the post…then I came back today and there were pictures!!! I have to admit Kim I wont be back for a few days; the mere sight of them makes me itch all over!!!! HAHA!

  7. meNmykids says:

    Vaccuum cleaners are fabulous! When we had a yellow jacket nest in our ceiling I would vaccuum 400 to 500 a day. We had to tape the vaccuum bag hole because they kept climbing out. That doesn’t compare with the size of your outbreak, but ours stung. Over and over again. Ouch. Still, your videos left me feeling shivery, I’m sure you needed coffee, I would. Wiggling legs, eeeeuw.

  8. That reminds me of when I went to cubscout camp with my son for the week the longleggers were all around, thanksfully not in these large clumps. Don’t think I could have handled that.

  9. I must say, I had to swallow a number of times to keep my agitating stomach in place! In my mind, I could hear you down there, with a cold and calculating look on your face, chuckling proudly as another hairball was sucked up……it was the only thing I could think about that kept me from all out freakiness as I read your post!!! You do have nerves of steel, and me? I can’t even look at a grasshopper up close!

    And WHY the video???? I confess I couldn’t even bring myself to watch it! Now that would have made my skin crawl!

    This one’s for the annals of history, friend!

    Leanne in Longview WA

    PS: I knew you wouldn’t mind, but I’ve been recommending your blog to my Homeschoolblogger/real life friend Laura up here in WA so she said she’d check you out…..hope she has a stronger constitution than I do! It must be fun to be your real life friend!

  10. AACCCKKK!! You had to go and add VIDEO to my already creepy imaginings of what piles of spiders must be like.

    deep breath in… deep breath out…

    You are a braver woman than I!

  11. Martha A. says:

    We have had more daddy long legs here, but I have never seen anything like that! in your house? Why do people live there?
    We do have hobo spiders up here which are awful, but since they are one of the only bad things we have to deal with, we live.
    What about a spray can of poison? Wouldn’t that kill them all and then you could vaccum them up?

  12. HomemakerAng says:

    I think I appreciate Michigan winters much better now…

  13. Cyndi Lewis says:

    Kim,

    Must you Texans prove that everything is indeed bigger in your state?! When I first started reading your post I thought “well, at least it wasn’t rats or snakes” but then I continued on and “shiver and gag”! My family spent three years living in San Antonio (My husband worked at the Sonterra Costco) and luckily we didn’t have a spider problem. We constantly had potato bugs and we had some ants behind the dishwasher and a hive of bees in our tree and of course the red ants in the yard… When we moved up here to Michigan it took me awhile to convince the kids not to be afraid of the black ants. LOL! We are not Texans. More power to you!

  14. Catherine says:

    Wow that is so gnarly! You are a stronger woman than I would be in that situation!

    Along with the previous commenter, I hope the Lord sends you more sons in the future! (And daughters too). 🙂

  15. Oh.
    My.
    Word.

    I must admit that I didn’t think that a daddy-long-leg problem was really much of a problem. Silly girl, I thought, when I read your posts before about them…

    Oh.
    My.
    Word.

    I have the heebie-jeebies all over me – that is amazingly gross. Get them. Kill them. Make them go away. Conquer.

    WIN.

    You can do it.

    ~Karen

  16. Coeur d'Court says:

    Now I feel creepy crawly all over. Yuck. You are a brave woman! You have 7 darling girls but may the good Lord bless you with 6 more boys to erradicate future arachnids!

  17. Ew.

  18. Oh Kim, did you really have to share? I can handle one or two, but they throw a family reunion and I’m outta there. I couldn’t bear to watch the videos.

    I would watch them tomorrow, but I have two co-workers who would take any available heavy, blunt object and subject my computer (and possibly me!) to a beating.

    Ew. ew. ew.

    ew.

  19. Tully Family says:

    Thanks a lot, Kim! I’m going to have NIGHTMARES FOREVER. Yuck, yuck, YUCK!!!

  20. Hercules Mulligan says:

    Guess it takes an indifference for the creepiest crawliest buggies alive :S. That wobbly one almost looked like he was bouncing to his hard rock headphones though (giggle). H-ha-have lotsa fun!!

    P.S. I love (little spiders I can squish with my thumb, without hearing a ‘POP,’ from) NY!

  21. sparks,
    Well…right now the shop vac still sounds like the ocean in a conch shell. Hubby suggested that I vacuum up a bit of sevin dust, then shut it off very quickly and let it set for a while.
    I think it’s a grand idea, but I can’t do it yet because the sevin dust will blow out the other side and I still have a job to do inside the house. There are two clusters in my laundry room.
    ugh.
    I tried to get them with my common household upright vacuum, but the suction just wasn’t strong enough. The hive dissolved and spread over the floor.
    We screamed and ran, slamming the door behind us. I told the girls to leave them alone, and we let them regroup in peace.
    Now I just have to haul 5 gallons of live daddy longlegs up to the house so I can top it off before I suck up the sevin dust.
    That’s the plan.

  22. Oh Yuck. I would not like to have to deal with that. I would tell the MAN it was his job. =) Then the boy when he gets bigger gets the job!!!!

  23. Sparks Family says:

    I must know what you do with the shopvac when you are done?

    My skin is crawling.

  24. *shudder* Those mounds of longlegs are NASTY! It gives me the creepies just picturing trying to vacuum them up. Ick!

  25. Oh man Kim, that’s just plain nasty! lol

  26. I don’t mind the occasional daddy long legs, but that’s just… well… shudder…

    I have never been so thankful for my concrete foundation.

    …shudder…

  27. MamaArcher says:

    you are so brave!!! my skin is crawling just reading that!!! YIKES!

  28. Mrs Mecomber says:

    I am going to have nightmares for months– til hard winter sets in here.

    YUK!!!

    We get these black hairy spiders that love damp basements(about the size of a dime, but some get up to the size of a quarter). They scuttle up the forced-air furnace ducting from the basement and like to crawl in warm beds. Their bites are nasty. HATE THEM! Daddy LongLegs aren’t toooo bad, but mounds of them? Yik!!!

  29. Ughhhhhh! So what did you do with all the daddy long legs? You disposed of them before they could escape, didn’t you??? I remember vacuuming up the yellowjackets in Pateros. Let me rephrase that. I remember MOM vacuuming up the yellowjackets in Pateros. If you have an inkling of the thought that I would do it, you are wrong, wrong, wrong! Getting stung was bad enough! I didn’t know that daddy long legs congregated. Thank you for posting the directions on how to get rid of them. If this ever happens to me, I will know how to exterminate them!

  30. Bleck!!! Double BLECK!!! That gives me the willies just reading it!! I’m definitely a wimp and would have to move north for the summer if such a thing happened around our parts. AGGGHHH! The thought raises my blood pressure to dangerously high levels.

    And, to think I was complaining to my husband about the ant invasion that threatens to destroy our very way of life at the moment. Give me ants any day over creepy crawly arachnids!

    -deep shivers up and down the spine!… did I mention BLECK!! –

  31. HomemakerAng says:

    Now wait just a minute SPIDER WOMAN… It seems I recall you HAVE A PET TRANTULA!!! AHEM!!! you cant be to scared of spiders 🙂

    Now, me on the other hand…

Don't just think it: say it!

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