Garrett: Spider invasion proves to be a headache


I keep a .357 magnum revolver next to my bed, just in case.

“Just in case” can mean a lot of things. A hopped-up-on-meth intruder who wants to kidnap me at 2 a.m., a rogue grizzly bear stopping by for supper, you name it.

More and more, I’m concerned that I’m going to have to use it to combat spiders.

First they started marching in two-by-two, as if I were some modern-day Noah and the floods were coming. Then they started marching in three-by-three and four-by-four . . . and more. It’s like they’re procreating in the dark corners of our master suite. And the colder it gets outside, the more of them there are inside.

They’re getting bigger, too. At first I thought it was just my imagination. I tried measuring a couple of them by laying down a quarter, but it’s hard to measure a smooshed spider. Take my word for it, though: they’re big. They’re large, they’re hairy and they have red eyes and sharp fangs.

Okay, I made up that last part. But they might as well have. I had a bad experience with a spider as a child. I thought it was a cricket and was trying to poke it with a bottle opener, and it bit me. My mother, as I recall, stood and giggled until I let out a blood-curdling scream and she decided I was dying, and rushed me to the Scott County Hospital emergency room (where I spent a lot of time as a kid because of spiders, lawn darts, rock fights with siblings, and et cetera).

So, no, I don’t like spiders. I know there are only two kinds of “bad” spiders in East Tennessee: black widows and brown recluses. And here’s the thing: I spend a lot of time trying to convince people to leave snakes alone because there are only two kinds of them that are bad, too: copperheads and rattlesnakes. I go out of my way to leave the snakes alone but I’ll squash a spider quicker than you can say “arachnophobia.”

These spiders that are invading my bedroom aren’t black widows, but they might be widow-makers. Because one of these times when I’m sitting in the bathroom at 3 a.m. in a sleep-induced stupor and a big, hairy, black spider the size of my big toe scurries across my foot is probably going to be the last time for me. Maybe I’ll die on the spot, or maybe I’ll shoot my foot off with the .357. Either way, my future is bleak.

The “experts” say to spray down the inside of your house with peppermint oil to keep spiders at bay. Supposedly, they can’t tolerate the smell of peppermint. But that, in the words of Joe Biden, is “a bunch of stuff.” Because I have peppermint growing on either side of an exterior door leading into the bedroom and that stuff is stopping spiders like a sieve stops a flowing river.

So after I dismissed the “expert” advice, I turned to Google and was led to a website called But I’m here to tell you that house wives don’t know anything about ridding a house of spiders. Among five bullet points under the heading “Keep spiders from coming indoors” was this nugget: “Wash your bananas.”

I don’t know how you all buy your bananas, but we buy ours by the bunch, not by the truck-load. I’m pretty sure the 8,000 spiders that have made my bedroom their own didn’t sneak in on that cluster of fruit that my wife used to make banana pudding for our middle school basketball potluck on Sunday.

Then I stumbled onto another website — — that offered, for the special low price of $39.00 (plus shipping and handling), a “spider control kit.” But the website offers a pro tip: “Concentrated insecticides do not offer an instant kill or knockdown. Instead, they have a slower kill but they leave behind a long lasting residual to offer lasting control.” Translation: “There’s a reason we call our high-dollar kit a ‘spider control kit’ rather than a ‘spider elimination kit.’” Sorry, I’m not wanting to “control” my spiders. I’m wanting to send them to that giant cobweb in the sky.

As I was sitting on the bed researching these options, one of the giant, hairy spiders came scurrying across the bedspread. At which point I decided on a course of action:

I am going to calmly carry the kids to the neighbor’s house, remove the most sentimental belongings from the house, and fill up a few cans of gasoline.

Then I’m going to torch the joint and just be done with it.

Ben Garrett is Independent Herald editor. Contact him at Follow him on Twitter, @benwgarrett.