Friday, January 7, 2011

The Spidey War

No, it's not really about our favourite Spidey, but my topic is not far off at all.

It's about the frickin' spiders that have taken up residence in the hooks and crannies of the steel railings surrounding my balcony. It's not their fault that they're there. I get it - nature was here, is here and will be here long after humans are exterminated (no animal/insect/whatever will miss us, that's for sure) and so, I have full respect for them. It's just that I'm not going to sit there and allow my unit to be overtaken by their offspring.

A few days ago, I was working on my assignment using my laptop when I saw something scurry past behind it. A quick deduction led me to think it was a small spider. And yes, it was. OK, that was fine. It is summer now after all, and we get a higher activity level from insects. It hid behind my stack of novels, and I had to make sure I squashed it with the tissue without leaving any mark on those pristine books. Oh, the pain if there was a mark on my new books!! I did succeed, to my astonishment. 

But 2 days later, as I was laying out my clothes on the armchair for work the next day, I spotted a strange mark on the beige fabric. It's amazing how our senses are quick at discerning things like that, because my 'spidey' senses told me that I needed to get it checked out. As I peered closer, I saw the unmistakable small form of legs. A flurry of tissues and some missed hits later (the spider was almost camouflaged by that beige armchair, for cryin' out loud!), I snared my next victim in an endearing crush. Ah, the satisfaction.

I realised, though, that I was not going to see the last of these critters. They were the babies, so they would keep coming as Papa and Mama Spidey continued copulating outside on my balcony. I knew I had to do something. As I flung open my blinds fully under the scorching sun, I realised to my horror that my balcony had become a scene from a cheap sci-fi movie. The morning sun rays shed a different light to what I could see whenever I came home after work in the dusk. There were cobwebs everywhere. Just ... hanging around ominously. There was even a cobweb hanging across the 2 panels of my balcony, which would be utterly destroyed when the balcony door slid open.

My skin tingled uncontrollably with disgust. I swung open my laptop and started to google furiously for a solution. Last year, I tried to mortein-fy the biggest spider I had ever seen to death hiding in one of the nooks, and fled the scene literally screaming. Judging from the scenario before my eyes, I was now sure it hadn't died. No, not even in a coma, even though I emptied almost half a can on it.

So, some herbal remedies were suggested on various websites, and their information corroborated with each other. Apparently, spiders taste with their legs so if you spray stuffs which they hate on the surfaces they hang out on, they'll leave. They do not like acidic or citrus stuffs (lemon, lime), tea tree and lavender. Well, I could deal with that! So, I went off to The Reject Shop yesterday and grabbed a $2 spray bottle. Then I went to a health shop and got myself a bottle of combined tea tree/lavender essential oils. It smelt really piercing, you felt as if it went straight up to your brain in an instant. The bottle said that it was good for colds, and that was when I went, "Ahh..."

Anyway, I got home and mixed it with some water. I sprayed tons around the inside of my unit near the balcony, in case any silly critters wanted to run in for shelter from the impending doom I was about to launch outside. I gloved up, masked up, and switched on my vacuum cleaner. First, the cobwebs had to go. It was disgusting. I saw that big critter surface from its favourite hiding place in confusion as I neared it with my vacuum hose, but I decided against having that thing in my vacuum bag. It was a spine-tingling thought.

Even with a vacuum, I couldn't get all the cobwebs. Some were made of really 'awesome high quality', and couldn't be utterly destroyed. But well, all that was left of them were strips along the steel rods. No more cobweb formations.

I couldn't wait to test my homemade repellent. Closing the door behind me, I stood on that small balcony and started spraying like a maniac. I was literally dosing the balcony with so much water that a pool could almost be formed beneath my feet. And strange enough, I spied more and more spiders coming out from wherever they were hiding. I ran back into the unit, slammed the balcony door shut and peered to observe from behind the glass. 

The spider population was actually more than I had anticipated. I saw about 8-10 of them in all, and some baby ones speeding around. I could tell they were generally confused and probably disgusted from that strong odor of tea tree/lavender on the surfaces. I read online that they would leave and not come back because they absolutely hated such tastes.

So, I'm not sure if I succeeded honestly. I'll be doing the spraying thing once every day for the whole of summer really. I totally detest summer. I get eczema attacks, spidey invasions and stupid flies buzzing around me. During the span of my war against the spideys, 2 gigantic flies came zooming into my air-conditioned unit and I was close to swearing every dirtiest word I knew because I was creeped out, still trying to make sure spideys didn't come in, and I didn't need 2 flies which knew how to come in, but didn't know their way out (as usual).

I threw out my vacuum bag and emptied the contents from my vacuum flask into the common wheelie bins downstairs. I was absolutely not going to let any of these things remain in my unit. I wanted a good night's sleep, not dreading the prospect of some critter crawling out again.

Anyway, after the whole episode was over, I took a long shower and washed my head with rigour. Made myself a nice cuppa tea and continued observing these spideys walking around confused. I had soaked their entire environment with a whole flask of nice-smelling odours, so that was much nicer for me rather than a whole can of Mortein. I was tempted to whip it out and kill off the spiders, but from what I experienced, that didn't necessarily complete the job. The most effective method is to crush them yourself, and I know I definitely don't want to do that. My skin's ting-a-ling-a-ling already.

I continued working on my assignment till 1am, and went off to sleep. It was a fitful one, and it was so fitful that I woke up slightly later than I should, and had to rush off to work tumbling over myself.


At least it's the weekend soon!

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