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Sunday, December 9 , 2018, 12:21 pm | Fair 66º


Captain’s Log: Spiders and Ants — Oh My!

I discovered, much to my dismay, that an LED desk lamp can function as an ideal nursery for spiders.

Now I apologize if this story sends readers scurrying to every LED lamp in the house to see if a problem is hatching, but maybe it is a good idea.

My lamp has two horizontal rows of about a dozen LED elements on the underside of an arm that can be rotated to give me good lighting on whatever I’m working on.

It turns out, the amount of warmth generated by those combined elements is just right for helping tiny baby spiders to grow quickly. That momma spider was a smart cookie.

I noticed a problem when I saw a couple of tiny spiders crawling across my computer screen.

I know enough about spiders to know babies don’t come one at a time. It is more like dozens at a time.

I went searching and once looking up into the glare of that LED lamp, there was the problem — a tightly woven sagging nest holding a few dozen of the lil guys.

I could see they were all of a size to be looking to get out on their own, and obviously the exodus had begun, so I had to act quickly.

I got a couple of facial tissues, made a clean sweep of the nest (it came off the lamp easily and the critters looked okay), and made a beeline for the backyard to let them go.

Outside the back door, I dropped the tissues, figuring I’d retrieve them later when the spiders went off on their adventures of life. But there was a problem.

There happened to be hundreds of very small ants which had made multiple work lines to and from something the dog had left in her dish.

When the young spiders scurried away from the tissue, they encountered the ants and all hell broke loose.

This is the food chain and there is no “live-and let-live” spirit. It is more like “eat or be eaten” and “eat to live.”

The war was quick and the ants had the upper hand by shear numbers. They have the swarm-and-destroy tactic down pat.

I’m pretty sure there were some little spiders who made it out of the nest before I removed it, as evidenced by the two I found crawling across my computer screen. Consequently, I have a feeling I’m going to be working on this problem for a while here.

At least as they grow they will be easier to see, though harder to catch.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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