Australian Indoor Wildlife

In some ways we consider our little patch of heaven to be virtually a wildlife preserve. Everyone else I know sprays chemical around their property with wild abandon. The rule seems to be if it moves… kill it. Ok maybe that is a little extreme but it sort of sums up the general attitude, even of those who would otherwise consider themselves to be environmentalists at heart and love wildlife… as long as it isn’t near them.

I’m not talking about large animals by the way, more the little bugs, creepy crawlies, spiders and the like.

Inside the house I’m ‘careful’ but not paranoid about the bugs. Yes I spray indoors to keep the inevitable incursion of cockroaches under control and feel that there are *very* few if any alive in here… but maintain vigilance just the same. On the other hand I usually allow spiders to share space with us even though I know some of them are quite seriously poisonous and if provoked could give a nasty bite. My view is that in the main I know where the spiders are… in webs… but that if they can survive then they must be eating something and what they eat will be wandering around out of my sight.

Of course I’m really referring to the black ‘window’ spider here. The females spend their lives in their webs doing their thing and are only occasionally visited by males for a quick cuddle and a meal (of the male) so are fairly safe to be left. Now and then we get visited by large wolf spiders, which can be a bit of a worry because of their size, likewise Huntsman spiders can be a concern because of their ability to hide behind such small gaps. It’s quite disconcerting to see something as big as the palm of your hand slip out from behind a picture on a wall for example.

There are dangerous spiders around the garden, but so far they’ve never ventured indoors and those get squashed on sight wherever they are. The most common is the Redback Spider (a close relative of the Black Widow), and I can usually find a few of those for curious visitors ‘on request’. Currently one has taken up residence inside the pool filter housing box, underneath one of the pumps and will have to be dealt with as soon as I remember. 🙂

We never see those indoors though and the only spider that *does* cause some issues is the white tailed spider. The white tail bit has been linked to some ‘interesting’ symptoms, the worst of which is an ongoing necrosis at the site of the bit, though the link has not yet been conclusively proven.

The point of this ramble is that the main diet of the white tail… is the black window spider, and we have a lot of black window spiders! We’ve only ever found two or three white tailed spiders in the house but the visitors have claimed to have killed or removed at least a half dozen in the few weeks they were here. In fact one claimed to have found one crawling on his neck when he woke one night!! When I *do* find them I catch them and throw them out into the garden… I suppose they might find their way back in but then they have to run the gauntlet of the cockroach barrier sprays… but how effective they are against spiders is questionable.

Other than the spiders, there is very little wildlife indoors… that we know about!! We get the occasional cockroach in here, but because all entrance points have been liberally sprayed with barrier pesticides, they are virtually always found on their backs kicking feebly as they die
off. This is not to say we don’t have *some* in here. It’d be a very unusual Australian house if it didn’t have a few lurking in odd spaces.

We do get flies indoors of course… much as I hate the things… but they soon drop out of the air once the fly spray does it’s work. And this of course is what the post is about underneath the descriptive writing… how much damage is done to *us* by this spraying? Yes it kills the flies… and the cockroaches… and whatever might decide to pay us a visit… but what are the effects on humans of these chemicals?

In summer we naturally get more flies than in winter, so use the air spray more. In winter we get cockroaches etc trying to come indoors where it’s war… so the barrier spray is increased. How much of this is absorbed into the system? Is it doing any damage? If so what… and how much?

Can’t say I’m overly concerned, I’m still here and I’m sure there are worse polluting chemicals I’m in daily contact with… but it’d be good to know so that I could modify my behaviour a little… perhaps 🙂

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