This unfriendly arachnid was an unwelcome visitor in a Postmedia reporter’s home on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019.
Anna Junker / Postmedia
I bought a plant and ended up with a nasty house guest. On Wednesday night after arriving home from work, I planned to kick back and relax on the couch. Those plans quickly went awry when I noticed a large black figure floating in the air by my newly purchased plant.The figure, it turns out, was a spider about five centimetres long. Now, readers should note I understand the usefulness of spiders. I would like to see them live, but judging by the size and upon closer — and highly cautious — inspection of the spider, dubbed Harry, it was decided Harry was not going to live to see another day.A closer look at Harry showed that he had a nice black figure and a wonderful bright red spot on his abdomen. So of course, my worst fears for a spider encounter materialized and I was pacing back and forth thinking, “Oh my god, I have a black widow in my apartment!”After frantically messaging my family in Calgary — this was my first spider emergency after moving to Edmonton on my own — and taking to Twitter for advice, I knew Harry needed to die and with a lot of force. Toilet paper and a flush down the toilet or a shoe in hand and a wild smacking was not going to cut it. I needed to make sure Harry was good and dead.I found a pile of old yearbooks and dropped them on top of Harry. He didn’t know what hit him.I notified the plant shop where I purchased my snake plant along with a photo of Harry and they, in turn, notified Pete Heule, the bug expert at the Royal Alberta Museum to try to officially identify Harry.Heule told the store he believes Harry is a juvenile black widow. And it turns out, Harry is not a he, but rather a she.He said that the spiders are venomous but “not to be alarmed” as they only bite if they are squished and only females with legs longer than an inch can pierce the skin. Oh good.My plant is now wrapped up in plastic in quarantine to make sure no other creepy crawlers emerge from its leaves. Harry is in the trash and as for myself, I won’t be sleeping for at least a firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter.com/JunkerAnnaListen to our Canadian news podcast