I am new here and really enjoying this forum.
I have a noble false widow on the widow sill. I really quite like spiders and I have been observing this one for a few days with great delight, because she's the first of her kind I've ever seen for real. Fortunately for the spider and unfortunately for me, it is very much a black flies year: they are flying in by the dozen and head for this specific window - free takeaway meals for my spider several times a day!
But now dead flies are piling up on the sill and it should really be cleaned, which I cannot do without disturbing her web. In addition to this, I have many allergies and I don't want to find out whether I should add spider bites to the list (I like to leave them be in the house, especially as they eat a lot of things I dislike, like black flies, as well as things whose bites and stings I know I am allergic to).
So I'm not sure what the kindest and safest course of action is, here. If I wear Marigold-type gloves, am I safe from bites? If I destroy its web, will the spider leave and go somewhere else, or just make a new web there? (If she goes anywhere else and is found by anyone else but me, it is not safe for her). Should I just try to trap it and put it outside somehow? I thought that, depending on noble false widows' lifespan, I might just get away with waiting until she's dead or gone before cleaning the window - but I could find no information about their lifespans at all.
Any advice/suggestions would be much appreciated!
Does she have a hidey hole that the can retreat to? Often if you make a major disturbance in the web they will bolt for their hole, you could use an inanimate object like wooden spoon, pen, etc., sometimes just a purposeful approach to the web will enough. You usually have to tickle the web very lightly for them to mistake it for prey.
Once she is in her hole (assuming she has one) would you be able to clean the sill with a narrow hoover attachment (taking care not to suck up the spider of course) or a brush?
Their webs are really quite tough and even if significantly damaged, they will rebuild them, or as long as they have cover, they may build a new web in the same place.
Waiting until she dies might be a long game, she might live another year, maybe even two!
If she doesn't have a hiding place on the sill, it's possible that you could introduce something in/behind which she might take cover? E.g. I have a cut-down, cardboard inner tube from a kitchen towel roll (not so smooth as she can't get purchase - thanks to Florin for the tip), a little flattened to make it more "homely & snug" with a female living inside, at the moment she is wedged in a window frame and secures the tube to her surroundings/rebuilds it, if the surrounding web gets damaged. If I'm causing a disturbance around the frame she retreats inside the tube, which can be relocated with her inside. Not very elegant, sure, but you get the gist.
You can, of course, trap her and deposit her outside, but they move surprisingly quickly when they want to. Maybe easier said than done?
If she is happy where she is I'd leave her be (but I don't have any known allergies to contend with), keep an eye out for egg sacs (ball of 'cotton wool', about the size of a pea, take a couple of months to hatch, so no need to panic if you see one) every now & then though, if she is indoors & you can see her retreat. You probably could do without a bunch of spiderlings hatching indoors. If this does happen they can be shoo'd outside easily enough if close to an open window.
Thanks a lot MWJB!
I will try just that - provide a shelter for her (she has no hole to hide in) and hoover around gently. And I will keep an eye out for eggs too.
Sadly that window barely opens but if there was ever any need for that, now that I can hopefully keep the sill clean, then I could arrange ahead of time to have someone quicker (and less allergy-prone) than me to help put her out.
But as long as I can keep her I will!