Lawn chair spins scary tale

Black widow spider shows up in Kenai

Posted: Tuesday, May 03, 2005

 

  Zeb Brophy of Kenai was quite surprised to find a black widow spider in some lawn furniture he purchased recently. Photo courtesy of Zeb Brophy

Zeb Brophy of Kenai was quite surprised to find a black widow spider in some lawn furniture he purchased recently.

Photo courtesy of Zeb Brophy

When Zeb Brophy was growing up in California, he used to seek out and collect black widow spiders. After he moved to Alaska, the Kenai man figured his days as a deadly spider collector were over.

Not quite.

Brophy recently had a brush with one of the distinctive arachnids when a friend of his began unpacking some lawn furniture Brophy bought for an early summer barbecue.

After his friend spotted the spider, Brophy said he went over for a closer look.

"I was like, 'Dang!'" he said Saturday.

Brophy was able to easily identify it as a black widow by the hallmark hourglass-shaped red markings on its belly.

Black widows are considered deadly, but normally do not produce enough venom to kill adult humans. However, young children, the elderly and people who are sick can be severely injured if bitten.

Brophy has a 2-year-old daughter, so he decided the best thing to do was get rid of the spider before it somehow got loose again.

"I burned it when we had the barbecue," he said.

Since the spiders are not native to Alaska, Brophy speculated it must have slipped into the state when the lawn furniture was shipped to Alaska.

He said he contacted the store where he bought the furniture, and they told him they hadn't had any other reports of the spiders.

Brophy said he doesn't think there's a black widow infestation on the Kenai Peninsula, but he said he's happy to have gotten rid of the first one he's seen here.

"They could probably survive up in the attic or somewhere, which wouldn't be good," he said.



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