Pholcus phalangioides.

My wife and I care for a medium sized colony of these lovely creatures in our home, nurturing their existence, encouraging them to breed and flourish in air conditioned comfort, safe from threatening prey.

Their common name is Daddy Long Legs.

And no, it's not a breeding colony.


If it was I'd be in breach of multiple sections of the Animal Welfare Act.

Especially those which state "thou shalt not suck animals from their homes with a powerful vacuum device, into a dust filled sack".

Occasionally, I circle the room with the vacuum cleaner, sucking up webs and spiders.

I kid myself that perhaps they survive the experience and I am merely relocating them.

I accept though, that on a comparative scale, if your loved one was sucked backwards into the screaming vortex of a giant pipe's black hole and shot into a sealed bag of oxygen-less dust ... well, there would be a few questions asked.

Of late, pholcus phalangioides seems to be particularly prevalent.

Perhaps, like many of us, they have family staying over the summer holidays.

Perhaps, like us, they occasionally overindulge in summer festivities, because one fell off the ceiling the other night and landed in our bed.


Time for a cull, I decided.

Co-habitating with someone who is not fond of killing any living thing makes hoovering up spiders interesting.

And so I didn't quite finish the job - in fact I only managed to clear one corner of the room before it was suggested I put the vacuum cleaner pipe down and step away from the Electrolux.

(Remind me to tell you about the time we moved house and I spent a day looking for the second half of the vacuum cleaner hose pipe, which I eventually found retracted inside the first half).

It wasn't until vespula vulgaris reared its ugly head that I thought any more about pholcus phalangioides.
Vespula vulgaris - the common wasp.

In a stroke of awesome bad luck, 24 hours after the itching and swelling had subsided from a bee sting on my foot, I walked into a wasps' nest.

The first sting was on my shin.

Then came the burning sensation inside my shorts.

In the ensuing panic, as I dropped my pants, the wasp still inside, I was stung four times.
(The answer to the question you are asking yourself is, luckily, "no".)

The wasp then flew out from under my shorts, which were by now on the ground, and shot directly at me, and then at my wife, who had come to the back door to rescue me.

And then, like a hang glider caught in a warm air current, the wasp rose up the side of our house and hit a Daddy Long Legs spider web.

It never left.

For four days it felt like I had been kicked in the shin.

Each of the other bites varied in discomfort, which suggests it was the one wasp, and the most venomous sting was the first.

And yes, the vacuum cleaner is still in the cupboard.