As I mentioned in the original piece, I had only one opportunity to capture this magnificent monster because she was dead 90 minutes later.
What kills a deadly insect? If you really don’t want to wonder if it’s dead, you’ve got to be able to kill it so fast it can’t get out of sight and quickly enough so that it can be rendered harmless immediately.
The “1st city”, Sacramento’s original level, is below the water table that flows beneath the the entire area. In that considerable space that’s literally “between hell and high water”, BIG THINGS grow. River/sewer rats the size of cats are not unknown (I chased one down while young and dumb as a member of the Guardian Angels. The patrol thought it was chasing a mutant dog or cat that ran into a building’s roof drainage pipe. The flashlights we carried for patrols after dark needed to be combined for use to be certain we’d see a rat: it hadn’t gone very deep into the pipe even it turned around to face us. I decided to lead the patrol into a little jog for exercise.) What we see more readily in the fall are cockroaches about 2 inches long. These aren’t your average cockroaches which might be 3/4 inch when their biggest. These are too big to be in your apartment unless you answer the door when they knock. The point being I used roach spray and tracked one down on the wall of the apartment complex next to mine. It saw me coming 20 feet away and took off faster than any bug I’ve ever seen. I saw another one and waited for it to walk to me. I hit it with a direct stream of Raid, the best grocery-store roach killer. It ran faster than the first one and got away by going thru a tiny hole in fencing. I hit the next one too but I correctly assumed it could still see me and would avoid me. A good ten minutes and 100 feet later, it stopped moving. It didn’t die on the spot. I hit it and it took off again, albeit slower. It got another 10-15 feet before it started running in a tight circle. I sprayed it until it turned white and it still didn’t stop moving. I never saw it die; by then I was thinking I couldn’t stop one from running up my leg unless I could smash it with the freakin can.
Something killed this Widow that didn’t let her get a single inch from her web. Something was so potent it blistered the exoskeleton on the underside of her abdomen. This stuff had to be strong enough to burn thru human skin. The insides of that spider were probably gone and we’re looking at a black shell.
I found a bottle of DDT in the garage at home when I was a teenager. I touched it and it was wet of the outside. I had enough knowledge to know it was already banned from all uses but not enough to keep me from simply throwing it into the outside trashcan before scrubbing my hand raw. So what kills a deadly insect that’s on the store shelves today? I don’t know but I bet it’s 1000% worse than DDT, which didn’t do anything to my skin. I might prefer the bite; I’ve had two and neither one turned my bones to liquid.