Wyoming Littles: First-Graders Discuss Their Strategies To Get Rid Of Spiders

From sucking them into a vacuum to smashing them with a hammer, first graders from Tongue River Elementary School in Ranchester, Wyoming told Cowboy State Daily their strategies for getting rid of spiders.

Clair McFarland

January 06, 20238 min read

Wyoming littles 1 5 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

The moms of the world are in a mortal feud with spiders, according to the first graders of Tongue River Elementary School in Ranchester, Wyoming.   

Spider spray, heavy boots, paper towels and toilets are just a few of the deadly devices moms use to kill spiders – sometimes at a child’s request, sometimes heedless of life and mercy.   

‘She Fell In Love With A Tarantula’  

Connor, a first grader in Mrs. Karla Hill’s class, said his mom in the past has coated sticky-strip bug traps with spider-killing spray and hung them from the ceiling.   

She even hung a few above Connor’s bed.   

“Seven of them,” Connor said. “And then five for my brother – for our age.”  

The sticky traps collected some spiders, which Connor tried to scrape off with a scraper but accidentally ended up with mushy spider gravy.   

“I hate it. It’s gross – gross like garbage,” Connor specified. “So that’s why I scrape them off. But my mom and my dad like picking them off. I don’t know why.”   

Connor said although his mom is at war with spiders, she might secretly like them. Well – at least one.  

“She fell in love with a tarantula; a baby, itty-bitty tarantula,” he said, recalling a time when his mother met the day care’s pet spider.   

If Connor’s mother turns pro-spider and adopts a tarantula, Connor said he’ll hold it, but will put his work gloves on first.   

Give It A Swirlie!  

Connor’s classmate Luke told Cowboy State Daily that when he and his family find spiders in the bathroom, they put them in the tub and wash them down the drain.   

Claire, another classmate, concurred, saying she likes to flush them down the toilet.   

Connor warned that there are bugs that can walk on water. He demonstrated a water-skipper’s sidestep for his classmates.   

Those are water bugs, Connor’s classmate Jetta explained.   

Treydon, a first-grader in Mrs. Molly Martoglio’s class, said the killing may have to come before the flushing.   

Spiders flock to his basement, Treydon said. “And we get a tissue, and get a shoe, and we smash it down, and we chuck it in the toilet.”   

Treydon’s classmate Genevieve said she does the same.   

Another classmate, Tishie, said spiders deserve the toilet.   

“Yeah, give it a swirlie!” she said with glee.   

Tishie recalled an incident in which a spider crawled into her hands, which she allowed because she was wearing gloves. But before long she decided to thrash wildly and fling the spider into the air.   

Spiders can sometimes be cannibals, Tishie warned. Some are venomous and some “are NOT venom,” she said.   

‘All The Blood And Stuff’  

Layus, another first-grade student, said his mom likes to grab his dad’s heaviest boot to squish spiders.   

“And I have to grab it with the paper towel – all the blood and stuff – I don’t like it,” said Layus, shaking his head solemnly.   

Layus’ classmate Braylee said that, like so many of her peers, she grabs the spider up in toilet paper and flushes it down the toilet. And she said she’s very good at it, making a squishing motion with her hands.   


Few things are creepier than losing a spider in your house or clothing and never finding it again.   

It happened to Layus. He was downstairs monkeying around one time when he saw a spider crawling on his bed. He looked again and – gone.   

First-grader Chanel’s mom kept a spider in the corner once, letting it stay there in a cordial truce.   

“But when we slept, we woke up, and when we looked in the corner, the spider was gone,” said Chanel. “It left some webs in the corner.”  

Something similar happened to Zane, another first-grader. He had a spider in a bowl once – and it escaped. He never found it. But he wishes it well because, unlike Zane’s mom and sister, he likes spiders.   

‘Let Them Be!’  

A few Tongue River first-graders really like spiders, actually.   

Bentley is one of them.   

“I think spiders are cool and they actually keep us alive,” Bentley said, noting how spiders eat pest bugs that are bad for fruits and vegetables.   

First-grader Selena agreed.   

“I usually just let them be – let them be!” said Selena. “So, they can have a nice life and eat all my bugs.”  

Wasps are a horror beyond what spider-haters can imagine, she explained.   

Genevieve’s mom does not like spiders because they crawl in her bed. So she uses spider spray to keep them out of the house, or she throws them away.   

“But I’d say, ‘No, mom, don’t throw them away! Throw them outside! They’re just too cute.’ And I want one for a pet,” Genevieve said.   

First-grader Alice’s mom loves spiders. But Alice’s dad does not. It’s very important not to let Alice’s dad be in charge of pet spiders, said Alice.   

Kyler, another first grader, said he lets spiders crawl onto his hands and gently places them outside.   

Spider Family  

Ivy, Alice’s classmate, said she loves to see spiders but will kill one if it surprises her. Otherwise, it’s important to let them stay with their families.   

“Daddy longlegs find mommy longlegs, and they have baby longlegs,” Ivy explained. “Then it grows up to be a girl or a boy – and be a daddy longlegs or mommy longlegs!”  

Ivy’s classmate Greyden said he’s seen just such a spider family up in a tree. But when the spiders get in the house, he and his family put them in a bucket and douse them with spider spray.   

Iris, Ivy’s twin sister, said they usually try to let daddy longlegs live if they can help it.   

Official Spider Killer  

With an apologetic glance, Selena’s classmate Mason said he is the designated spider killer of his household and even kills spider eggs. His favorite method is to smack them with a fly swatter.   

Cayden, another classmate, says he’s hit a spider with a hammer at his house. But you can’t do that when a spider is on a window. In that case, you’ve got to squeeze them into a paper towel.   

“I think that’s disgusting,” said Selena.   

Cayden said that when it is appropriate to use a hammer, his aim is good.  

Bombs, Traps, Poisons  

At first-grader Abby’s house, they deploy spider bombs.   

“That’s a countdown bomb you can leave anywhere and then it shoots out poison to kill the spider,” said Abby, adding that everyone has to get out of the house before the bomb goes off. “It could kill you. It shoots poison out.”   

Her classmate Grady said his mom uses sticky traps to catch spiders.   

Another classmate, Scarlet, said her family lines the garage door with spider spray because there are cracks in the garage. Sometimes even that doesn’t stop them, and then the whole family has to get involved in the killing.   

First-grader Winston’s family does the same.   

Aili doesn’t have a spider problem at her house at all, but if they leave food on the floor they get ants. And that’s what vacuum cleaners are for.   

“We use the vacuum and suck them up,” said Aili.   

A Peaceful Place  

Andee, also a first-grader, said her mom and sisters are the usual spider killers.   

“I only kill spiders sometimes,” she said. 

Even then, Andee said, they try not to kill spiders when they’re outside.   

Andee’s classmate Ashley said she doesn’t really have a spider problem at her house.   

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter