Judy Kucharuk: Spidey sense is tingling


I saved a bumblebee the other day. I almost killed it as I tried to scoop it up between a piece of paper and a plastic cup, but in the end I was successful in catching and releasing.

I swear that I heard the lyrics from a Disney movie as I raised it up in the air and removed the cup, allowing it to fly away to live another day.

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Saving the bee was a big deal for me. Full disclosure, I dislike anything flying or crawling: ants, beetles, hornets, wasps, spiders. I don’t necessarily want to kill them, I just don’t want them crawling all over me or even near me.

My fear of creepy crawlies started at a very young age. I remember bath time on the farm when I would fill the tub up and there would be bugs in the water because the water came from the dugout. I would stand in the ankle-deep water and shriek until someone (mom) removed the bugs. I also recall mom putting a capful of bleach in the water to clear up the murkiness and remove the rust colour. Until I moved off the farm and down to Vancouver Island, where we had spring water, my hair had auburn highlights.

Back to the bugs. We had normal size bugs on the farm, but the Island was home to bugs on steroids. The spiders were massive and terrifying, the slugs huge and gross. Let’s not even talk about the snakes.

The first summer we lived there, I got a job as a labourer on a tomato farm. I was supposed to prune the tomato plants that were growing in a large greenhouse. I didn’t really consider that there would be bugs, and I am certain that wasn’t disclosed on the job advertisement, so when I encountered the first abnormally large spider, I was terrified to the point of tears. Day three I handed in my resignation, which, seeing as though I was only 13, consisted of a telephone call to the owner with some excuse about a fictional allergy.

I spent the next three years on the Island constantly checking my shoes for spiders. When we moved to Dawson Creek in 1980, all I could think of is, “It is too cold for bugs to live long enough to get that big.” I was wrong.

I once spotted a spider in my basement that was galloping—yes, galloping—across the concrete. I swear that I heard a clicking noise as it ran. I recall picking up a plastic cooler and throwing it at the spider and then vowing never to return to the basement unless necessary. Where there was one spider, there was a family.

I am glad that I was able to quell my fear enough to save a single bumblebee. I am not certain that it evens up the Karma of me squishing so many bugs over the years, but I would like to think that it helped.

It stands to reason that my future retirement plans do not involve moving to a warmer climate. If a spider can grow to the size of a quarter in Dawson Creek, how big would it grow in Kamloops?

Judy Kucharuk is a community columnist living in Dawson Creek. 

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