SEATTLE — There was a time Woodland Park Zookeeper Sue Andersen didn't get excited about spiders.
"I was terrified," she said.
But her job at the Woodland Park Zoo changed her mind. Andersen works with spiders as big as tarantulas and as small as leaf spiders. Now she thinks it's kind of funny when this time of year rolls around.
"We are infested with spiders. They're everywhere. They are coming in our houses. They are in our gardens. They're taking over," she laughed about the comments she hears.
But Andersen said the spiders we're seeing now have likely been around us for a long time but are only now more visible because they're looking for mates.
"Right now the females are just about to lay their eggs and so they are big, their abdomens are full of eggs, they are much more noticeable in the house," she said. "The males are smaller. Their job is to go around and find a female, to pluck on the web and ask the females if they can come up and approach them for a date."
For Andersen, now is as good a time as any to learn to appreciate the hard work spiders do absolutely free, especially pest control that reduces disease and helps farmers.
She suggests putting harmless house spiders in an attic area, instead of throwing them outside, which she calls "outer space" for them.
"The more you find out about the spiders, the more you'll find out that they are not the evil villains that most people think they are. They really are some of our best friends," Andersen said.