Two Year Update


Jun 26, 2012
I received some criticism almost two years ago when I posted about my experience with what I believed at the time to be the loss of my tarantula collection due to insecticide exposure. I just wanted to post a quick update for those who might be interested.

Our Grammostola rosea is just fine and as unremarkable as always. We have had many inverts - feeder insects, native arachnids, etc. - pass through our house at this point and have not had any more random deaths. This includes various species of roaches, isopods, Solifugids, vinegaroons, bark scorpions, native tarantulas, various jumping spiders, widows, ant queens, mantids and Scolopendra. Many of these had relatively short stays and either went to my place of work at the time or to a handful of other collectors I met through that job. None have had any issues while living with us. We've also maintained hermit crabs for 3+ years with only one death out of 8 animals, and this was days after bringing the animal home.

Furthermore - and I am not condoning this, I think it is irresponsible but was not involved in the decision - at my past place of work the same insecticide company as my apartment uses was spraying chemicals directly underneath a display of 20+ arachnids. These animals, mostly adult tarantulas, have been dealing with this direct monthly insecticide treatment for at least 5 years and none of the collection have ever shown ill effects. I spoke out against this and was ignored, that's not the point of the thread.

I found out from new staff that the previous apartment staff allowed tenants to opt out of pesticide treatment without providing a reason and very few units were being treated. If either lock was engaged, the company would move on and not bother treating a unit. So the same chemicals had no effect on a large collection of tarantulas who were directly exposed, and very few units in my complex were actually being treated with these chemicals. Even for those that were, our unit has an individual air conditioning unit and opens to the outside, not a shared indoor space like a hallway. Other people have kept inverts in my building and have not had any issues. My unit was not treated and never will be so long as I live here.

So in all honesty, I have no idea what happened to my collection. Maybe it was some other source of contamination - like our source of feeder insects, the batch of Eco Earth we used or something more obscure. Maybe we had bad luck or we messed up some part of our husbandry without ever realizing. I supposedly had a downstairs neighbor who for a few months was using stronger chemicals, but my next door neighbor at the time who had 4 arachnids did not experience the same issues. And the deaths started before this neighbor lived below us. We all have neighbors, local farms, mosquito trucks, etc. who use insecticides near our homes without warning us and obviously most of our arachnids are not effected.

I just wanted to clear the air that while I deeply regret losing so many inverts, I may have been wrong about the reason. I'm not heavily involved in keeping arachnids at this point in my life. Honestly I still don't feel entirely comfortable caring for arachnids after that experience. It makes me feel paranoid. I invested a lot of time and care into those animals and whatever happened, I failed them.

I feel hesitant to post this as I do not want to anger anyone or receive more criticism for failing a large number of arachnids I took into my care. I'm not trying to dig up old resentments. I just wanted to post about something I've been thinking about a lot lately, which is basically that I'm no longer sure exactly what happened and I'm doubting my original reasoning.

EDIT: Edited to add that the loss of these tarantula slings ended in 2013. This is not a recent event.
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Oct 21, 2012
Keep on, bad stuff happens to all of us, don't let it discourage you. I myself lost countless tarantulas for various reasons, few of them being my fault, others unidentified or just bad luck. Sometimes you need to just brush it off and accept harsh lesson so you'll know better next time ;)