Q: I have horses and when I go to tend them early in the morning I wear a small flashlight on my forehead. Recently I noticed tiny jeweled reflections in the grass near where I worked. It was not dew, it was tiny spiders. The light reflected in their eyes! Have you ever heard of this?
A: My friend John Lewis once fascinated a group of 4-H’ers when he announced that his greatest talent was the ability to smell spiders. He led them into a front lawn after dark and casually held a flashlight near his temple. “I smell one!”, he exclaimed as he swept the light over the grass. “It’s over here – a real stinky one! Can’t you smell it?” Sure enough, his flashlight pinpointed a small spider hiding in the grass. The kids were mesmerized, inhaling deeply the night air trying to locate a spider themselves.
Of course, it’s all about reflected light. When a source of light is near your head it reflects light from the “eyes” of nearby spiders. If the flashlight is not near your head, you won’t see the sparkles. The spiders are harmless, but be aware that you and your horses are not alone in the barn!