DEAR ABBY: As a longtime postal carrier, I found the letter you printed from the carrier in Las Vegas interesting and frightening. I, too, find spiders in mailboxes. Sometimes I shoo them out; sometimes they run and hide. When they're black widows, I usually try to squish them. But I never want my customers to spray poisons into or around their mailboxes!
Once a poison has been applied to the mailbox, it will be transferred not only to the letters placed inside but also to the hands that retrieve them and the nose that inhales while the person is standing at the mailbox.
Furthermore, spiders are not easy to poison. The spray has to land on the spider to be effective. I have seen people drench their mailboxes with spray because harmless ants have used it as a temporary shelter. (The ants would have moved on in a few days.) However, the TV Guide the family will be handling the entire week is now soaked in poison.
Please warn readers to look inside their mailboxes before reaching in. It's a safer way to avoid contact with spiders, and it's simpler. -- SUSAN S., NORTH HIGHLANDS, CALIF.
DEAR SUSAN: Call me an arachnophobe, but if I saw a black widow spider, my first reaction would be to call an exterminator. However, I have heard from several other mail carriers, and all echoed your sentiments.
DEAR ABBY: You don't need to use bug spray in the mailbox. A mothball in the mailbox will keep ALL the critters out! -- JANET L., BOWLING GREEN, MO.
DEAR JANET L.: I'm passing along your remedy, but if those who decide to try it have sensitivity to mothballs, I urge them to think twice and consult their physician first. (And please remember to ask your postal carrier if he or she is allergic.)