Now that summer is here, the bugs are back and for some kids, bugs bring terror.

My grandchildren are all afraid of spiders. Not monsters, ghosts or bears, just spiders. I wish they had my aversion to mice, bats and snakes, but they think mice are cute, bats are fascinating and snakes are just slithery. When they come to the cottage, I wait for the scream that inevitably is followed by one of them running inside because they've seen a spider. It's always a humungous one too.

Every spring, I religiously sweep the walls inside the cottage for webs. Taking down spider webs outside is a weekly ritual and even with this diligence, there is still a raft of them, having propagated overnight, waiting to haunt my grandchildren. Having had a mouse scamper over my legs as I slept one summer night, I can understand a phobia about mice, but I confess I have little sympathy for a fear of innocent spiders.

Gail of Niagara-on-the-Lake has a grand-daughter who is terrified of bees and refuses to go outside if there's even the shadow of a bee wing in the garden. "Chelsea's fear is just all-consuming and irrational," Gail says, "and as much as I reason with her and explain that bees won't hurt her unless she provokes them, she cannot be cajoled into coming outside."

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