Disclaimer: I am a veterinarian and my 2.5 acre property is Wildlife Habitat certified thru Oklahoma Dept of Wildlife's non-game division. You take steps to plant wildlife friendly plants, provide cover and water and food sources and limit chemical use. So that is my leaning on this issue that has reared its head here in The Womens (pun also intended).
I grew up in Houston and was always grossed out by the HUGE coockroaches we had to deal with down there (they'd fly across the room sometimes, and I once had one crawl across my face because it was on my hairbrush (I did not know that at the time). When I went to brush my hair, it took the express route across my face. MAJOR freak-out. Nor did I relish finding a 3 cm long cockroach in my panties one morning as I picked them up to put them on. (yes we had exterminators... roaches will inherit the earth, I imagine, they are that tough)
So I can see how some critters gross some people out.
Here's what I did as a teenager about this mild phobia: I got books (field guides) on insects, snakes, and so forth and learned more about them. It helped me "understand" them. I am currently reading Parasite Rex about the fascinating lifecycles of the parasite world (Yes I would kill parsites in myself or family. I'm not THAT weird!)
So, read up on snakes and spiders (altho they are not an insect-- they're arachnids-- they are in most insect field guide books) and you may be less freaked out by them. Hopefully you'll be fascinated and more understanding of them.
I ended up getting a zoology degree and then my DVM. I have a turtle tattoo. I thought about a snake one, maybe a pretty corn snake, but thought about people's revulsion to snakes in general with its historical and cultural baggage.
I still get huge creepy-crawly feelings when I find an occaisional 6 inch (no exaggeration) centipede (which can inflict a bite if handled, but is not permission to kill them, please) in my house, but I put a clear tupperware container on them, slide a manila folder under it and the centipede, and return the beast back outside. (shudder!!)
We have never had a mouse or rat "problem". I leave that to the snakes and hawks to take care of. My neighbor, an ex-cop, found a MOUSE in his sugar bowl and here is how he dispatched it: he threw the sugar bowl and the mouse in a trash can and SHOT the mouse. SAD, huh?
Live and let life, please :-) Arm yourself with info. You'll be fine and your habitat will be richer as a result. Worry more about not getting killed on your training rides or on your way to Wal Mart!
PS I do kill fleas and ticks in my profession and on my 5 animals here at home. And bacteria and protozoa. I woud likely kill cockroaches that came in my home here, but they are not found here in OK.
PS again- When I was 17, one of my very first tasks as an assistant in a vet clinic in Houston required me to help the DVM do a hand breeding of two Basset Hounds. We went outside to accomplish this. My job was to be calm and quiet while restraining the female, so as to to not, um, distract the male. Guess what crawled across my foot at just the critical time? I about bit my toungue off suppressing a scream, but I survived and the breeding was successful!
Peace. I am not mad at anyone. ST is great!