Autumn is just weeks away, and all anyone can talk about is the impending joy of pumpkin spiced lattes and crunching through golden leaves while wearing cosy thick-knit jumpers.
Meanwhile, Im here to remind you that the Season of the Spider is nigh, and there are some bloody big beasts out there preparing to make you jump right out of your snuggly bed socks.
But why are they suddenly scuttling into our homes like a drunken fresher wandering into the wrong halls of residence? Why arent they happy lurking inside an upturned flower pot or the corner of the shed as they appeared to be in the summer months?
Well, I hate to break it to you, but spiders are currently experiencing the mega horn and are looking to spurt out a different kind of web if you catch my drift.
Yup, from around early September to about mid-October, its spider mating season, and these eight legged creepers are looking to get jiggy with each all over the show. Maybe even deep inside those nice, fluffy slippers you were saving for the first sparkle of frost.
UNILAD contacted ecological consultant, educator and spider expert Lawrence Bee from the British Arachnological Society. I warn you now, what he has had to say has chilled me to the bone.
According Mr Bee, it isnt that these monster spiders are suddenly creeping into our homes after living in the garden. Like many a classic horror movie, theyve actually been in the house all along, and we just havent seen them.
Indeed, only about five per cent of the spiders you find in your house have ever set foot outside. According to Mr Bee, the large, sexually mature male spiders currently stomping their way across our bedroom floors usually remain hidden away in various nooks and crannies.
Mr Bee told UNILAD how these permanent guests are now in search of amore :
They arent going inside houses. These spiders that were seeing in houses at the moment have been in the house all year round and they spend their lives within the house environment.
The reason that were seeing them around at the moment is that mature males are now walking around. Its their mating season so theyre walking around looking for females to be mating with.
So people say, oh were getting lots coming in from outside. Well, theyre not. Theyre there all the time. And if they put them outside, they just come back in again because thats their habitat. Thats where they live.
Mr Bee also dispelled myths around the idea that spiders are bigger around this time of year. Again, there are always big uns out there, but this is the season when they run buck wild.
According to Mr Bee – who co-authored the book Britains Spiders: A Field Guide – the spiders about to do a lap of your living room carpet can indeed get rather large, with the bigger boys getting up to around 5 cm in total size, including leg span.
Somewhat touchingly (?) spiders will only pair up with one mate each season; arguably the creepiest and most un-erotic equivalent of the holiday romance.
The male spider will stick around within the vicinity of the female until the eggs hatch in a bid to keep any other males from getting their leg(s) over.
Mr Bee highlighted it is the males you will likely come into contact with:
Its just the males that are wandering round. I think people forget that theyre not getting any bigger in size, theyre usually quite large. Males usually have longer legs as theyre moving around more.
When the male finds the female, they mate and the male will stay with the female in her web just so they can make sure there arent any more males trying to mate as well.
Mr Bee was kind enough to freak me out forever by revealing how spider babies will sometimes eat their own mother for their first meal, with the mum feeling their job is done. Possibly the most gruesome metaphor ever for having your life energy sapped by your kids.
So what can we do to keep these randy arachnids from using our homes as their dirty weekend getaways? Im afraid it isnt quite as simple as chucking their Barry White CDs out of the window.
According to Mr Bee, there really isnt any scientifically proven way to stop spiders stomping around your house come spider season:
Theres been various people whove said theyve put horse chestnuts or conkers on the windowsill, or other things.
But none of these have been proved scientifically to prevent spiders. Theres nothing you can do really to clear them out, basically. They can crawl in through air bricks and that sort of thing, but its something weve got to live with Im afraid.
If it makes you feel better – and it has made me feel a bit more secure – keeping your house clean and tidy is widely regarded to be a good way to cut down on regular spider shocks.
According to the pest prevention website Rentokill, regular vacuuming and removing noticeable webs can help to stop spiders feeling quite so at home.
In recent years Ive become – marginally – better at dealing with spiders, and have advanced beyond the stage of simply shrieking at them to go away. However, I still struggle to shoo them out of my house without creating a massive amount of fuss.
I certainly do not like cupping my hands over them and feeling their spindly little feet tickling the inside of my palms. And, as important part of the ecosystem – and clever little critters – you should never, ever just squish them.
Mr Bee told UNILAD:
The simplest way is to just put a cup or a glass over the spider, and slide a card underneath. And then youve got it contained within the container. And then just take it outside and release it outside.
Theres no guarantee its not going to come back in again.
Sealing off gaps in doors and the edges of windows has been reported by some pest control experts to stop spiders from getting back in, but this is of course no guarantee. Especially when you realise house spiders view your home to be just as much theRead More – Source