Expert shares how to cure arachnophobia as spider season looms

Credit: Drusillas Park

As we approach spider season a wildlife park in East Sussex is hoping to help people who are arachnophobes.

Early autumn is known as the time when we can expect to see more of our eight legged friends crawling their way across our carpets, or lurking in the sink.

It is estimated between 3% and 15% of the UK population suffer from a phobia of spiders.

During August and September, Drusillas Park near Alfriston is offering people the chance to overcome their fear, with the park's very own Spiderwoman, Angela Hale.

Lovingly known as Tarangela amongst her colleagues, Angela, who is also the secretary of the British Tarantula Society is running a course that confronts spider phobia.

  • Angela Hale shows you how to handle a house spider

Angela said: “Here in the UK we have over 800 different types of spider, none of which are dangerous to humans.

"On the contrary spiders are actually extremely helpful and harmless creatures, but despite this fact, they instil fear in many and have a terrible reputation.”

“What people don’t always realise is spiders are an integral part of the ecosystem and are working to help us. They eat the insects on your plants but never eat the plants, making them a garden’s greatest ally.

"However, even more importantly, these little wonders consume countless crop-destroying, disease-carrying insects annually saving both livelihoods and lives.”

“There is no good reason to be afraid of spiders. The vast majority of spiders are harmless and extremely beneficial invertebrates. There are no dangerous spiders in the UK.

However millions of perfectly rational people have an irrational fear of them. But spiders don’t deserve such a wicked reputation."

The three and a half hour courses will explore how phobias become stuck in our subconscious mind, as well as how to safely remove unwanted spiders from the house.

Participants will take part in a group session, before they are gradually exposed to the spiders, which are securely held in tanks.

They will also learn about the importance of spiders in our ecosystems, including how to recognise and identify them.

People who attend the course will learn about how phobias become stuck in our minds. Credit: Drusillas Park

Angela Hale added: “I’ve held a few spider phobia courses in the past and we see such wonderful results; everyone that attends leaves their phobia at the door and goes home feeling much more confident and less afraid of spiders.

"They really are more scared of you than you are of them, and would much rather run away.

"Even the big spiders such as tarantulas don’t want to hurt you. They are much more frightened of you.

"They are very docile and quite friendly if you give them a chance.”

  • Watch as ITV Meridian's Charlotte Wilkins tackles her fear of spiders