Are you seeing more spiders in your home at the moment?
If it feels like you can't escape them, don't panic - you're not imagining it!
More spiders are coming into our homes at the moment due to the mating season but we shouldn't complain about it, according to an expert.
Professor Adam Hart is a Professor of Science Communication at the University of Gloucestershire and a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society.
He recently did some research studying the phenomenon of "spider season".
He told ITV West Country that people typically notice spiders in their homes in the early autumn because the males are covering a lot more ground to find a female mate, who often make habitat in people's homes.
Professor Hart said: "Late summer and early autumn is mating season for spiders, and during this time, males become much more active and are out in the open more.
"Our homes are also a good habitat for spiders, so they are good places to look for females."
The spiders often squeeze through small cracks and openings to find their way into our homes, but also come in through open windows and doors.
The type of spiders most commonly spotted during this period are house spiders, which are a group of closely related spiders.
They can often be found hiding in piles of clothes or bags on our floor.
He added: "These are the large spiders that we commonly see rushing across the carpet in the evening.
"The males have long gangly legs and pedipalps at the front which they use for mating. In some, the pedipalps are so long they can look almost like extra legs!
One of the largest types of house spider is the Eratigena Atrica which can have a leg span of more than 11cm.
Professor Hart recently led a UK-wide citizen science project alongside the University of Gloucestershire and the Royal Society of Biology asking thousands of people to report spider sightings.
If you aren't a fan of spiders, the good news is that the research shows "spider season" seems to die down considerably by mid-October.
But in the meantime, the advice is not to panic if you see one.
Professor Adam Hart said: "We have very few creatures in the UK that can do us any real harm, and house spiders, although formidable-looking, are not out to hurt us.
"If you trap it in a glass and use a piece of card to seal the glass and deposit the spider outside then great.
"If you can't face that, or your glass isn't big enough, then it might be worth getting one of the 'spider-grabbing' products that close over the spider and let you pop it outside at arm's length."
Although not everyone's favourite creatures, spiders play an incredibly important role in our ecosystem.
He added: "They are very effective predators, keeping all kinds of other creatures under control and helping to increase biodiversity.
"We might not always like them, but we need to learn to appreciate and respect them.
"However, and rather boringly, keeping your floors clear of clothes and other items gives them fewer places to hide."
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