Arachnophobes beware - spider season has arrived early this year.
Usually we would prepare for a spider influx in early autumn, but a mix of heavy rainfall and warm days has tricked the creepy crawlies into premature mating and our eight-legged friends are flocking into our homes now!
Fortunately Professor James Logan is here to help spider-proof your home with his tips and tricks.
Common spiders you may find in your house
House spider (up to 12cm)
These are the spiders that freak people out the most. You usually get these in autumn when males leave their webs in search of females and enter homes through windows, chimneys and gaps in doors.
“They won’t hang around as they prefer not to be in house. We mainly find these in garages, lofts and sheds.”
Daddy long legs (up to 5 cm)
These are found all year round, but are not native to the UK. They are large but with small body – they love warm temperatures of our homes. They can’t survive outdoors in winter.
“Daddy long legs are the only spiders I don’t mind in my home – I never put them outside. They vibrate their webs if disturbed to frighten predators – feed on insects and are actually good for the home.”
Zebra jumping spider (less than a cm in size)
They are black with white markings like a zebra and found in spring - autumn.
“These spiders have a jerky start-and-stop movement. They don’t have webs but actively hunt for insects by ambush.”
False widow spider (about 2cm)
Often found in garages or clutter in the garden, and in cooler parts of the house under appliances or in cupboards.
“They look like the more venomous Black Widow Spider, but they are not as harmful.”
Do spiders bite?
Despite what people may think, James says that ALL spiders can bite.
“That’s how they paralyse and kill their prey – few have fangs strong enough to penetrate human skin. Usually this is VERY rare.” However, only a few of the species actually bite humans: “Of 650 species, only 12 bite us – usually larger ones. There are 2-3 that can give a fairly unpleasant bite. Usually it is localised pain and swelling – rarely can be a bit worse – but you should seek medical help.”
James' top tips for keeping spiders away
Clean often: The more disturbance in the house the better
Blocking holes of entry, or cracks in the walls: Spiders like to build their webs from cracks and crevices on the exterior of homes and other structures.
Remove dead insects: Clearing food is not something you need to worry about… clearing up dead insects is
Clear out any old spider webs: Webs or egg sacs could be hiding in dark places like behind the sofa or in between cabinets
Conkers and chestnuts: It’s another old wives tale, but James says that this is an option for keeping out the creepy crawlies
What are spiders good for?
Although they have developed a bad reputation, James says that our eight-legged friends do actually have some uses around the house.
“At this time of year you will see other bugs coming into your house like flies, mosquitoes. Spiders help to keep your house free from insects like flies etc because they eat them. They are also food themselves for other animals like birds…so they are part of the food chain.”