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Autumn Spider Fear

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There's a wave of fear that sweeps through the UK each autumn.  It happened last autumn, and it'll most likely happen next autumn too.  Spine-chilling screams can be heard from bathrooms and lounges up and down the land.  A sneak peek at some of our recent emails reveal why...

Exhibit A:

I have giant spiders running around my house.  I have been on a few sites but cant find one which describes these Spiders size but they look like funnel weavers.  This one was 4" long and it wasn't completely stretched out.  Can you identify it please.  And is it normal to get them this size as I have never seen spiders of this size before.

Why are they always funnel weavers? ;)

Four inches is not normal for a house spider!  I told this person to phone her local zoo.  They've obviously left the Tropical House door open.

If we believed every email we received we'd be convinced that house spiders had undergone some sort of genetic mutation.  These giant eight legged funnel weaving monsters (formerly known as house spiders) are now it seems officially as big as soup plates.

Before anyone else emails me to tell me they've got bigger ones than that (kids eh!) please remember that spiders are normally measured from 'nose to tail' - not from 'toe to toe'.

I'm sure the spiders really do look a lot bigger to the folks who send us these messages.  It's natural that when you're afraid of something it seems larger than life.  And have you noticed that when you're afraid of something you seem to pull it in to yourself.  It's almost like magnetism.  Taxes, illness, unwanted relatives at Christmas etc.  It's the same for arachnophobes and spiders.  They seem to find more spiders in their homes than the rest of us.  Lots more!

Exhibit B:

PLEASE HELP! ... I have been finding very large spiders in my house and last night was forced to leave the premises due to the amount of them! reading through the interent i belive them to be between the giant house spider but pictures are more like that of the hobo spider, very long dark/grey colour, black fangs hairy, wasp colour bodies with hooks at the rear and many with hooks at the front, between 3/4 inches. They are never on the ceiling and always at ground level, extremley fast, no webbing found. 30/40 captured in the last month. please help they are every where, in clothes, curtains, bedding, sinks. new house close to very large field if that is of help. What can I do to rid of them and live again in my house? where would a nest be? please answer soon.

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried...

Hairy fangs?  That'd be the 'palps' (see photo above).  One either side of the head, used like a pair of hands, or feelers, and for reproduction.  The real fangs will be the shiny bits, in the traditional position, next to the mouth (dripping with human blood no doubt).

Fact is, these spiders (and more) will probably have been living in the house all year.  It's just that now they are mature, fully grown, more noticeable, and much more active.

The reason they're more active in autumn is because it's mating time.  For the next few weeks at least there's going to be plenty of them scurrying across the carpet, or falling into the bath tub as they rush around in search of a partner.

People often ask what's the best way of removing spiders from the home - other than stuck to the sole of a shoe or inside the Hoover bag.  There are plenty of gizmos and gadgets available, but the easiest, and still the best way is with a glass.

Just place an empty drinks glass over the top of the spider and then carefully slide a piece of card underneath the glass.  Next pick up the glass and card together and take the spider outside to release it.

atching a spider under a glass

Being house spiders, they will try to get back indoors, so it's a good idea to release them some distance from the house, ideally in an outside building such as a shed, toilet or garage, where they will be protected from the worst weather conditions.

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