The big fat house spiders which terrorised me throughout Autumn have now vanished. They would creep out after dark and scuttle across the carpet. I haven’t sighted a single spider since Christmas. Not even a web. This worries me. Where are they hiding? Are they staring at me with four pairs of eyes beneath the bookshelf. At least I only have the common house spider to worry about.
The Segestria florentina spider is one of Europe’s largest spiders, and has been sighted in south facing stone walls in Cornwall. The females can reach 22mm. You may have never seen one because it hides deep in cracks of buildings, waiting for an insect for supper. It weaves a web with six or more silken lines. The spider touches each line with its legs (so that’s why they have so many legs!) They may be horribly ugly but we love them here at Rentokil because they feast on flies, moths, cockroaches and wasps. Unfortunately you would need a LOT of Segestria florentina spider’s to keep an infestation in check. With cannibalistic tendancies they are also not the most sociable of creatures. The baby spiderlings are an ungrateful bunch eating their mother soon after birth.
In this superb video by PetePage you can see Segestria florentina rejecting a woodlouse (they dislike the taste) and very quickly pouncing on a fly.
As for my house spiders… they are still in the house somewhere, hiding in cracks and crevices. It’s only in the Autumn the spider invasion occurs because it’s mating season; the males creep out looking for the females to mate with. The cold weather slows the outdoor spiders down and eventually they become dormant but then when the weather warms I hope it will not turn out to be an annus horribilis.
…and under the door, through the conservatory skylight and probably in through the gaps
I joined Rentokil just over two years ago and am no stranger to pest control - a number of unwelcome tenants have made my home their home too. Having lived in a number period properties, I learned long ago that the ancient beams, sash windows and chimney breasts are also adored by spiders, insects and furries.