…and under the door, through the conservatory skylight and probably in through the gaps around the pipework for the washing machine. However, spiders will not climb up through the bath plug hole – as old wives tales might have you believe!
House Spiders (Tegenaria domestica) and especially their even larger relatives – Giant House Spiders (Eratigena atrica) are creeping into our homes again this year, as the autumn approaches and the spider mating season begins. The mature males leave their webs and migrate indoors to find shelter from the weather and in search of females.
The warm summer and rather wet spring this year has led to plenty of insects and other invertebrates for the spiders to eat. This abundant supply of food and the mild conditions over the past months has contributed to a batch of ‘particularly large’ spiders venturing into our homes this autumn. Research seems to show that the larger Giant House Spiders are found mostly in the southern regions of the UK, but in recent years they have begun to spread northwards.
Although commonly called ‘house’ spiders, they in fact tend to live most of their lives in garages, sheds or under shrubs in the garden. After mating the females usually return outdoors in search of old walls or stones where they can lay their eggs undisturbed. Occasionally, if she finds an undisturbed dark corner in the house she may lay her eggs inside. A Giant House Spiders egg sac will usually contain about 60 spiderlings.
Giant House Spiders are generally very reluctant to bite, preferring to escape to undisturbed corners. Like many other spiders they use venom to subdue their prey and their bite can occasionally penetrate human skin, with an effect similar to that of a bee sting. These spiders will not bite unless provoked or threatened.
The simplest way to remove them is to use the tried and trusted glass and card method. Placing an empty drinks glass over the offending arachnid and sliding the card gently underneath. Then carefully lifting both together, deposit the spider outside – making sure you release it some distance from the house. If not they will attempt to get back indoors, after all they are called ‘house spiders‘ for a reason!