Are spiders on the march?

A spider spider making a web.

A spider spider making a web.

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ARACHNOPHOBICS beware!

Anyone who believes spiders have started to invade their home this month, you’re not being paranoid, you’re right.

Spider numbers appear to be at an annual high during September, but don’t worry, the reason is completely natural according to expert Steve Nasir, who is the animal collection manager at Flamingo Land.

He said: “September is the peak of mating season for spiders, so they tend to become more noticeable because they are hunting for a partner.”

Mr Nasir also said that the apparent recent increase in the size of house spiders can again be attributed to the mating season. House spiders tend to be female, which are noticeably larger than males. Also, male house spiders will appear to be larger than usual as they carry semen in their front legs, creating a “boxing glove” effect.

He also states that people needn’t be afraid of the eight-legged creatures, as spiders in this country pose no threat to humans.

“They are fantastic creatures, and British spiders pose no danger to humans. All spiders are venomous, but the level found in British spiders isn’t harmful to humans.

“They are misunderstood, and really we are only scared of them because they are alien to us.”

However, Roger Burnett, Scarborough Borough Council’s Community Environment Officer, said that although the majority of spiders are harmless, there are still “one or two nasty ones knocking about”.

He said: “Some of them, such as the Red Spider, can have a nasty effect on gardens. They are really small and can be hard to spot but they can harm plants.”

Mr Burnett and Mr Nasir both said that no matter how scared you can get of spiders, the last thing you should do is kill them, as they can be incredibly beneficial to gardens.

Mr Burnett advises that if you see a spider in your home, simply “get a cup and a piece of paper, scoop it up, and place it outside.”

Fact file

l Studies have shown that you’re never more than 10 feet away from a spider, and one estimate puts you as close as three feet.

l Washing a spider down the drain doesn’t kill it. Spiders grab on to little pockets of water, so as soon as the water has stopped, they usually just crawl back up.

l Most house spiders live for around a year, but more exotic species, such as tarantulas, can live for up to 25 years.

l Male spiders are usually much more colourful than females.

l In every once acre of land, it’s estimated there are approximately one million spiders.

l Spiders are not only predators, they are also prey, with birds often dining on them.

l Hummingbirds use the silk from spider webs to weave together the sticks that form their nests.

l Spiders eat more insects than birds and bats combined, so they should be considered another of human’s best friends. They play a big role in controlling the insect population.