Spider season: Expert debunks biggest myths as creepy crawlies come out of hiding

Spider season: Expert debunks biggest myths as creepy crawlies come out of hiding

You may have noticed over the last week or two an uptick in spider activity around your house. Maybe you’ve seen a spider here and there quickly scuttle across the floor? Or maybe you’ve woken up late at night, wondering what the spider living in the corner of the room is up to when you can’t see it?

Spider season arrives each year around the start of September and is guaranteed to give arachnophobes a fright.

During this time, house spiders seem more active than usual, although experts assure there is nothing to fear from the critters.

According to Dr Lena Grinsted, a senior lecturer in Zoology at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Portsmouth, the spiders are simply out and about looking for love.

Spider season marks the time when male spiders are on the move, looking for female partners, which gives many the false impression something much more sinister is afoot.

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Dr Grinsted told Express.co.uk: “We do see these large house spiders at this time of the year.

“That’s why we call it spider season because we tend to see large house spiders that are crawling around on the floor.

“You might see them in the bath or in the sink, and actually these are males and they’re just looking for love – they’re just out looking to mate.”

And there is absolutely nothing to fear from the spiders, as the expert said spider bites are extremely rare.

Even when disturbed, house spiders are much more likely to scuttle away than lunge for an attack.

Let them run over your outstretched palm and they will remain calm and unaware of any threat to their life.

Just try not to pinch them as that is when they might react with a quick nip.

And that’s not the only myth surrounding spider season that people tend to fall for around this time of year, particularly when it comes to protecting your home from the eight-legged invertebrates.

People are often told to put conkers along their windows sills and doors in the belief spiders will avoid them at all cost.

A similar theory states spiders simply can’t stand the smell of citruses like lemons and limes, so a bit of lemon peel is all you need to keep pesky spiders at bay.

However, Dr Grinsted said there is proof whatsoever any of these methods work.

She said: “I’m sorry to say but there is no scientific evidence for this.

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“There are so many myths about leaving conkers out or lemon peels and those kinds of things.

“To date, there is no scientific evidence to support that any of that actually works.

“I’m all for people doing what they want to prevent spiders from coming inside.

“If that makes people feel better about it, that’s absolutely fine, but unfortunately there’s no known remedy for keeping spiders out.”

The best way to keep spiders out of your home, ironically, is other spiders.

According to the expert, spiders can get a bit cannibalistic at times and daddy long legs spiders are particularly “expert spider hunters”.

More importantly, however, Dr Grinsted argued you shouldn’t really wish for spiders to leave your home because a house full of spiders is “a healthy house”.

Though they fill many people with fright, spiders play a key role in the ecosystem as both predators and prey.

In the summer, their nets catch mosquitoes and flies and other insects that incessantly buzz around.

Similarly, spiders are great at keeping silverfish – the tiny metallic insects that run around bathrooms at night – at bay.

And when outdoors, spiders are a tasty and nutritious treat for all sorts of birds and creatures like hedgehogs, so you should be glad to have them in your garden.

Dr Grinsted said: “Spiders shouldn’t have the reputation that they do.

“Of course, in some parts of the world there are a few species that could be potentially dangerous to humans, but it’s actually by far the majority of spiders are completely harmless to humans.

“So most of the time there’s absolutely nothing to worry about.”

The expert added: “They get a really, really bad rep.”

Published at Sat, 18 Sep 2021 08:01:00 +0000

This story originally posted here

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