Spider-phobes are in for a nerve-jangling few weeks as thousands of spiders are set to invade homes for the mating season.
The arrival of autumn marks the start of spider mating season, when the eight-legged creepy crawlies leave their webs to seek refuge indoors in search of a mate.
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When is spider mating season?
Spiders usually start to come out in early September, with their presence noticeable in homes until around mid-October. After this, they tend to be spotted indoors less often.
Female spiders are known to stay in one place for all of their lives - often inside homes - but males are always on the move.
During spider mating season, the males will go searching for females and often find them inside homes, which is why you may notice more of them over the next couple of months.
In the UK, there are more than 650 different species of spider and while all of them can bite, only 12 can cause harm to humans.
Money, cellar and lace web spiders will likely be seen more frequently over the coming weeks, as well as house spiders, which is one of the UK’s biggest spiders.
The males of this species can grow up to a terrifying 10cm across the leg span, although this is the top end of the scale, with their size depending on how much they have eaten.
After mating, the female will lay eggs and the male will usually die.
How can I keep spiders out?
If you are keen to keep the eight-legged creatures out of your home, there are a few things you can try to deter them from creeping inside.
Spiders love seeking refuge in dark, damp and cluttered places, so ensuring your house is kept clean can keep them away.
Be sure to vacuum and dust regularly, and store things away in plastic-lid boxes rather than cardboard, to prevent the critters gaining access.
Let natural light in
Avoid leaving the blinds or curtains closed during the day, or for prolonged periods when you are away from home as spiders love the dark.
Use essential oils
Spiders ‘smell’ with their legs, so strong scents will deter them from leaving their nooks and crannies.
Tea tree, rose, cinnamon, citrus, peppermint, citronella, lavender and eucalyptus are good oils to try – make sure you spray corners, window sills and skirting boards, and replenish regularly.
Draw some chalk lines
Spiders taste with their feet and they don’t like chalk, so drawing a line around window sills, your bed, or doorways, will deter them from crossing.
Seal any cracks
Seal up any little cracks in walls, floors and ceilings that spiders could use for access.
Keep foliage away from your house
Avoid allowing plants to grow too close to your home to creep as spiders will hide away in them.
Leaf litter and accumulating wood piles also make for great spider hiding places, so be sure to keep your outdoor space tidy.
Don’t use conkers
There is no evidence that conkers are effective at keeping spiders out.
Other strong aromas are likely to work better, such as garlic or vinegar.
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