December 31, 2021 6:23 pm

I had an indoor nature encounter yesterday. A massive house spider dropped off my head down the front of my face. I must admit, I did freak out and exploded out of the kitchen chair shouting. It was not a good look. Thank goodness it was not too big. Apparently house spiders can grow up to 12 cm wide! I generally try to ignore spiders, and turn a blind eye if I see one. If it’s in my way then I am afraid the old cliche rings true. I call my boyfriend and get him to move it. 

Of course, if I’m alone with the children and they ask me to remove a spider then I pretend I am not bothered; casually covering it with a glass and slipping cardboard under to take it outside. Pointless really! I know darn well I shall see it indoors again next day. The gap under my front door is so large; I often see whole spider family gatherings under it.

So what is it in particular that scares us about these fascinating inhabitants of our houses? Well, the fact they can drop on us out of the sky without warning has to be one factor! When I was young, I remember a big, fat, hairy wolf spider dropped on my ponytail. I unwittingly put my hand up to scratch it. When I pulled my hand away with two spiders legs in it I proceeded to yell! I ran around the house shaking my head to get it off and from then on would carry a mirror around to watch the ceilings in each room. I think it scarred me from an early age. 

However as I got older and learnt that spiders are beneficial I tried to let them co-exist; but it’s not easy. My daughter had a daddy long legs spider fall on her head in her sleep. She asked for a hand-held vacuum in order to clean the ceiling every night. I sat down with her and we went through a wildlife ID book to read up on many of the different types of spiders. We discussed all the reasons why it was good to keep some spiders in the house. For a start, spiders are very territorial so once you have one ensconced in a corner you won’t get more there (unless you have a pregnant female, but let’s not dwell on that). Spiders are also efficient predators. They hunt and eat disease transmitting household mites like mosquitoes, fleas, bedbugs, and cockroaches. In the garden they also predate on other pests that feast on delicate plants. They are also a food source for birds! 


To encourage them in your garden, plant tall plants for spiders to cast their webs on, and plant a beneficial insect border or row in early spring. Flowers encourage spiders to settle too. Compost and mulches are also a great way to help spiders creating moisture and cover; the perfect place for spiders to lay their eggs. 


Anyway we had better get used to them. There are approximately 670 species of spiders in the UK alone, so it is estimated that for every person there are 500,000 spiders.


Needless to say when we got to that bit of the book she was most unhappy. She now sleeps under a mosquito net!





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