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Excuse me while I scream. Spider season is just around the corner, and for thousands, that means arachnophobia season is in full swing too. Because no matter how remarkable the eight-legged runabouts may be, for those who live in fear, any new information only increases anxiety.
For example, there are 38,000 species of spiders in the world and “there are many more to discover”. Oh good. There is also the good news that spiders are found on every continent “except Antarctica” and that there are about 1 million spiders on one hectare of land.
Giant trapdoor spiders resemble spiders that lived over 300 million years ago and are over four inches in diameter … that’s probably enough facts if we’re ever going to sleep again.
Continue reading: Panicked motorists caused a head-on collision after being distracted by a spider
My arachnophobe colleagues (over 6% of the world’s population have “a strong fear of spiders”) will know only too well the screaming fear of seeing this dark figure flit silently and seemingly directionless across the floor.
Fortunately, spiders lurk unseen or outdoors for most of the year, busy building their webs between plants, are part of the ecosystem and do not cause any problems.
But in autumn – the mating season – the weather gets cool and the spider population wants to be warm and cozy, to find a place to settle down and raise the many eight-eyed children.
So where better than in our beautiful, dusty, centrally heated houses?
I understand all too well the urge to attack them with a heavy hardcover roaring like Russell Crowe in Gladiator, as well as the desire to jump in a chair and stay there until all the spiders have turned into fluffy pups and we do are finally safe.
Continue reading: Man burns down his house after trying to kill spiders with a blowtorch
However, there are good reasons not to do so. First off, spiders are the Henry Hoovers in the world of minibeasts who catch and eat all of the pesky flies, blowflies, midges, and midges in your home. Say what you like about spiders, they don’t make a sound like a buzz saw in your bedroom at 3 a.m.
They also protect crops by devouring pests and aphids that threaten crops, and protect plants by eating more insects than birds and bats combined. They have an important place in the ecosystem – and they themselves provide nutritious food for birds that will not work if smeared in your heaviest dictionary.
Buy a spider catcher
Observe: Have you ever wondered if non-gravity spiders could build webs in space to guide them?
Indeed … shudder alarms … it has been estimated that spiders eat more insects than “the weight of the human population” each year. As long as they don’t come to us next.
While they may be essential to maintaining biodiversity and the balance of the entire ecosystem on their eight little legs, many of us don’t want them to be billeted in our homes. So how do we gently convince them?
You could try conkers, which are said to contain saponin, a substance spiders hate to smell. While I have them in every corner, just in case there is no evidence that this works. And if you don’t have a partner / child / parent / roommate to gently carry them outside while you breathe into a paper bag, there is only one solution: the spider catcher. Fortunately, it’s brilliant. Suck up Mr Spider, seal the hose, carry it outside and let go.
Then go away and don’t look back.