Spiders in the House

Help! What do I do with the spider in my house?

All houses will have spiders in them (see House Spiders). Sometimes these are hardly noticed because they hide away behind furniture and curtains and it is only when you move things that they are revealed, or perhaps one will go walk-about at night across the bedroom ceiling or carpet, or get trapped in the bath.

First, don't panic! It is quite natural to have them around. They do a great deal of good by eating insects that are in your home and, like the insects, form part of the natural history of buildings. So, if you can, learn to live with them! At certain times of the year spiders are more plentiful or more obvious. Some come in from the outside at certain times of the year, particularly in the autumn.

It is, in fact, impossible to rid an area of spiders for any length of time because new spiders soon recolonise a house if the original inhabitants are killed off. They will constantly 'top-up' the house by entering through windows, doors, drain pipes, over-flow pipes, air-bricks, chimneys and in items brought into the house. During the autumn, many even fly on strands of silk, a process known as ballooning, and can drift indoors through windows or open doors.

Educate children to be aware of spiders and to leave them alone, but also to respect them and not to be afraid. Fear of spiders is learnt, unlike fear of snakes, which is deep-rooted, and many people are born with it. Children initially have no fear of spiders but learn it from parents or friends who dislike or are frightened of them.

Some things you can do if you do have a 'spider problem' include:

  • Carefully sweep up the spider and put it outside, or better still put in an outside shed, garage or similar place as the 'outside' is not their habitat and it is a bit cruel. They can eventually find their way back inside.
  • If one gets trapped in the bath or sink put a towel on the edge of the bath or sink so the spider can climb out. They do not come up through the drain hole, which has a water-filled U-bend beneath it. What happens is that they are out and about hunting at night and either slip into the bath or are attracted to a drop of water in it and slide down. The poor spider cannot then climb up the slippery sides of the bath and so are trapped. It is a good idea to leave a towel over the edge of the bath at night even if a spider is not in it just in case one should fall in. Alternatively, place a plastic cup or glass tumbler over the spider and slide a postcard between the surface and the container, thus trapping the spider inside. It can then be released elsewhere, as above.
  • Finally, rather than trying to rid your house of these fascinating creatures live with them and enjoy them!
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