Frisky spiders heading into homes this week for mating season
- Credit: Vanna Bartlett/Archant
Randy spiders will be invading homes across Norfolk over the next couple of weeks looking for love.
Spider mating season - which started in early September and will last until October - sees the creepy crawlies head indoors to find a partner and lay eggs where it's warm.
The amorous arachnids will then welcome their eight-legged little ones in Spring.
Vanna Bartlett is an entomologist and wildlife artist based in the city.
She is also the author of ‘Arthropedia: An illustrated alphabet of invertebrates’.
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And despite their many eyes and furry legs, Vanna says people should learn to love their scuttling neighbours.
She explained that the spiders people are most likely to find in their homes are the large house spider and the daddy longlegs cellar spider.
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She said: “The large house spider is often the first spider that many of us first become familiar with when one surprises us by rushing across the carpet in the middle of the evening.
“These are invariably amorous males that wander indoors in the autumn on the lookout for a female to mate with – in our house they will be out of luck as the females generally live in the shed.”
Vanna explains that spiders do a great deal of good by catching and eating unwanted pests.
She explained: “Spiders in turn are an important source of food to some of our favourite garden birds like the robin and the wren.”
And Norfolk is also home to one of Britain's rarest species of spider, the fen raft spider.
“This large spider is restricted to wetland habitats where it sits at the water’s edge, detecting prey by using sensory hairs on its legs to feel for vibrations in the water.
“Perhaps now is the time to learn to love our diverse spiders, even if it is at a respectful arm’s length," she said.
But she's aware that not everyone is happy to have their own super hero pest-controller living in the bottom of the bath.
She said: “If you do wish to remove a spider the safest way is to place an empty glass upside down over the spider and carefully slide a stiff piece of cardboard underneath."
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Vanna said: “Instances of spiders biting people in the UK are extremely rare and it usually only happens if the spider feels threatened or trapped.”
However the noble false widow spider is often the subject of scare stories as it is capable of biting people.
She added: “I have several living here including one under the kitchen windowsill where it helpfully polishes off bluebottle flies before they can get indoors.”
The tube web spider can also be found in the UK and has been known to bite people.
The bite can be uncomfortable - it is reported to feel like a bee sting - but it is not deadly and the pain will ease after around five hours.
The woodhouse spider looks quite scary with its dark red body and yellow stomach.
People have to be fairly close to be nipped and even then they will only experience mild discomfort.
'Arthropedia: An illustrated alphabet of invertebrates' is available from Jarrold’s book department.