Welcome to spider season: Why you should never catch and kill

·3 min read

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Excuse me while I scream. Spider season is upon us and for thousands, that means arachnophobia season is also in full swing. Because no matter how remarkable the eight-legged scuttlers may be, for those who live in fear, every new piece of information just adds to the alarm.

For instance, there are 38,000 species of spider in the world, and 'many more to be discovered.' Oh good. There's also the glad news that spiders are found on every continent 'except Antarctica', and that in one acre of land, there are around 1 million spiders. 

Giant trapdoor spiders are similar to spiders that lived over 300 million years ago, and are over four inches across... that's probably enough facts, if we ever want to sleep again.

A spider web in a pine tree during dawn with early morning dew in the National park Brunssumerheide in Limburg, the Netherlands on a September morning
Say what you like about them, they're very talented architects. (Getty Images)

Read more: Panicking motorist caused head-on crash after being distracted by spider

My fellow arachnophobes (over 6% of the global population have 'an intense fear of spiders') will know all too well the screaming dread of seeing that dark shape whisk by across the floor, noiseless and seemingly directionless.

Fortunately, for much of the year, spiders lurk unseen, or outdoors, busy building their webs between plants, being part of the eco-system, and causing no trouble.

But come autumn - mating season - the weather turns chilly and the spider population wants to be warm and cosy, find somewhere to settle down and raise the many eight-eyed kids.

So where better than our lovely, dusty, centrally-heated homes?

I understand all too well the urge to charge at them with a heavy hardback, roaring like Russell Crowe in Gladiator, and equally, the desire to leap onto a chair, and stay there until all spiders have evolved into fluffy puppies and we're finally safe.

Arachnophobia starts young.... (Getty Images)
Arachnophobia starts young.... (Getty Images)

Read more: Man burns his house down after trying to kill spiders with a blowtorch

There are, however, good reasons not to do this. For a start, spiders are the Henry Hoovers on the minibeast world, catching and eating all the annoying flies, bluebottles, midges and mosquitoes in your home. Say what you like about spiders, they don't make a noise like a buzz-saw in your bedroom at 3am.

They also keep crops safe, by gobbling up pests and aphids that threaten the harvest, and protect plants by eating more insects than birds and bats combined. They have a vital place in the ecosystem - and they themselves provide nutritious food for birds, which won't work if they're smeared all over your heaviest encylopedia.

Shop a spider catcher 

Buy it: Spider Catcher Vacuum Insect Catcher | £12.99 from Lakeland 

Also available from Amazon

Watch: Ever wonder if spiders could build webs in space without gravity to guide them?

In fact...shudder alert... it has been estimated that spiders eat more insects than 'the weight of the human population' every year. As long as they don't come for us next.

However, while they may be essential to maintaining bio-diversity and balancing the entire eco-system on their eight little legs, many of us don't want them shacking up in our houses. So how do we gently persuade them out?

You could try conkers, which are said to contain saponin, a substance spiders hate to smell. Though while I have them in every corner, just in case, there is no evidence to prove this works. And if you don't have a partner/child/parent/flatmate who's willing to gently carry them outside while you breathe into a paper bag, there's only one solution: The spider catcher. Luckily, it's brilliant. Suck up Mr Spider, seal the tube, carry outside and release.

Then walk away and don't look back. 

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