Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Giant spider invasion: Eight-legged creatures set to invade our homes in search of breeding partners

Published 20/08/2015

'Ballooning' is a migration technique commonly associated with spiders
'Ballooning' is a migration technique commonly associated with spiders

While the summer might be drawing to a close, the party is only beginning for packs of giant mature spiders who are getting set to welcome themselves into homes throughout the UK and Ireland in the coming weeks.

According to Irish arachnologist Myles Nolan, the large male spiders will invade homes in greater numbers as they go on the hunt for adequate breeding partners throughout the late summer and autumn months.

A camera phone snap of a large spider in Belfast captured in a glass. Photo by Gary Fennelly
A camera phone snap of a large spider in Belfast captured in a glass. Photo by Gary Fennelly
A camera phone snap of a large spider in Belfast captured in a glass. Photo by Gary Fennelly
A camera phone snap of a large spider in Belfast captured in a glass. Photo by Gary Fennelly

“Giant might be too strong a word to use for these spiders but they certainly are large. They can have a leg span of up to 3cm which might be intimidating to those who are fearful of them.

“The spiders mature throughout the summer and in late August and autumn they are mature and go wandering to look for females to mate with.

“Female spiders might also be more prominent in homes as they are wandering around in search of a suitable place to lay their egg sacks where they won’t be disturbed," he said.

Despite their potentially intimidating size, the spider expert has revealed they are of little threat to human inhabitants.

“Spiders aren’t dirty so they do not pose a risk that way and they are not dangerous. Unless they are disturbed they won’t bite and if they do so it will because they are doing so defensively,” he said.

While common house spiders are for the most part harmless, Mr Nolan revealed that it is also breeding season for False Widow Spiders, whose venom is particularly nasty. Recently Northern Irish woman Aideen Hynes suffered a severe reaction to what she believes was a bite from a False Widow.

Read more

Northern Ireland woman bitten by venomous spider while lying in bed almost lost her leg

Spider infestation closes school

Fear of spiders became part of our DNA during evolution, say scientists

It's raining spiders in Australia  

"It hasn't been confirmed that the case in Northern Ireland was a false widow but they are in Ireland," he said.

“The small False Widow spider is quite common in Ireland but it is largely harmless. The larger one has a particularly nasty vemon that can cause a reaction if bitten."

Those with little tolerance for the eight-legged creepy crawlies have few options to deter the creatures, despite nightly hovering.

“There is really no such thing as a spiderless house. Spiders enter homes through open windows and doors, holes in pipes and wall cavities. Things like ivy and railings would also provide access points to spiders.

“While it might be a bit unfair on the spiders, I can understand why people might be freaked out by them,” said Mr Nolan.

Common spiders in Northern Ireland

  • Araneus diadematus: known as the common or garden spider. It is large and variable in colour.
  • Tegenaria: a funnel web spider. You can see the webs in the bases of walls and outhouses.
  • Zygiella x-notata: this builds an orb-web and is yellow-brown in colour.

Online Editors

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph