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How to remove spiders humanely as autumn brings influx of arachnids

Invertebrate keepers at London Zoo stress that you shouldn’t kill spiders in your house, as they reduce the number of insect pests.

(Ben Birchall/PA Images)
(Ben Birchall/PA Images)

By Emily Chudy, PA

The beginning of autumn marks the start of “spider season”, as arachnids enter homes to find a warm space to mate.

People have taken to social media to complain about spiders during the season, with many suggesting that they should kill any that enter their homes – however experts state that they should instead be captured.

Zoologists suggest that house spiders should be trapped under a glass and freed rather than killed, as arachnids can help reduce household pests.

Twitter user Jess Simpson posted a video of a house spider on her stairs, saying: “The spider now owns the house, I’ve packed my bags and on my way out.”

Arachnid experts stress that you should not kill spiders in your home, as they reduce insect pests, and that people who fear spiders should instead trap and release them.

London Zoo’s senior invertebrate keeper Sam Aberdeen said: “Our eight-legged friends are a vital part of the global ecology and also reduce the numbers of flying insects in our homes and gardens, some of which can carry human diseases.

“You can gently remove a spider that has strayed into your home this autumn by placing a glass over it and sliding firm paper or card underneath to form a seal, before taking it back outside and setting it free.”

Experts say that keeping your house clean and tidy is more effective at deterring spiders than common home remedies including peppermint oil, as they have not been scientifically proven.

Mr Aberdeen said: “It’s often said that conkers deter spiders, but it’s just not true.

“Similarly, though they will keep your house smelling lovely and fresh, there is no scientific proof that essential oils such as peppermint, tea tree or lavender will keep spiders away either.”

Surrey Wildlife Trust explains that spiders are commonly found in homes during late summer and early autumn as males of many species reach maturity and hunt for a mate.

The trust said: “The attractive warm dry environment of our homes – coupled with the tendency to keep windows open as the weather is still relatively mild – means that we see an influx of spiders in our houses at this time of year.

“Some species live alongside us in our homes year round, we are just more likely to notice them now, as they seek out mates and reproduce.

“If you can cope with them, spiders are quite useful to have around the home. They will capture and eat insect pests and generally keep out of the way, preferring the quiet life in a dark corner.”

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