While house spiders can bite but have no venom, false widows have been dubbed 'Britain's most venomous spiders', as they do indeed carry toxin. However, like the rest of Britain's native spiders, false widows aren't aggressive. While they can, rarely, leave a bite which can cause pain, redness and swelling, they're unlikely to if handled with care – or, preferably, not handled at all.
But whether they bite or not, most people don't want spiders sharing their home.
If you do see one in the house, just put a container over it, scoop it up with a postcard and gently put it outside.
However, there are plenty of things you can do to prevent the pesky critters invading in the first place.
David Cross, head of the Technical Training Academy at Rentokil Pest Control, says: “Male house spiders leave their webs and enter homes in the late summer and autumn months to look for breeding partners. Recent spells of wet weather will have encouraged this behaviour, making it seem like there are more spiders than usual.
“As spiders are able to squeeze themselves through tiny gaps and holes, it’s impossible to completely proof your house against them, but of course, closing doors and windows will help keep them at bay.”
How to keep spiders out
Expert pest controller Cross suggests these nine tips:
1. Limit spider food
Clear away any dead flies, or other small crawling insects.
2. Vacuum regularly
Always vacuum high and low, and make sure you target sheltered spots beneath worktops and behind cupboards and sofas.
3. Remove webs
Do this regularly, remembering to check the corners of the ceiling and in corners of picture frames and mirrors.
4. Fill gaps
Make sure you fill the gaps between walls, pipework and under doors where possible.
5. Remove sheltering sites
Spiders will look to tuck themselves away in firewood piles, garden bags and compost heaps, so get rid of them if you can.
6. Limit lighting
Insects are drawn to light, and flies and moths are ideal spider prey, so turn any outside lights off if you can.
7. Smelly stuff
Spiders don't like the smell of citrus fruits like lemon, nor eucalyptus, tea tree and peppermint oils. Try rubbing lemon peel around windows and doors, or spray the other scents around them. Another smell they don't like is vinegar – although you might not like that scent either!
8. Feline foe
A cat will try to catch a spider if it sees it – although owning a moggy won't stop spiders coming indoors in the first place.
An old wives tale says spiders don't like conkers and placing them around the house will keep them at bay. While there's no real evidence to back this up, it won't hurt to try…