It’s the time of year that spiders seem to start appearing in our homes a little more than the rest of the year - and a little more often than some of us would like.
There are various methods you can use to make the eight-legged critters less keen on entering your abode, though none of these are entirely foolproof, so it might be worth getting used to the idea of sharing your living space with some of them.
But are they really so keen to cosy up with humans – and if not, why do they do it? Find out all you need to know here.
Why do spiders come into my house in the autumn?
“Spiders don’t specifically want to enter your home; in fact they’d rather stay away as there’s less food and it’s too dry and clean,” says Simon Garrett, head of learning at Bristol Zoological Society, which runs Living With Spiders phobia courses.
“Most species of spider stay outside all the time and never come in houses. However, in autumn, mature male house spiders start to move around in search of mates.
“Some will move into a house if there is an entry point for them. It is this need to mate that changes their behaviour, so it seems as though they suddenly come from nowhere at certain times. If they come across any small opening, they can easily get in,” he adds.
So why do I often see spiders in my house?
In actual fact, the spiders you usually see in your home are not the same species as those you’d see in your garden. House spiders are among the small number of creatures who have specifically adapted to indoor conditions, and will normally spend their entire life cycle in or under the building they first move into or are born in.
Spiders are ‘cold-blooded’ and not attracted to warmth - they don't get uncomfortable when it's cold, though they will start being less active and, eventually, become dormant. It’s estimated that less than 5% of the spiders you see in your house will ever have been outdoors.
If you are seeing larger numbers than usual inside at this time of year, it is mainly – as mentioned above – because males are wandering further abroad in search of mates.
So what can I do about the spiders in my house?
It’s not a bad idea to see if you can bear having them around. Bristol Zoo’s assistant curator of invertebrates, Mark Bushell, says: “The best thing to do with spiders in your house if just ignore them. Spiders are harmless and are actually doing you a service by eating flies that are also in your home.”
If that is simply not an option, there are many ways of discouraging our arachnid friends from coming into the house. Keep it clean and tidy, and make sure rubbish bins are regularly emptied, to discourage the flies that spiders feed on. You can also ensure that any gaps or cracks around areas where pipes enter your building are sealed up.
The British Arachnological Society advises: "It's impossible to rid an area of spiders for any length of time because new spiders soon recolonise a house if the original inhabitants are killed off.
"If one gets trapped in the bath or sink put a towel on the edge of the bath or sink so the spider can climb out. The spider cannot climb up the slippery sides of the bath and so are trapped."