o The Frog Blog: Welcome to Spider Season (Ugh, is it on me?)

Monday, 3 September 2012

Welcome to Spider Season (Ugh, is it on me?)


It’s that time of the year again folks. Make sure to carry out a daily bed check, shake your towels before drying yourself, double check the toilet bowl before sitting down and practice your best curses (I find Jebus works well). Yup, it’s spider season. 

It is at this time every year when our eight legged tormentors get fed up of frolicking amongst the tall grasses or the corner of the garden shed and decide that under your telly or in your bath would be a nice place to find that “special someone”. Millions of horny spiders will be seeking the warmer, more inviting, nooks and crannies of your home to make more menacing baby spiders.

But before ye all start yelling “Kill it, kill it with fire!!”, unconsciously shuddering and frantically rolling up the RTÉ Guide while eyeing up the (enormous dog-sized) spider which ran the gauntlet from behind the coal bucket to that crack in the skirting board (which you’ve been meaning to fix for ages), maybe you could decide to take a more humane, almost scientific, approach to spider hunting this year? 

There are around 370 types of spider in Ireland, from the thousands of microscopic dust mites that inhabit your pillow (literally eating your dead skin cells while you sleep) to Ireland’s largest spider, the Raft Spider, with a whopping 10cm leg span. Most Irish spiders are venomous but, luckily, their fangs aren’t long enough to penetrate our skin so can be deemed harmless. However, only a number of species will visit your home. 

The most frequently spotted domesticated arachnids include the Common House Spider (Tegenaria domestica), the Giant House Spider (Tegenaria duellica) and of course, the Daddy Long Legs (a large groups of spiders arachnids from the Order Opiliones). Many of the braver ones we see are the males, who wander around your gaff looking for a female’s web. After mating with her for a few days, he dies. The female, overcome with emotion at the loss of her loved one, then eats him. Nice. 

So, instead of trying to kill the lost and lonesome spider in the bathtub, remember he is likely just looking for love. So, instead, why not play a little game of capture, classify and release? House spiders are easily coerced into glass jars. Take a snap, refer to this little guide to identify, and then release him into the garden. Sure, he’ll come back and bring his mates, but at least you can mend decades of mental torture with some spidery kindness. 

And remember too, that these terrifying unwanted guests help rid your house of other terrifying unwanted guests! House spiders eat flies, beetle, earwigs and even moths, thus protecting your new dress or “good” shirt! See, they’re not that bad after all!