Don’t be scared of spiders! We would rarely be harmed in England. If you have one, read up on tarantula welfare as they are complicated to look after – being handled is not liked by most, and can harm in some cases. There are many types of worldwide spiders including bark spiders (spins webs 10 times stronger than Kevlar), jumping spiders (can remember colours), recluse spiders (can live in isolation for up to 6 months) and of course the deadly spiders.
All spiders are arachnids (8 legs rather than 6 like insects) and have even-shaped numbers of eyes, usually 6 or 8 – lots to look at you!
A Web for All Seasons is the tale of a spider, who was bored by spinning webs. She spins webs all day, every day – until one day she declares she is done with spinning. But she soon realises that can’t have any adventures – without spinning! A tale of appreciating one’s gifts.
One study found over 5 million spiders on one hectare of Sussex land, but they won’t harm you and you hardly see them (most ‘balloon past you’ on their silk). Only 5% of house spiders have ever been outside (and can be harmed by a sudden change in temperature – and this leaves spider babies behind – the little white balls). Spiders are nature’s pest-eaters and eat up to 100 flies a night.
- Regular cleaning and vacuuming helps remove ‘stagnant energy’ for less chances of spiders in corners. But if already there, just leave them, they will move on soon (don’t vacuum them up).
- If you have to move a spider, use a humane spider-catcher. The ‘glass and card’ method is an alternative but often reflexes are not quick and you could harm (use card over paper). Move to a spare room or cupboard. If you must move them outside, choose a shed or outbuilding, and take ‘white furry’ babies outside on kitchen towel or card, to keep together. Sudden temperature changes can kill them.
- Spiders don’t come up plugholes, but can’t get out of the bath, so move (as above) or leave a towel on the side of bath.
- Spiders are not attracted to light, but to insects that are. So turn off unnecessary lights, and close/remove anything that could attract flies (bins, open pet food, fruit).
- Daddy long-legs (craneflies) are attracted to light and won’t harm, move them outside gently (using above methods, to protect legs).
- Spiders apparently don’t like citrus rind, lemon-scented cleaners, garlic or conkers. Don’t use citrus near pets, esp. toxic to cats.
- Don’t use on spiders already there. To deter spiders from wing mirrors, spray a mild dilution of water with citrus, peppermint oil (large doses of any oil could harm, and vinegar would kill).
- Cats eat spiders. Vets Now does not encourage this, saying prevention is best by vacuuming/sealing gaps (some cats can have reactions).
- British Arachnological Society can help with ID and removal.
- Real silk is made by boiling silkworms (‘peace silk’ can often leave silkworms to die, after chewing their way out of cocoons). But there are now many vegan silks based on studying how spiders weave their webs. Spider silk is used to trap prey, or escape from predators.
The Not Bad Animals is by Lancashire artist Sophie Corrigan from spiders that make us scream, mice that make us jump on furniture and bats that make us shudder (at the thought of them flapping about our hair). But do they deserve their reputations?
If you want to live and thrive. Let the spider run alive. American Quakers