Monday 18 December 2017

Giant Spider Invasion: Eight-legged creatures set to invade Irish homes on the search for breeding partners

House spider, Tegenaria gigantea, detail of face and hairy legs, front view.
House spider, Tegenaria gigantea, detail of face and hairy legs, front view.
Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

While the summer might be drawing to a close, the party is only beginning for packs of giant mature spiders who are getting set to welcome themselves into Irish homes in the coming weeks.

According to Irish arachnologist Myles Nolan, the large male spiders will invade homes in greater numbers as they go on the hunt for adequate breeding partners throughout the late summer and autumn months.

“Giant might be too strong a word to use for these spiders but they certainly are large. They can have a leg span of up to 3cm which might be intimidating to those who are fearful of them.

“The spiders mature throughout the summer and in late August and autumn they are mature and go wandering to look for females to mate with.

“Female spiders might also be more prominent in homes as they are wandering around in search of a suitable place to lay their egg sacks where they won’t be disturbed," he said.

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Despite their potentially intimidating size, the spider expert has revealed they are of little threat to human inhabitants.

“Spiders aren’t dirty so they do not pose a risk that way and they are not dangerous. Unless they are disturbed they won’t bite and if they do so it will because they are doing so defensively,” he said.

Read more: Irish woman permanently scarred after False Widow Spider bite in bed: 'I thought I was going to lose my leg'

While common house spiders are for the most part harmless, Mr Nolan revealed that it is also breeding season for False Widow Spiders, whose venom is particularly nasty. Recently Northern Irish woman Aideen Hynes suffered a severe reaction to what she believes was a bite from a False Widow.

"It hasn't been confirmed that the case in Northern Ireland was a false widow but they are in Ireland," he said.

“The small False Widow spider is quite common in Ireland but it is largely harmless. The larger one has a particularly nasty vemon that can cause a reaction if bitten."

Read more: Top 10 unwelcome house pests and how to evict them

Those with little tolerance for the eight-legged creepy crawlies have few options to deter the creatures, despite nightly hovering.

“There is really no such thing as a spiderless house. Spiders enter homes through open windows and doors, holes in pipes and wall cavities. Things like ivy and railings would also provide access points to spiders.

“While it might be a bit unfair on the spiders, I can understand why people might be freaked out by them,” said Mr Nolan.

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