Don't be afraid of the giant spiders

EVER get those abnormally large, brown creatures in your home?

Thursday, 30th September 2010, 11:06 am

The ones that come fully equipped with eight rather thick, hairy legs? If so then you are most likely co-habitting with a colony of Giant House Spiders, or to give them their proper name...Tenegaria Duellicas, more commonly known as 'Hobo Spiders'.

These spiders tend to be more common in areas where there are rivers and fields, making places like Drumahoe village an absolute haven for these pests.

They are easily recognized with their earthly tones of brown, black and often with a muddy red tinge. The females are larger in body size with the average body length measuring 18mm and usually have leg span of 45mm. The males are smaller in body size with the average length measuring just 13mm, although it is not unusual for them to have a leg span of a frightening 75mm.

If you find yourself stumbling across these beasts from time to time, you will be comforted to know that they do not pose any threat to you or indeed any pets that you might have living at home. Although they do carry a venom, they have not been know to attack humans.

The females tend to stay within their tunnelled web and spend most of their time making adjustments to their homes, breeding and protecting their eggs.

The males tend to wander through households,sheds and garages in late summer and early autumn. These are the ones that often run across your livingroom floor while you're watching Eastenders! They are most mature at this time of year and are simply wandering around looking for a female to mate with.

On finding a mate, the male will stay in the female-built home and mate a few times with her over a period of weeks before eventually dying. The female Giant House Spider does not kill her partner as some species of spiders do, but she does eat him when he's dead. This provides the nutrients the female so desperately needs to create healthy eggs. This is also like the male's contribution to his offspring, even after death.

The Giant House Spider is also known to be the fastest spider ever recorded by the Guinness World Book of Records, with a top area coverage of 21 inches per second! That's discomfortingly impressive!

Another interesting fact about these arachnids is that they can go for months without water. But eventually they will need moisture to stay alive and so this is why they are quite commonly found in bath tubs and sinks, but do not be alarmed! Just because you find one in the bottom of your bath tub just moments after draining your tub...I can assure you that you had not just shared a bath tub with a thirsty spider. And for all you arachnophobes out there, these web spinners do not enter your home through your drains, so there is no need to worry about them climbing up through your sink first thing in the morning when you're brushing your teeth! The spiders are simply attracted to the fact that they have spotted water droplets in your bath or sink. They most usually climb down a wall to get to these life saving drops of Radox tasting water, but to a spider... Water's water! The spider then finds itself unable to climb back out of the slippery surface of your bath tub or sink; hence it's being there.

Although I have experienced personally in recent weeks, countless numbers of these things, I have learned to ignore their size and speed and often allow them to pass by to the nearest nook or cranny, although I have had no choice but to capture a few and remove them from the premises due to a terrified mother! But experts' advice is to simply wave as they go by, as a fly infestation would be more unhygienic and your spiders are actually doing you a favour.

Putting these spiders 'back outside' is also wrong, as who is to say that they ever 'came in' from outdoors? They tend to live in the smaller, warmer areas of your home i.e. behind radiators, beneath fridges or indeed any sort of large, grounded, household appliance that might generate heat from a running motor.

Giant House Spiders may be frightening to some due to sheer size, but we are quite obviously, much bigger than they are and I can assure you that they are much more frightened of us than we are of them.

So don't step on them as they attempt to find heat, water or shelter. Don't drown them when they appear in your bath tub, and DO NOT lock an unsuspecting neighbour in the bathroom until she has successfully poisoned the poor victim with a can of spray-on Deep Heat!

Remember...wave as they go by! They mean you no harm!