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Spiders home in; New breed of giant arachnids are set to invade our houses this autumn as they hunt for a mate GARDENING.

Everywhere you look in your garden at the moment, it seems there's an eightlegged monster staring back at you.

OK, so "monster" is a little far-fetched. While spiders aren't the most popular of creatures, they're almost always harmless and do an important job.

But according to recent reports, arachnophobes are in for a stressful few weeks. Spider experts (arachnologists), believe an army of a new breed of giant spiders are about to invade our homes to lay their eggs. Eek.

Cue millions of us lining up the old glass and cardboard combo - or quite frankly, doing away with it altogether, as we run screaming from each sighting.

But why are these spiders moving in? According to arachnologist Chris Ayre, one of the biggest spiders in Europe, Eratigena atrica, is looking for a dry, warm place to mate and our homes will provide the perfect love-nest, so to speak.

As it turns cooler and wetter this month, giant house spiders, which are relatives of the domestic house spider and can grow up to 12cm long, will move from our gardens into our homes.

Simon Garrett, head of learning at Bristol Zoological Society, which runs Living With Spiders phobia courses, said: "Spiders don't specifically want to enter homes; in fact, they'd rather stay away as there's less food and it's too dry and clean. Most species 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.

"Although most remain outside, some will move inside if there is an entry point. It is this need to mate that changes their behaviour, so it seems as if they suddenly come from nowhere." While the females rarely leave their nests, males are often spotted from now until October looking for a mate.

Females lay hundreds of eggs and in each egg sac, can be up to 60 spiderlings. These brown bugs seek corners to build their webs, between boxes in cellars, behind cupboards, in attics, near window openings and in spots that are relatively undisturbed.

Simon added: "If they come across any small opening, they can easily get in. Some people say you can stop spiders using conkers but after a short time they dry up and nothing will repel them fully. The best you can do is make sure there aren't any leaky pipes or openings."

If you do come across a spider, ignore it. They are doing a service by eating flies. If you can't just leave them, get the classic glass and piece of card combo and pop them outside.

WHAT TO DO THIS WEEK

Clip hornbeam, beech, Leyland cypress and thuja hedges before mid-September.

Harvest greenhouse tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and cucumbers

Check plants such as roses and honeysuckles for powdery mildew and try to improve the growing conditions by soaking the ground with water and giving them a high potash feed.

Support tall-growing clumps of perennial asters including Michaelmas daisies, which are starting to flop now the flowers are out.

As rows in the veg plot become vacant, refill them with sowings of fast-growing varieties of carrots, peas and turnips, as well as lettuce and baby spinach leaves for salads

Get your compost heap in order. Autumn clearing generates a lot of waste for the heap.

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BELLS OF SPRING BALL Plant tulip bulbs in autumn

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 5, 2015
Words:561
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