Are our hairy-legged house guests as bad as we think? | Emma Kay

There is nothing worse than entering the bathroom and witnessing a hairy leggy monster in the bathtub before you head to work. But are they as bad as we think?

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 2:21 pm
COVER STORY 1710 spiders rep st/rj PICTURE: Simon Moore Captions: Note the italics for scientific names (very correct!) Tegenaria gigantea - the common House spider. Depite its name it's not the largest (T. parietina or Cardinal spider). This is the one usually found in the bath where it's tiny leg claws cannot get enough grip to enable it to climb out again. They tend to blunder into the bath when foraging at night time and become trapped. They do not live down the plug-hole as is commonly believed, where the pipe is slimey and wet, not a good spider living place at all. This spider is also harmless but is probably most associated with frights due to its size and slight hairyness which some find disturbing. It can also move quickly if frightened and this too, contributes to its 'fright factor'! this included the one in the bath? Yes. With all good wishes, Simon Moore, MIScT, FLS, ACR, Senior Conservator of Natural Sciences. Hampshire County Council, Department of Culture, Communities and Rural Affairs, Museums & Archives Service, Chilcomb House, Chilcomb Lane, Winchester SO23 8RD. UK until end of October 2009, thereafter at [email protected] Internal 8 327 6737 01962 826737 http://www.hants.gov.uk/museum/biology

A quick turn of the tap and if you are lucky, they may crumple up and carry away down into another world beyond the plughole.

The less phobic may deign to produce a helpful cup and tease the creature gently in and chide your for your haphazard spider cruelty only to bodily throw said spider like they are competing in a do or die discus tournament out of the gaping window.

Not to worry though, this persistent airborne spider will find their way back in.

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I'm pretty sure my fiancé has thrown out the same spider seven times before.

One visit for each day of the week. Hooray.I face this common foe most mornings, sitting in the bathtub like a haphazard splotch.

I even have a designated spider cup now ready to fling the intruder out of the window.My house is scented with conkers and peppermint in a desperate bid to drive away potential creepy-crawlies. But are spiders all the horror we paint them out to be?An oddly touching and rather beautiful fossil has been discovered that gives us physical evidence that ancient spiders were pretty amazing mothers.

They guarded their egg sacs with their lives and were exceedingly caring with their young.

This 99 million year old fossil shows an ancient arachnid encased in a frozen tangerine coloured amber tomb, forever preserving her last moments as a monumental mother.

SEE MORE: I microwaved my broccoli and guess what fell out? The tiny spiderlings crouched with her belong to a bygone species of spider known as Lagonomegopidae which are distinguished by their huge reflected eyes.

These nimble nocturnal hunters existed long before the T-Rex. It is really quite incredible to imagine that the common house spider that creeps around our dwellings is a predator and mother millions of years old.How long the tiny spiderlings stuck around dear old mum is unclear, but we should revaluate our opinions of these so-called horrible house guests.

So what about those of us who are not on the internet?

Apps and technology are convenient but they also heavily penalise those without a digital option.

There is a very real disadvantage to those who do not plug in and have access to the internet. Many rely on libraries for internet access for emails, jobs or to simply to pay a bill. Can you imagine your online time being governed by opening hours?

Everyone deserves to be treated fairly and know the best ways to save on their energy bills.

You cannot phone around as comparison services only exist in the digital world.

It can cost £100 more per year to pay by cash or cheque, that is quite a difference!

Energy companies cannot assume everyone has online access.

How do we dry clothes now the rainy season has set in?

It is precipitation for the nation! A swirling mantle of tempest-like rain. Soaking through everything, making the grass sodden and useless.

The wind is a constant force, ripping off the washing with ease and claiming an innocent pair of trousers to the mud and wet. How many of us have had a favourite top lost to the soggy garden?

We suffer and shiver and try to find ways to dry our clothes. It can become one of the biggest chores in the house. When a slither of sunshine comes out, we rush outside in the vain hope of drying our washing. Maybe we could rely on the tumble dryer but ever-increasing energy bills mean we are a bit snookered. What are we supposed to do?

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron

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