Is Your Home Currently Full of Spiders? Here’s Why

Huntsman spider

Summer brings with it a whole heap of opportunities for fun experiences. It’s perfect weather for lazing  at the beach, enjoying a barbeque with friends, and having your home over run by insects and spiders.

The last one is a quintessentially Aussie experience, particularly for those living in share houses with limited access to pest control or regular home maintenance. Even if this doesn’t describe your experience, you’ve no doubt noticed the annual boom in spiders and other creepy crawlies has been more savage than usual this year.

Posts such as the one below have been flooding spider identification pages on Facebook with curious and concerned people sharing stories of their new and unexpected housemates.

“That’s his car now” / Facebook

A woman from Sydney shared this particularly horrifying experience which was met online with calm, measured responses to “burn the house down” and “seal that room with cement”. Arachnophobes look away, this is nightmare fuel.

Scenes like this are happening more frequently – though hopefully, not to that extent – because the high humidity brought by the La Niña weather system currently trashing our summer plans is perfect for spiders.

That’s according to one expert, Dr Robert Raven of the Queensland Museum.

“Spiders go looking for milder environments in terms of heat and humidity. So inside a house it’s usually good. There’s usually some water around and they’ll gravitate to that,” he told the ABC.

“What we call houses, they call caves. We generate these wonderful situations which emulate what they find in the bush — hanging paintings on walls, absolutely fantastic. Great, narrow spaces for them.”

Dr Raven said the infestations may be more than a coincidence after Sydney experienced a heatwave followed by rain this week. The resultant humidity, combined with low air pressure, is apparently the perfect storm for spiders.

“Low pressure is one of the triggers for emergence from the egg sac,” Dr Raven said.

According to him, the huntsman spider, in particular, is a great fan of low-pressure weather systems. The large, often brown or grey spiders can have a leg span of up to 15cm and, as their name would suggest, don’t stay put in webs, preferring instead to scamper about the house in search of prey.

They are famous for their abilities to appear suddenly, evade capture through their unnaturally speedy run, and vanish into the night by the time you locate a glass and a piece of paper – or a can of Mortein for the less empathetic among us.

At least we can be thankful we don’t live in Laos, where a related species, the Giant Huntsman, can grow to twice the size as our spiders.

It’s a good idea to be on the lookout for any new guests as humid weather conditions continue, particularly in cars where spiders have been known to cause accidents by making themselves known at extremely inconvenient times.

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