Autumn. It's finally starting to cool down here in the UK after a most horrendously hot summer. Yuck! Yesterday was unseasonably warm and muggy, and the heat held out until late last night when we had the most amazing thunderstorm. The pressure in the air instantly dissipated and the temperature dropped, it was quite lovely. But still most nights we have to keep the bedroom window wide open because our bedroom is the warmest room in the house, thus leaving us vulnerable to bugs. I'm not overly keen on most bugs, particularly the crane flies that seem to have bombarded us in the past week, but my worst fear is the spiders. I have been thinking of writing about this for a little while now, and have finally built up the courage to do it (just thinking about spiders makes me feel icky, and seeing photos make me panic) in the hopes that discussing them at length will help me get over the fear a little bit. I've wanted to try and do something about my phobia for years, but really would just rather not think about it at all. This is the most in depth look I have ever taken at spiders and their kind, even reading about them creeps me out.
I had a couple of traumatic incidents with them as a child, and have been afraid of them most of my life as a result. Just lately it seems as though everyone is spider obsessed again, as apparently the hot weather we experienced during the summer has produced some unusually large house spiders. Shudder. I've been growing increasingly paranoid about my chances of encountering a spider lately, as usually when I haven't had an 'incident' for a while I know I must be due to see one soon. And this time of year is the most likely time to encounter one because they are all making their way into our homes for the winter.
It's a funny thing really, to find them so scary. They make for wonderful imagery and are pretty goth if you ask me! Ha. Plus, the are actually very cool when you think about it. They way they can spin a web and use it to their own advantage to take care of all those other nasty bugs we don't want around the house is quite useful. Almost all spiders are venomous, because they are all predators that use venom to subdue their prey. This is because they cannot digest solid food, so they must use a digestive enzyme to turn their victims into a digestible liquid form.
However big and scary house spiders can appear, the ones you usually see scuttling across the carpet or climbing out of the plughole in the bath are more likely to be the males, who are smaller than the females. The females are usually in their web or nest waiting for a male spider to come along, although its quite likely that she will eat him before he has a chance to identify himself. Which is why they must use courtship rituals from a safe distance, for example the jumping spider will perform an elaborate dance to attract the attention of the female.
I was going to try and include some pictures in this post, but I just couldn't bear to even look at them! Just doing this teeny bit of research was pushing my limits, and it took me a little while to write because I could only write in by the light of day... pathetic I know! But maybe now I'm a teeny bit closer to feeling ok about spiders in general. I don't mind them living with me, I'd just rather not know they were there.