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Spider season: Are sex-crazed arachnids invading your home for hook ups?

Spider in bedroom Image copyright Getty Images

You wake up. It's autumn. You're in bed, it's nice. But what's that black thing on your pillow? You focus your eyes. It's a spider. A big one.

The good news: It didn't come crawling through the window.

The bad news: It's been hiding in your house all year, eating bugs, getting fat - and now, he's feeling horny.

"The ones we see scuttling around in the house - they're usually the male house spiders," entomologist, author and self-proclaimed 'bugman' Richard Jones tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

"The ones you see running across the carpet in front of you freaking you out, most often it'll be a male out on some sort of amorous pursuit."

He'll have been born in your home in the spring, hidden somewhere dark all year and now, throbbing with lust, he's ready to mate before winter.

"They're more mobile than the other sedentary females. And that's why we see them at this time of year."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Driven by their raging libido, male spiders often fall into the bath and can't climb out again

House spiders are descended from species that come from the Mediterranean or North Africa, which is why they like living in our warm, dry homes and won't be found building webs in the garden.

Those ones have no interest in coming indoors.

"The garden spiders are looking very big and obvious at the moment - but they remain outdoor creatures, and they do not invade our houses," says Richard.

Although he does say it's "highly likely" that if a house spider or daddy-long-legs does come crawling in through your window, it's because one of your neighbours has chucked it out of theirs.

Spider myths: Busted

Despite the myths, spiders don't deliberately crawl into our mouths when we're asleep, they don't lay eggs in humans and in the UK, most spiders couldn't even bite you if they wanted to.

"Most of them just cannot get their jaws open wide enough to bite a human finger," Richard says.

"It's a bit like somebody trying to take a bite out of a basketball.

"And even if the spiders could open their jaws that big, their fangs are just not powerful enough to penetrate our tough, leathery human skin."

There are exceptions, of course. You might have heard about the false widow spiders which can bite and, in some cases, shut down schools.

But you'd have to really get on their nerves to make them attack.

"They can give you a nip but only really if you pick it up between finger and thumb," Richard says.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Catch it in a glass and toss it out the window - but a house spider will want to get back indoors

"If you've got one running across you - or you hold it in the palm of your hand, then they're not threatened. They don't realize they're under attack and so they won't bite."

Those are rare, but it's almost certain that all of us - no matter how much you hoover beneath the sofa - have a load of house spiders in our homes waiting to get out of the shadows and start having spider-sex under your furniture and on the good plates.

"I think even the cleanest, smallest house will have a good 20 to 40 spiders," says Richard.

That's probably manageable for most but what if you live in an older home? You've probably got thousands of eight-legged houseguests.

"Old Victorian houses like mine - with lots of little cracks and crevices and places for things to get in - I wouldn't be at all surprised if we're well into four figures."

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