Spiders. Scary or just misunderstood?

Wasp Spider
Wasp Spider
Harvestman
Harvestman
House Spider
House Spider
Orb Weave
Orb Weave

Common Spiders Of The British Isles.

It's that time of year again, when the nights begin to draw in, and people are beginning to cuddle up on the sofa, closing the windows because of the chill air. Or maybe going out in the twilight dusk, for a meal, you know normal things that you do at this time of the year. But not me. oh, no.

I have spent the last three evenings rushing around my house, brandishing a mop, doing the one thing that many women, and a few men are scared to do. The sounds that you can hear from the quiet of my home consist of a few squeeks, a few yeeks and and the occasional scream. Followed quickly by the thump of the mop hitting Terra fir ma. Yes it's that month of the year once again.

Spider month.

Now I know there's a few of you out there that will say, don't be silly, they won't hurt you, blah blah blah. Okay, so you come and pick them up then!

I can't help being terrified at the sight of a big brown or black monster charging across the floor, usually in my direction, when I have just settled down to watch television, And the funny thing is, it always seems to be when I am alone. Which is just typical. Last night I managed to surround it with lots of books and pieces of cardboard, hemming it in, so when it decided to run, it could only go one way. toward me, but this time I was armed and ready, aha.

Come on then you little monster, I'm not scared of you, I said, when actually I was shaking from head to toe.

How stupid is that? Anyway, eventually it was on the mop, hopefully still alive, as I don't like killing any creature, and being launched over my balcony. I just hope there was nobody down below. I don't think there was, I didn't hear any screams, thankfully.

Anyway, in the cold light of day, I decided that I wasn't going to be beaten, and clutching my camera and notebook, I decided that to stop fearing something, I would confront it, and read up a bit about them.

And I was fascinated.

Some of the species of spider are so pretty it amazed me. Walking along the river, looking at the hedgerows, I came across some fascinating small spiders, living within the leaves and casting their webs across the small twigs and flowers. The morning light made the webs shine, and the dew was still wet on them, making it look like white frosting.

Turning to my spider book, I discovered that these were called Garden cross spiders, or more commonly known as orb spiders. Araneus diadematus is the Latin name. They build a wheel like web. The female has an abdomen the size of a pea. and the colours are pretty amazing too. They can be red, yellow brown and orange. and the abdomen always has a design int the shape of a white cross. There is also one called the four spotted orb, which is slightly darker.

After spending about ten minutes staring at this one, and getting a few strange looks from strangers, I was quite pleased with myself. Obviously these weren't as scary as the common house spider, and more importantly they couldn't jump out of the web and run after me!

In fact by this time, I was beginning to be quite fond of it. I think the reason was, that I realised that they were very clever little things, the way they made their web was amazing. They mended and weaved, and if there was any sagging web, they just spun a bit more and repaired it. I left before it ate it's dinner. I wasn't quite ready for that.

Evidently there is also another orb web spider called the Wasp spider. It has a fat bottom and black yellow and white stripes across it's back. It's not very common though. Evidently it has only been here for a few decades. it's Latin name is Argiope bruennich.

Another spider that came across was the Nursery web spider. I had seen one before, they tend to stay on the ground and hunt among the long grass and hedges in the countryside. Their body length is p to 1.5cm and they have a long leg span. They look smooth, and are a dark butter colour, with a pale beige stripe down the centre of their backs, and a white stripe down their sides. The two sets of legs at the front and the two at the back are held together, so it looks as though they only have four legs, until you get up close. I did, but not that close! Reading the book, it said that the male spider offers the female an insect meal wrapped in silk before he mates with her. This stops her eating him. Nice!

By this time I was beginning to quite like the sweet little things. Well, I was on the way to liking them.

Not quite there yet, though.

One day in my kitchen, I can remember jumping in sheer horror, when I reached down to pick up my potato container that I had placed on the floor the day before, and realised that attached to the back of it was a disgusting alien type thing that as soon as it saw me it began to vibrate to such an extent that it frightened the life out of me! I honestly believed that it was going to jump up on me like something out of the film Alien. I was terrified! I can honestly say that I have never seen a spider do that before.

This turned out to be the Daddy long legs spider.Pholcus phalangiodes. This clever little thing will start to vibrate and shake it's web energetically to such an extent that it becomes a blur. This is to stop it being eaten. Since I have discovered what it is, I am now quite blasé about it. In fact I have got one above my head right now as I type this. Brave eh?(I'll take it out later). I am sure most people will know what this looks like, but just to make sure I will describe it. It has long gangly hair like legs, and a small body, it usually lives under the stairs or in my case, the corner of the living room. He or she sits on an almost invisible tangle of silk. The adult female will carry her eggs around with her, and she clutches them like a bunch of grapes. If you see one, blow on the web, it is fascinating to watch them vibrate.

I dont't know about you, but the idea of going into the garden shed, makes my heart pound and I walk in trying to look at the floor, the walls and the stuff stored in there all at the same time. If something moves, even if it is a leaf blowing in the wind, I turn and sprint up the garden, straight indoors, and don't come out until I've calmed down. I know I'm a coward, it's so liberating to admit that! But what I was going to say was, in the corner of the shed is usually lurking a rather gangly spider, that seems to wobble as it sprints towards you. And It can run fast. (But not as fast as me!) It is the Harvestman. Brazilian name, giro mundo, which means speed. That's my nick name from now on! These spiders appear towards the end of the summer onwards. There family name is called Opiliones. There are 23 species in Britain. The funny thing is, they are not of the spider family at all, even thought they have eight legs, but they do come from the Arachnid family, like scorpions and ticks. They have no poison glands, they are not able to produce silk, and they have a button like body, which is singular, unlike the normal spiders. So, as they are not theoretically spiders, I have no reason to run. Much.

Have you ever leaned on a wall, and realised that something is moving right by your fingers? yep, so have I. This is a mesh web spider, they live in holes on walls and fences. They line their holes with a silk lining, and their front doors with a small net like web. This is the trap that catches the prey. The insects that fly or crawl into it, get trapped. The spider catches it easily.

So we come to the final spider. That horrible nasty smelly thing that rushed across my floor, and scares me half to death. The common house spider. It is one of the largest in Europe, (yeah, I know!). Their webs are secretive and triangular in shape. I have just discovered that they have small leg like limbs near the head, that are tipped with clubs, they resemble boxing gloves! Oh, great. Now I have to turn into Muhammad Ali, just to fight the horrible thing! Evidently, these are like sexual glands filled with sperm, that are only possessed by the males! ( That's why men take up boxing, I can see the connection! at least now I know where to kick them, the spiders, not the men!)

So, there you are.

Fascinating eh? so now you know that when you are legging it out of the back door, scared to death looking like a screaming banshee, at least you'll have some sort of dignity by being able to name them, when you calm down. Oh, and I thought I'd better tell you, the photo's are not mine. I am not that brave.

Sleep tight, and don't let the bed bugs, or spiders, bite.

Daddy Long Legs Spider
Daddy Long Legs Spider
Nursery Web Spider
Nursery Web Spider

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Comments 61 comments

diogenes 7 years ago

Sounds like another spider convert? They are fascinating and wish us no ill will (in Britain anyway). My favourite are the garden spders which look like jewels in the morning dew. Nice hub.

Bob


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 7 years ago from England Author

Thank you for your comments. I'm not sure if I am converted just yet, but I do find that since I wrote this hub and have studied them more, Instead of running away, I tend to tell everybody now that I know what it is and why it has stripes or crosses etc on it's back! I think it is like anything, if you try and find out about something, the fear goes because you see it more as interesting than scary. I hope! Thanks again Nell


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Nell Rose, I share both your awe at the beauty of some of these creatures and also your hesitation about embracing them (so to speak).

Thanks for the fascinating, entertaining, and educational tour of your adventures into the land of spiders. Thumbs up!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 7 years ago from England Author

Hiya, thanks for reading about my adventures into the world of spiders! As i said i don't mind the one's that are pretty and outside! but those horrible house spiders have been chasing me around my kitchen now for the past two months and they seem to be following me, everywhere i go they seem to be there! I'm sure they know what i think of them. roll on the winter! ah peace! thanks again Nell


LizzyBoo profile image

LizzyBoo 7 years ago from Czech Republic

ahh girl! I am getting mad about spiders again. I tought I got over it. lol. Even with my 3 tarantulas I am afraid of spiders. Thanks for very informative hub. Lizzy


D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

Very informative hub and interesting read. Excellent!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 7 years ago from England Author

Hi, Lizzyboo, you've got tarantulas arghhhhh!!!I think that says it all! thanks for your comment and Hi, D.A.L thanks for reading, but I still hate the little darlings!! cheers Nell


Chris Friend 6 years ago

My Mother had a love/hate relationship with spiders. She was a seamstress and Arachne was a weaver. Mom liked to put up spiders and spider webs at Halloween. But they creeped her out as well.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, Chris, thanks for popping over. I still don't like spiders, but I am not quite so scared now (she says, as she runs screaming up the stairs just because of an orb weave on the window!) No seriously, I am much happier having them around now. Thanks again Nell


Chris Friend 6 years ago

But there is so much great folklore about them such as Arachne and as weavers of fate.The spider as the symbol of the goddess is kind of cool.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, Chris, Yea I like all the folklore, but I think it was the fact that so many spiders invade my home around September, that I get fed up with trying to catch them, and not scream at the same time. But I will try and see them for what they are, Just small creatures that don't hurt you. cheers Nell


Chris Friend 6 years ago

They maybe trying to get into a warm home due to the cming cold. Little dickens.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

There always seem to be so many, though! I hope you have a good Christmas, and thanks for writing. Nell


franki79 6 years ago

you know, spiders I'm not too afraid I don't like them b/c of the recluse, I'll kill a spider in my house, better safe than sorry. Wantta hear the really messed up thing? I'm horried by slugs,,,, I have no idea why. I admit I'm a coward when it comes to them, I'm pretty sure it's the mere thought of becoming ones host,,, know what I mean??? I won't go anywhere near them (unless of course I'm armed with a big box of salt. Great hub


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Ha Ha, You have a symbiant. You watch SG sg1? yeah seriously I know what you mean, 'orrible slimy yuck!! Thanks for stopping by! Cheers nell


Cleanclover profile image

Cleanclover 6 years ago from Piece of land!

I dont like spiders but wont see them getting hurt either.

Did you know the banana spider of brazil is the most poisonous one. It can kill a human.


Daniel V. profile image

Daniel V. 6 years ago from Romania

I am fascinated by my extreme fear of spiders of any kind and I have no idea what triggers it. I think I would even fear the new-found vegetarian spider, although it looks a little funny :)

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/10/09...


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, cleanclover, I am not sure what that looks like, but if it has got eight great big eyes and eight legs then it is a mutant looking horrible thing. I always wash bananas even over here in England, as the horrible little things get caught up in the packages brought over. yuck! cheers Nell


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi Daniel, I love the way you always put links, it's great. I think it is because originally they were probably about ten feet long with enormous fangs, and we have got them in our subconcious!! from years ago.... cheers nell


Daniel V. profile image

Daniel V. 6 years ago from Romania

Or maybe because in another life I might have been the *husband* of the black widow :p


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Ha Ha, yeah Daniel, could well be! I think it was with me, the fact that a spider fell on my bed when I was little, and the spider looked about the size of a melon! thanks again. Nell


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

I've been bitten several times by black widow spiders. Still, I'm not afraid of spiders, but all the men in my family are!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi habee, Oh my God! you've been bitten? I thought they were lethal, but obviously not. but I bet it was painful. And you say that you are not afraid of them. Actually you are right of course, why be scared of a normal spider after that? wow your brave!! I would have died from shock anyway! cheers Nell


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

Ive probably been bitten so many times I'm immuned, but I have no fear, my daughter is terrified. Their webs are the most beautiful things I have ever seen and not that often and of course I wouldn't have a camera on me!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, Pollyannalana, Yuck! Bitten? ouch. I am lucky that the spiders over here don't bite because they are not that big. Well I don't think they bite!!... ha ha thanks for reading. cheers nell


Martin V 6 years ago

Very informative hub and interesting read


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, Martin, thank you for your comment, and I am glad you liked it. cheers nell


Freya Cesare profile image

Freya Cesare 6 years ago from Borneo Island, Indonesia

Launched spider from your balcony? Ah, Nell, she surely will coming back to you in no time! Hiiiii!!! Here we have spiders all year long but luckily all spiders I ever seen only the small one. Happy spiders day, Nell! I am not envy you at all. Trust me. Lol


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, Freya, thanks for reading it, I do like them really! no I don't ha ha It always seems to happen about August time, when the spiders start to come in. thanks again nell


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Hey Nell thank you for this very informative and interesting read. Everything is in the eyes of the beholder I am not particularly partial to spiders and snakes, yet when I was much younger I use to bravely keep some as pets. Today older that I am I am more scared of them. They are both very interesting creatures and actually do so much to ward of insects that destroy our gardens. Just got to be careful how you handle the poinsneous ones. Great hub...peace and hugs


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, saddlerider, nice to see you, I still hate spiders! but luckily we don't get many snakes over here, only the adder, and I haven't seen one yet! thank goodness. thanks as always nell


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

We also have spider season here in Texas. They build their webs in amazing time and by morning when I go out on the back porch my hair catches on a web or two. yikes.

The house spider you've shown here looks like the Brown Recluse Spider which has a violin shape on its back. VERY dangerous - their bite is notably BAD. I've seen some of these around here. For them, no mercy.

Love the humor in your writing and I will be back to read more of your work.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, PegCole, lol I can see you hate them too! I can put up with them as long as they are about 20ft away from me, but if they start running I am out of there! we don't have poisonous ones over here, thank goodness! ha ha they wouldn't have to bite me, I would faint anyway. Thanks again nell


maggs224 profile image

maggs224 6 years ago from Sunny Spain

I am not keen on them in the house but I love to see them out in the countryside. I took the dog out for a walk today and took a couple of photos of a spider that looks somewhat like the wasp spider.

I am trying to upload the photo to Redgage so that you can see it but I am having all sorts of trouble with uploading it is so frustrating.

I loved the hub I will be back to read more I have rated this hub up.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, maggs, thanks so much for reading this, I wrote it last year when I was inundated with the horrible house spiders! lol I have just gone over to take a look at your spiders and they are fantastic photos, I also love the other insect ones too! you are really good at photos I tend to be a bit impatient and then go and ruin it! ha ha thanks again nell


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

I do not like spiders at all. They are in the hovels of the wretched and in the castles of kings. They are ubiquitous. Scary creatures. Especially the Brown Recluse we have here. Thanks for a fun and interesting read. I hope you got them all. Here they come again!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, James, lol Tell me about it! I just got chased across my living room by a great big leggy beastie! bloody thing! sorry about the swearing it is an English thing, bloody this, bloody that! guvnor! ha ha but seriously it was huge! I know I can't complain as we don't have poisonous ones over here, but trust me, that don't stop 'em being hideous! thanks again nell


theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI

dang, you have some big spiders over there. OK..I do not like spiders one bit but I am a catch and release person...however..these are big and scary in these pictures. SO, as much as I complain about Michigan I guess we have one advantage...smaller spiders. Although we do have the Recluse here that can do some damage but I don't have a clue what they look like. Man, I can't get over these pictures. I have goosebumps. lol


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England Author

Hi, herbi, they aren't that big really, it is just the house spider that looks quite big, it is in fact only about three inches long from front to back, including the legs! I just hate them though! lol thanks again nell


PR Morgan profile image

PR Morgan 5 years ago from Sarasota Florida

great piece! I am not a fan of spiders because I have been bit by them before. But my dog loves to scoop them up in her mouth and bring them inside to play with. They are usually harmless but I hate the idea of having one creep up in my bed!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England Author

Hi, PR, Urghhh! ha ha that would frighten the life out of me having a dog bring them in! in the summer I always check behind the bed before I get in! lol thanks again nell


tsmog profile image

tsmog 5 years ago from Escondido, CA

Great Hub , , ,I read somewhere that Merlin the Magician said spiders are actually spies and should be shunned. But, what of David Bowie's hit Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars , , ,I don't have a problem now a-days with spiders , , ,the hummingbirds here use the webs for nests, so I don't bother most of the time. The only one I have in the house is a pet living on the window sill , , ,it is a jumping spider that loves flies , , ,no flies in my office :) , , ,and Great Pics


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England Author

Hi, tsmog, thanks for reading it, I never knew that hummingbirds used the webs for nests, I am not that keen still on spiders, but I don't jump so far when I see one now! lol cheers nell


ThomasRydder 5 years ago

HAH...you're writing leaves me in stitches!! I had a vision of you lacing on a pair of boxing gloves to go out to the shed and spar for a bit :) TOO cute!! I have loved spiders since I was a boy. Living near the woods, I observed many of them, and have fed quite a few that had their homes in our huge rose bushes. Here we have a couple pretty bad ones-the black widow and the brown recluse. Both will get you plenty sick, although generally not fatal. But my favorite is the wolf spider. doesn't spin a web...it's large and incredibly fast...and hunts its prey on the ground. Sweet dreams!! :)TR


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England Author

Hi, Ughhhh! lol I hate them! revolting looking mutant eight eyed beasties! You are braver than me, and we don't even have poisonous spiders over here! If I see one heading my way this year, I am going to get the spray, mop and a huge boot to squash it! politically correct for the spider or not, tough! ha ha luckily I haven't seen any indoors this year, maybe they are hiding, or probably crawling up the back of my seat right now.....! NO!


ThomasRydder 5 years ago

We love them down here in South Carolina...we have every flying insect known to man, and they all bite, it seems. Spiders, lizards, and small snakes all feast year 'round here.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England Author

Hi, I repeat ughhh! ha ha mind you I don't mind other things, like flying insects or even crawly ones, just not spiders! mutant beasts! I think that's what it is, its the eyes! lol nothing should have eight eyes, its just wrong in a spooky Alien V Predator sort of way!!


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

Eeeek! I do NOT like walking into a spider web. So annoying! Just thought I'd share that. I also never want to see a Brown Recluse. They burrow into the skin. Ouch! I don't want to see any spider. Period. You have concocted one awesome web about spiders! :)


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

LOL! Thanks Linda! Eeeeek indeed! Haha! I deliberately tried to be not scared of them when taking photos etc, but they still gave me the uck factor! but they are so clever! just don't let them be clever near me! Thanks!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 3 years ago from North Texas

Spiders can be fascinating can't they? As you may know I home schooled my daughter and one thing we did as a science project was to keep a collection of different kinds of spiders for a few days and observe them. We fed them and watered them an learned some interesting things about spiders.

Here in Texas spiders can get pretty big. The two most poisonous are the black widow spider and the brown recluse. The brown recluse will make you very sick it if bites and necrosis will ensue often requiring cosmetic surgery. Some people die as a result of the recluse bite, but usually it is when they have been bitten around the head area, when they are old and feeble, have a chronic disease, of if they are very young -- babies and toddlers. Recluses often bite people in bed as they sleep.

The black widow's bite is more poisonous than the recluse and more deaths occur as a result.

An especially good photo of the garden spider.

A good read for Halloween . . . Voted up!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England Author

Thanks Au Fait, I am glad I live in England, those spiders sound terrifying! but it is a great idea to show your children the differences in the spiders, we have a new one over here called the False Widow, its pretty nasty, and it seems to be spreading all over Britain! thanks so much for reading, nell


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

Spiders are scary. No ifs, ends or buts. I once swatted a spider and hundreds of tiny little egg looking thingys came pouring out of it...that was a sight I'd rather forget.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Hi Linda, Ew! lol! that would have given me nightmares for weeks! ugh! she says shivering! haha! thanks for that horrible thought! Have a wonderful Easter! nell


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 2 years ago from North Carolina

Misunderstood except in places like Arizona where the Black Widows often cause great pain due to the geography. Scorps freak me out more, even the harmless ones lol! Fear factor TV show where they pour hundreds on peeps- forget it.;-)


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Hi Alastar, lol! yes I think I was just thinking of the ones in England, if I moved anywhere else i would freak out! thanks as always, nell


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 2 years ago

As long as the spiders eat the bugs, I am good.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England Author

Hi poetry, lol! yep same here! thanks for reading, nell


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 20 months ago from sunny Florida

Great hub, Nell. I chuckled and nodded a lot while I read this. I cans so identify with so much of what you say. I am so amazed and awed by their beauty of so many of them and the webs...they are some fancy pieces of art work on display, free of charge, for us to view

It was fun reading your spidery diary :D

Angels are on the way this morning

Other will like to read this

Voting up+++++ and shared ps


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 20 months ago from New York

Nell, I always know when I read one of your hubs I'm going to enjoy it and often get a laugh. This one was right up there. You had me chuckling while I was learning about your spiders.

I'm not too familiar with spiders here, by name, but do know the daddy long legs. We were taught as kids to pick him up by one leg and fling him away. It works well.

The pictures you gathered are great. I hope your fear of spiders has mellowed a bit since you wrote this and/or you're not seeing too many around. Can't have you running and screaming like a banshee all over England!

Voted up, useful, funny, and interesting.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 20 months ago from England Author

Hiya, thanks ps, lol, yes those darn spiders! I still don't like some of them, but others don't bother me now, I have one living in my kitchen up in the corner by the window, I call him harry! lol!


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 20 months ago from England Author

Hi mary, LOL! yep that's me the English banshee! it is when I see one of those huge ones charging towards me waving their horrible black legs! lol! thanks as always, nell

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