On the plus side many parts of Britain are looking forward to 77F temperatures this Bank Holiday weekend.
But just be aware that if you decide to stay indoors, you might be sharing your home with a few more eight-legged friends – after the recent wet weather has caused ‘spider season’ to start a few weeks earlier than normal.
The arachnids usually start to seek shelter in September but they are moving in earlier this year because of the washout summer. There are also more of them because their prey is getting stuck to their webs by the raindrops.
Many of the spiders that come into our homes are males in search of a mate and also thought to be attracted by the warmth. One family home was invaded by giant spiders so big that they set off their burglar alarm.
Forecasters say there will be a traditional mixed bag of weather this weekend with a distinct North-South divide.
Revellers arrive at Leeds Festival at Bramham Park in West Yorkshire today with Eminem, Kasabian and Muse set to perform
Two girls wear glitter on their faces as they wait for the start of Leeds Festival today over the August bank holiday weekend
Reading and Leeds takes place over the August bank holiday weekend, and hosts a line-up of some of the world’s top bands
Campers in the fields at Bramham Park in Leeds will be hoping for a dry and warm weekend as they enjoy some live music
Largely dry and sunny conditions with maximum temperatures of 77F (25C) are expected to dominate in the South for the three-day weekend. Meanwhile, North West England and Scotland are the areas most at risk of showers.
Today is set to see the most tempestuous weather in the North, with scattered heavy showers in the North West and thunder in Scotland. But the South is forecast to be dry and bright, with sunny spells and patchy clouds.
Scotland and the North West are expected to have ‘various spots’ of cloudy weather tomorrow, with some scattered showers. Sunday will then be a mixed bag across the UK.
Showers in the North West will gradually make their way down to the South of England. Across the country, temperatures will reach a peak of 66F (19C) in the North and 75F (24C) in the South.
Bank Holiday Monday will see the biggest North and South divide, with largely dry and cloudy weather in the South while the North is in for some wet and windy spells.
A Met Office spokesman said: ‘Generally there’s going to be quite a lot of bright and warm weather, especially across the southern half of the UK.
‘On Friday, apart from the extreme northern fringes of Northern Ireland and western Scotland, a fair part of the country should be dry. The same could be said for Saturday – the rain continues to move its way eastward but it’s mostly Scotland.
‘That rain will die away and turn into scattered showers. Sunday is similar, although there could be an isolated heavy shower across central England.
‘The only difference to the weekend comes on Monday when we get a deep, low pressure system moving from the Atlantic that will increase rain and cloud in Northern and Western areas.’
Meanwhile families across Britain have been warned to prepare for a Bank Holiday weekend invasion of millions of huge spiders which are fed up with the weather.
The spiders usually begin their hunt for a mate in late September before scuttling into houses with their babies to spend a winter of warmth and cosiness, but this summer’s wet weather is seeing them invade our homes earlier.
Ironically, if there is rain over the bank holiday, it will boost the spider population. Raindrops trap flies and other prey in cobwebs – with them getting ‘glued’ to the strands without being able to escape.
Andrew Taylor thought his house in Heywood, Manchester, was being raided when he heard his intruder alarm sound – but when he jumped out of bed, he found in fact a cluster of huge spiders had set it off.
His wife managed to safely evict them from the house, which he said has since been ‘spiderproofed’ with peppermint spray, but not before he took a series of chilling photographs of the home invaders.
And some of the spiders invading our homes are venomous false widows, with Michael Barton, of New Romney, Kent, posting a photograph of one, adding: ‘I found it on my gate – I will keep well away from it.’
A giant house spider found this week in Hawkinge, Kent, as Britain prepares for a rush of arachnids this Bank Holiday weekend
A giant house spider found in Canterbury this week (left) and a suspected false widow spider in New Romney, Kent (right)
Andrew Taylor thought his house in Heywood, Manchester, was being raided when he heard his intruder alarm sound – but when he jumped out of bed, he found in fact a cluster of huge spiders had set it off
The bite of a false widow usually only has a mild effect on humans and normally results in symptoms similar to a bee or wasp sting. But the female bites are more severe than the males, and could set off a fever in their victim.
Experts say the species are not normally aggressive towards humans and that bites are rare – however, the spiders may attack if they are caught in clothing, prodded or squashed.
Giant house spiders, pictured this week by horrified residents in Hawkinge and Canterbury, are not only huge, but they are also bolder than the smaller and more common ‘ordinary’ house spiders.
Scientifically known as the Eratigena atrica, they are now in their breeding time until October and are on the lookout for the best place to lay eggs, so it’s not good news for those arachnophobes.
Stacey Pearson from West Derby, Liverpool, found two huge spiders ‘as big as a hand’ in her home last week. The mother said she and her three children were ‘traumatised’ after the monsters appeared in their home.
She took a video of one after catching it in a glass when it crawled out of her sink, saying: ‘I had my hand in the sink to do the dishes and the next minute it just came from nowhere.
Three revellers at Leeds Festival take some time out on the grass at Bramham Park today before the event gets underway
Some 60,000 people are at Leeds Festival for the annual three-day event that will feature Bastille and Major Lazer this year
People queue at a drinks stall at Leeds Festival at Bramham Park before the music gets underway today
Stepped up security checks are being carried out at Leeds Festival in West Yorkshire this weekend on people at the site
‘It must have come up the drain but honestly I have no idea how it fitted through that plug hole.’ She pictured the spider the second after it was caught crawling up her seven-year-old son’s bedroom wall.
Earlier this month father Richard Cousins had a horrifying close encounter with a false widow in the shower.He shrieked as one Britain’s most poisonous spiders emerged and crawled inches from his bare flesh.
At least a wet summer means a pretty autumn!
There might be one positive Britons can draw from the decidedly damp summer.
The Forestry Commission claims the wet weather has speeded up trees’ sugar production – the process which colours leaves.
This should create a fantastic display of vibrant autumn leaves lasting well into winter, the experts say.
The 50-year-old from Cambourne, Cambridgshire, was having his usual evening shower when terror stalked in. He thought at first it was a harmless house spider and was about to pick it up to put it out of the window.
He said: ‘I am used to the big ones but this one just looked dodgy, so I put it in the sink and thought I’d better take a picture and share it. I looked it up online and it’s definitely a false widow.
‘We were talking about them the other day because we know someone who ended up in hospital when they were bitten by one – then I find one in the shower. I have never heard of one here in Cambridgeshire.’
Last month another false widow ‘attacked’ Karla Watkins, of Stanstead Abbotts, Hertfordshire, who was heading for a family day-out. She shuddered and screamed as a false widow spider dangled in front of her.
Her boyfriend, Ian Thompson, 40, ordered her four-year-old son Charlie to stand clear with his nine-year-old son while the couple swept the spider out of the car.
But self-confessed arachnophobe Karla was horrified to see the spider – believed to be the same one – hanging from the same spot in her car two days later.
Swimmers are seen at the Serpentine Lido at Hyde Park in London today as the sun rises ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend
Swimmers go for a dip in the Serpentine in London as forecasters warn of a traditional mixed bag of weather this weekend
Largely dry and sunny conditions with maximum temperatures of 77F are expected to dominate in the South this weekend
The sun rises behind Tynemouth pool at Tynemouth Longsands this morning ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend
Daybreak at the mouth of the Tyne today where the stilted silhouette of Herd Groyne Lighthouse stands against the sunrise
‘I opened the car door and there it was sitting on the hinge – I have a phobia of spiders so I did panic a bit,’ said Ms Watkins. The second time, she made sure it would not return.
‘Armed with spider repellent spray, I just soaked it completely before knocking it over with a straw and stamping on it. I think it was trying to make a home in my car but I thought ‘no, you are being evicted now’.’
How can you rid your home of spiders?
Pest control experts Rentokil provide the following advice on their website:
1) Vacuum regularly, high and low – particularly sheltered spots such as beneath worktops, backs of cupboards or under/behind large furniture.
2) Remove noticeable webs – on a regular basis.
3) Fill in gaps – in walls, around pipework and under doors to deter entry.
4) Remove sheltering sites – like firewood piles, garden bags, compost piles and general clutter from near your property.
5) Deter all insects – use lighting in a way that is less attractive to the insects (flies) that spiders feed on.
Then of course there are the other options, such as using conkers or horse chestnuts to deter spiders.
It’s believed that they give off some form of chemical that repels the eight-legged creatures, so it’s worth popping a few in the corners of the room just incase.
Peppermint oil, tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil is another suggestion.
Simply mix 15-20 drops with water in a standard spray bottle, then spray down the corners, cracks and entrances to your home.
Again it’s thought that spiders hate the smell and will run away from it.
In April mother-of-five Gemma Hunter said she could lose her foot after she was bitten by a false widow spider. The attack left her with a 1.2in-deep hole from the spider’s fangs in her foot, which is now infected with cellulitis.
Ms Hunter, 41, of Rossendale, Lancashire, said her children were calling her ‘zombie foot’ because of the wound and she has lost her job, is being evicted and is now considering amputation to end her ordeal.
Ms Hunter claimed the spider came in through an open window and bit her as shedozed at the bedside of her 16-year-old son, who was poorly and was in hospital.
She said: ‘I woke up at 3.45am, I had seen the spider before but didn’t think anything of it, and saw it on the top of my foot. It looked like a garden spider, it had a pattern on it and its two front legs were longer than the rest.
‘I just lightly shook my foot and it didn’t come off so I reached to brush it off with my left hand which is when doctors think it bit me because I probably aggravated it – it bit me twice in a vein.’
Her foot swelled up days after the bite, which left a hole that became infected with cellulitis – a disease linked to meningitis. The infection became so bad that she ended up hallucinating and she had get it redressed daily.
Pest management consultant Clive Boase said the weather conditions are ideal for a spiders, adding: ‘We’ve had a reasonably warm year with very few cold snaps and that has led to more invertebrates, such as flies, to feed on.
‘It means false widows, as well as many other species of spiders, can continue their development throughout the summer.’
He added: ‘Sightings of spiders often peak from September as males of many species reach adulthood and venture into homes in search of a mate, but we could be seeing a lot more of them than normal over the next month or two.’
False widows – so called because of their resemblance to deadly black widows – have shiny, black, bulbous bodies and often have markings resembling skulls on their abdomens.
Rob Simpson, manager of pest controllers register Basis Prompt, said simple precautions can be taken to reduce the likelihood of false widows.
Keeping homes clean and tidy, sealing up cracks or holes in doors and windows and removing plants or debris from the outside of houses will help.
‘Spiders will have fewer places to hide if you keep clutter to a minimum, so I would say keep your house tidy and vacuum regularly,’ he said.
‘You can spray dark corners of the home with pesticides and there’s an old wives’ tale about placing conkers on window sills, but I’m not sure that works.’
** Have you seen a giant spider in your home in recent days? Please email: [email protected] **