Brits have been warned of the dangers of false widow spiders which could be invading our homes as spider mating season approaches.

Spiders usually start to come out in early September, with their presence noticeable in homes until around mid-October. After this, they tend to be spotted indoors less often.

Female spiders are known to stay in one place for all of their lives, but males are always on the move.

During spider mating season, the males will go searching for females and often find them inside homes, which is why you may notice more of them over the next couple of months.

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In the UK, there are more than 650 different species of spider and while all of them can bite, only 12 can cause harm to humans.

One of those is the false widow spider, and according to the Natural History Museum, being bitten by one can feel like a wasp sting.

False Widows have long been established in the UK with first recorded siting in the UK coming in the 1870s, although their numbers multiplied in the 1980s, particularly in the southern counties.

The Natural History Museum says the spider was first sighted in Dorset, Hampshire and Devon but can now be found as far north as Scotland.

Pest control expert Clive Boase told the Daily Mail: “The population of false widows in the UK is growing all the time. In fact, people don't realise just how common they have become.

“There are half-a-dozen different species of the false widow and they can survive both indoors and outdoors. They prefer suburban areas and are most commonly found around domestic and commercial premises.

“They love conservatories and toilet blocks, window frames, porches, lofts and garages and they like to live beneath kitchen appliances and cupboards.

“They are generally shy creatures and won't come out into the open, but they could crawl into curtains or perhaps clothing left on the floor.

“Bites usually result from handling the spider roughly or perhaps having it trapped between clothing and skin.”

What do false widow spiders look like?

False widow spiders have shiny, black bodies and can be as big as a 50p coin. They have round bodies and will have markings resembling skulls on their abdomens.

How can I keep spiders out?

If you are keen to keep the eight-legged creatures out of your home, there are a few things you can try to deter them from creeping inside.

Avoid clutter

Spiders love seeking refuge in dark, damp and cluttered places, so ensuring your house is kept clean can keep them away.

Be sure to vacuum and dust regularly, and store things away in plastic-lid boxes rather than cardboard, to prevent the critters gaining access.

Let natural light in

Avoid leaving the blinds or curtains closed during the day, or for prolonged periods when you are away from home as spiders love the dark.

Use essential oils

Spiders ‘smell’ with their legs, so strong scents will deter them from leaving their nooks and crannies.

Tea tree, rose, cinnamon, citrus, peppermint, citronella, lavender and eucalyptus are good oils to try – make sure you spray corners, window sills and skirting boards, and replenish regularly.

Draw some chalk lines

Spiders taste with their feet and they don’t like chalk, so drawing a line around window sills, your bed, or doorways, will deter them from crossing.

Seal any cracks

Seal up any little cracks in walls, floors and ceilings that spiders could use for access.

Keep foliage away from your house

Avoid allowing plants to grow too close to your home to creep as spiders will hide away in them.

Leaf litter and accumulating wood piles also make for great spider hiding places, so be sure to keep your outdoor space tidy.

Don’t use conkers

There is no evidence that conkers are effective at keeping spiders out.

Other strong aromas are likely to work better, such as garlic or vinegar.