What has eight legs, fangs, and likes to bite? Spiders! And if you think you’ve seen more of these creepy crawlies lately, you’d be right.

“You could be sitting at your kitchen and hear the pitter patter of little feet on linoleum and look down and see a giant house spider,” explains Dr. Robb Bennett, a researcher and entomologist at the Royal BC Museum. “We have several very large spiders in Victoria and they can scare people.”

It’s spider season but that doesn’t mean increased numbers of arachnids. Spider experts say we just notice them more heading into fall. They started their life cycle very small in the spring, but now mature males are out on the prowl — and looking for love.

“We use an analogy, it’s kind of like downtown over a week,” says Bennett. “It’s very quiet on a Monday night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night, Thursday night and Friday night all of a sudden you have a bunch of newly mature males running around looking for mates.”

But all too often, they’re looking for love in the wrong places and end up inside — which can make some people a little “buggy.”

“I hate spiders!” one arachnophobic woman told CHEK News. “They’re creepy, crawly and I don’t like them.”

“I’m not a huge fan of them but I’m not petrified either,” one man said. “I’m not going to jump on a table but I don’t like seeing them in my house.”

There are around 900 species of spiders here in B.C. and while almost all produce venom to kill prey, there’s only one type that can be toxic to humans — and there are lots of them in Greater Victoria.

Black widows, famous for their red belly marking and deadly bite, can be found all over the Capital Regional District, the Gulf Islands and Vancouver beaches.

“They have a demonstrably dangerous venom but the likelihood of them biting is extremely remote,” says Bennett. “There are huge populations of them here but we almost never hear of bites.”

Island View Beach in Central Saanich has one of the largest populations anywhere. The spiders hide under the driftwood, hoping not to be disturbed.

As for the unwanted interlopers that get inside, they’re harmless and experts say they should be taken back outside where they’re more likely to have some romantic success.

To learn more, click on this link to the Royal BC Museum’s learning portal.

Tess van Straaten