Hey, at least it has got people noticing spiders. Several of the anxious requests for identification here are from people concerned that they have seen a spider. (!) Two of the species noticed are Zygiella x-notata and Areaneus diadematus. You would have thought that they were hard to miss. Zygiella peeps out of the corner of every window in the country and A. diadematus swarms everywhere, including gardens, in the autumn and is a big spider. Now they are being noticed apparently for the first time by people who were born longer than a year ago. All I can say is "WELCOME TO PLANET EARTH!" What it must be to have lived here for years and only now have the blinkers taken off. Yes, it must be scary as well. That clearly explains some of the panic.
Having said all that I am wondering what people actually see and think about if it is not spiders. That is surely a challenge for all of us in the BAS to come to terms with!