People across the UK are looking around their offices and homes carefully these days, as sightings of false widow spiders are rapidly increasing. More and more people are looking for pest control to keep the numbers down.
In large part, this is due to the milder winters we have experienced over the last couple of years.
The false widow spider is being cited as one of the most feared spiders found in Britain today and is being spotted more frequently.
Once the spider has reached its maximum size, they are ready to breed and begin searching for a mate. This is when they are most likely to enter buildings accidentally, usually between the autumn months of September and October.
The milder winter weather over the last few years has led not only to a growth in the number of spiders but has resulted in the spiders being more active than usual.
While authorities have stated that nowadays you are far more likely to come across spider intruders, they have emphasised that the majority of these spiders do not bite people.
The best way to protect yourself from these spiders is to regularly clean your office or home so it is free of all potential food sources for the spider.
What are False Widow Spiders
Also known by their Latin name Steatoda, there are several species found in Britain, all so-called ‘false widow’ spiders.
False widow spiders tend not to make nests. Each individual widow spider makes a scaffold web with which it catches prey of insects.
Three types tend to live in or near buildings, Steatoda bipunctata. These are widespread, probably occurring in every household and building in the country and are harmless to humans.
Steatoda grossa are widespread and are found in the southwest of the UK. Though you will not tend to find them in the north and east.
The Steatoda nobilis, which gets the press for biting people, these are found in attics, cellars, under staircases and other quiet, dark places where they’re unlikely to be disturbed.
The false widow spiders can be difficult to spot, typically being between a quarter of an inch, to half an inch in size.
To spot a false widow, they can be identified by their dark bodies with a white or cream coloured area on the abdomen which can resemble a skull.
False widow spiders, a species that arrived in the UK as a stowaway from the Canary Islands, are hardly a new pest. In fact, they’ve been around for over a century, but numbers have increased to the point where they’ve become a problem nationwide.
Are False Widow Spiders Dangerous?
While the spiders may not be quite as dangerous as the notorious black widow spider, which they are sometimes mistaken for, the bite of a false widow can be quite serious.
However, there is no reason for you to be unduly alarmed. The false widow spider is unlikely to bite, with bite being much less common than a bee or wasp sting. The smaller males are not known to bite at all.
The spider is likely to only bite you when it is threatened. It is not an aggressive species but will bite when handled without due care. A large infestation can prove dangerous, so we would recommend you call in a pest control company to remove them if you discover a nest.
The symptoms following a bite range from numbness to swelling and discomfort or in some cases, chest pains. Some people may experience a severe allergic reaction after a bite which will need medical treatment.
For most people, the real risk is suffering a bacterial infection after being bitten.
There have been no recorded fatalities related to the false widow’s bite, since they first arrived in 1879.