Warning over increase in venomous 'false widows' in city
- Credit: Denise Bradley © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC
Venomous spiders sneaking into city homes have prompted an increase in call outs to local pest controllers.
False widow spiders get their names from their far scarier cousins the black widow.
But just because the false widow - which is found throughout the UK - isn't deadly, that doesn't mean it's harmless.
Across the city this summer increasing numbers of the naturalised species have been reported.
But Vanna Bartlett, a city-based entomologist and wildlife artist, warned folk not to try and remove the animals without due care.
The author of illustrated invertebrate alphabet 'Arthropedia' said: “False widows get a lot of bad press.
“These spiders bite and their bites have venom in so they hurt.
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"Very few species of spider in this country are even capable of biting humans in the first place.
"They would only do so if they felt threatened either by being badly handled or if they got trapped in clothing against skin.”
She has also had false widows in her own garden for nine years.
She said: “They don’t appear indoors very often – like nearly all spider species in the UK they don't like living in the dry atmosphere of our centrally-heated homes.
“In hot weather we all tend to leave our doors and windows open and all sorts of invertebrates including spiders then enter our homes - plus it's been even hotter this summer.
"If you've got one in your house then my advice would be not to move it.
"If you have to move it put it in a glass - don't touch it with your bare hands. The only time I've ever been bitten by a spider is when I've been left with no other choice but to handle them."
She added the visitors should be a welcome addition to any garden, explaining: "They are great little predators that eat lots of flies, aphids and other insects that could otherwise become pests.”
She directed concerned folk to Michael Kilner’s summary from the British Arachnological Society.
It reads: "The false widow is the most venomous spider species in the UK.
“It's bite is painful and can cause some swelling and inflammation around the bite site.
“However it is still less venomous than the sting of a common wasp.”