How to spot false widow spiders: What to do if the False Widow spider bites you

Numbers of Britain’s deadliest spider, the False Widow, are thought to be on the rise. Last year the venomous spiders caused havoc on the UK with several schools being forced to temporarily close due to infestations. Experts say the insects are not normally aggressive towards humans and bites are rare, but if the spiders are caught in clothing, prodded or squashed they may give you a nasty nip.

What to do if the False Widow spider bites you

A False Widow spider’s bite usually only cause minor irritation.

However, some stings can be painful and trigger a serious allergic reaction.

The spider’s venom can cause localised pain, minor swelling and, in extreme cases, nausea.

When the insect bites, it releases saliva that can cause the skin around the bite to become red, swollen and itchy.

If you are bitten by the spider the first thing to do is wash the area with soap and water.

A bite spray or antiseptic cream will also help to prevent infection.

But if there’s a lot of swelling and blistering or if there’s pus you could have an infection and it could be wise to seek medical help.

Dial 999 and ask for an ambulance if you experience any of these symptoms after a bite or sting:

  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
  • A fast heart rate
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Confusion, anxiety or agitation

UK Spider invasion

Spider season has begun; take a look at the leggy visitors that have been seen scuttling around your homes recently!

Sally Anne Bunch found this 3

How to identify False Widow spiders

  • Its legs are reddish-orange colour
  • Females range in size from 9.5 to 14mm while males are 7 to 11mm
  • The false widow spider’s body and legs have a glossy appearance
  • The false widow is of medium size with a round, brown body with cream coloured markings
  • Aside from its colouring, the species resembles the black widow spider


What is the False Widow spider?

The False Widow spider is often mistaken for its much more dangerous distant cousin, the Black Widow.

The noble false widow is the most venomous of the three types of false widow species found in and around British homes.

It is believed that the spider was first imported to Britain in bunches of bananas from its native homelands of Madeira and the Canary Islands.

The first sighting of a noble false widow was in 1879 in Torquay but the species has since spread across southern England.

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