False widow spiders - advice for residents
Some residents have contacted us for advice as a result of recent media stories about people being bitten by false widow spiders.
Residents should not be concerned, as the spiders can in no way be considered 'deadly’. The Natural History Museum have put together information to help the public identify spiders and to answer any common questions.
False widow spiders have been recorded in the UK for almost 120 years and are firmly established in the south of England. They are able to bite humans, but it happens very rarely. Most bites happen when a spider finds its way into bedding or clothing and is threatened.
Even in homes with several resident false widow spiders you are statistically far more likely to be stung by a wasp or bitten by a dog.
On the rare occasion that humans are bitten, the symptoms are generally never much worse than a wasp sting.
Stuart Hine, Manager of the Natural History Museum’s Identification and Advisory Service said:
Although there have been several media reports of very severe symptoms resulting from the bite of this spider few, if any, have been backed up by formal identification of the spider that caused the bite; if indeed a spider was the cause. In truth these extraordinary symptoms are more likely to be caused by other medical complications.