Search

Havering residents warned to leave false widows alone

08:00 18 October 2013

A false widow spider

A false widow spider

Archant

Since we reported last week how Collier Row dad Ricki Whitmore almost lost his leg after being bitten by Britain’s “most venomous” spider, the false widow, we have been inundated with messages from readers who say have seen the creature.

What to do if you find a false widow

People should not disturb the false widow spider if they can help it – the creature only bites when threatened.

The NHS says you can manage your bite or sting at home using antihistamines, but make sure it does not get infected.

Bites are seldom fatal; infants, the elderly and people with allergies are at greatest risk. A symptom checker on the NHS Choices website provides advice for people who have been bitten or stung, or call 111.

We have gathered some expert advice about what to do if you find one, or worse, if you’re bitten.

Wildlife expert Greg Hitchcock said false widow spiders are about as dangerous as eating a peanut – potentially fatal if you’re allergic to them.

There have been no reported deaths from bites in Britain.

The British Arachnological Society has a page on its website dedicated to enquiries. Its experts say the chances of being bitten are extremely low and most cases won’t result in serious injury. But if you are bitten, the effect is unlikely to be worse than a bee or wasp sting. The experts add that a more serious problem is only likely to arise if the victim has a severe allergic reaction or if they are already compromised by other health issues.

False widow spider facts

The spiders are so called because of their distant cousins the black widow, which is much more likely to be fatal to humans.

Only one of the false widow species has a bite which could be harmful to humans – Steatoda nobilis.

The spiders first came to the UK from the Canary Islands in the late 19th century and are mostly found in the south of England due to the warmer climate.

They are distinctive because of the white spots on their body, but there are a number of different species.

Despite an increase in the number of sightings this year, there has not been a significant rise in the number of bites reported.

Despite a surge in sightings, Paul Tanner, manager of Essex pest control company SX Supplies, said: “There has been a lot of people in the media talking about them, but I wouldn’t say that we have members of the public calling us up saying, ‘We’ve got a false widow spider in our house’.”

If you do find one in your home – like Amanda Armitage, of Collier Row, and Neil Holmes, of Romford, have, among others – Natural England says leave them alone. The organisation’s Ellen Softley said: “There are no concerns about their numbers and they’re no more dangerous than a bee or wasp.

“If you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone.”

Most bites do not require medical attention but they do cause pain, which includes swelling and a fever.

Mr Whitmore was very, very unlucky.

0 comments

Latest Romford News Stories

Motorists on the A13 between Wennington and Rainham

Reckless drivers are endangering the lives of Havering residents by reaching speeds of up to 124mph, the fastest clocked in London last year.

15:54
Lawrence Webb  ( Ukip )

A Havering councillor is standing as deputy of one of the candidates in Ukip’s leadership election.

15:13
Luke Hudson (centre) with his mum and dad on his 21st birthday.

The son of a taxi driver who tragically died at the wheel of his cab has paid tribute to the “best dad anyone could have asked for”.

12:16
Seven men have been arrested by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and four tonnes of toxic waste removed after two fuel laundering plants were discovered in Essex on Wednesday Picture: HMRC

Seven men, including one in Hornchurch, have been arrested and four tonnes of toxic waste removed after two fuel laundering plants were discovered in Essex on Wednesday.

Parents at Parsonage Farm Primary School fought off expansion in 2015

Councillors have criticised the borough’s plans to expand schools, claiming that school kitchens are already failing to provide hot meals for pupils.

Yesterday, 16:29
Police at the scene last night (credit: donatassimkus.com)

Three men have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a shooting in Gidea Park last night.

Yesterday, 15:26
British Transport Police

A man has been identified and will be interviewed by police after a disabled commuter was pushed and slapped on a train.

Yesterday, 12:02
Jim Reynolds pictured with Stalkers Lily

Romford Greyhound Stadium has terminated its contract with a high-profile trainer after accusing him of “bringing the integrity of the sport into question”.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

News from your area

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

Competitions

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

£15k prize bundle

Imagine having the opportunity to win an incredible £15,000 bundle of some of the most amazing prizes available. Well, for one lucky contest entrant that dream could soon become a reality because we at MyOffers are offering an incredible free prize bundle that will make even the most hardened person wild with excitement.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now