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 News Stories

Rush Green Road post office. Picture: Google Maps

A post office clerk who stole £100,000 from his employer and blew most of it on Bet365 has avoided jail for a second time “by the skin of his teeth” so he can pay back the money.

13:54
Romford station

Train passengers are on track to make “substantial savings” thanks to the TfL takeover of lines running through Havering.

Mayor Brian Eagling.

Mayor Brian Eagling has revealed that First Step will be his charity of the year.

Terry Bytheway at Terry's Hair Line which he has been running for 33 years

Picture by Ellie Hoskins

His clients are his “angels”, he fixes their household items and often drives them home after their appointments – could this be the most loved hairdresser in Havering?

Most read news

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

Time to expand with the LeefiBRIDGE.

More iOS memory in a flash: Introducing Leef iBRIDGE.

The sell out 2014 event 32 Londoners, returns to the Coca-Cola London Eye!

The Coca-Cola London Eye is proud to announce that 32 Londoners will be returning this June, following last year’s sell out event. The event will feature 32 talks, in each of the London Eye’s 32 capsules on 32 extraordinary Londoners.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder