Search

Venomous false widow spider spotted in Hornchurch as numbers creep up in Havering

10:05 03 October 2013

This false widow spider was removed from a school in Hornchurch.

This false widow spider was removed from a school in Hornchurch.

Archant

A venomous spider with a nasty bite is creeping into Havering as numbers rise across London.

False widow spider facts

The false widow spider commonly occurs along the south coast of England from Devon and is spreading through London, Essex and Surrey.

They are between 16–32mm long, including legs, and have a distinctive cream pattern on the abdomen.

Adult spiders are capable of biting humans but are not aggressive.

Most injuries to humans are defensive bites delivered when a spider becomes unintentionally squeezed or pinched.

The venom can cause pain that radiates along the bitten limb or part of the body, and swelling.

Some people describe fever and feeling unwell. Symptoms may last for a couple of days but are unlikely to be serious.

Source: Natural History Museum

False widow spiders were thought to live mainly along the south coast but bites have been reported in recent months in Dagenham, south London and Kent.

In August, teacher Rachel Warry caught the creepy crawly in a school in Hornchurch.

She said: “I found it in a classroom but I didn’t know what it was at the time.

“I was surprised when I saw it because it was bigger than a normal spider – a bit larger than a 50p coin.

“I took a photo of it because I’d never seen one that looked like that before.”

No children were in the school but Miss Warry caught it in a box and moved it off the premises to be safe.

The false widow’s bite does not need medical attention in most cases but is known to cause pain, which radiates along the bitten part of the body, swelling, fever and feeling unwell.

Usually symptoms only last a couple of days but allergic reactions to the venom can be serious.

The Natural History Museum’s Insect Information Service hears of about 10 spider bites in the UK each year, although no one has ever died from one.

Around a dozen resident species have a nasty nip, including the false widow.

The exotic spider originates from Madeira, the Canary Islands and Africa but was brought to the UK more than a century ago on boats with imports of bananas.

Happy in the warm in conservatories, garages and sheds, the false widow has since multiplied and spread north from ports along the south coast.

A spokeswoman for the RSPCA advised people to treat any unusual spiders as dangerous and to leave them alone.

Let us know of any sightings by emailing newsdesk@romfordrecorder.co.uk or tweeting @RomfordRecorder.

For help identifying a spider visit the British Arachnological Society website or call the Natural History Museum identification and advisory service on 020 7942 5045.

0 comments

Latest Romford News Stories

9 minutes ago
The mayor of Havering with Store Room Youth Theatre, who will be performing at the variety show, during their rehearsals for the London's New Year's Day Parade.

Enjoy entertainment from the community while supporting good causes at the Mayor of Havering’s Charity Variety Show.

09:38
Hamid Ahmadi is missing from Queen's Hopsital with a head injury

A man suffering from a head injury is missing from Queen’s Hospital.

07:00
The Jobbers Rest in Upminster undergoing an extensive modernisation

A popular pub is to open its doors once more, under the direction of a top chef’s company.

Yesterday, 15:00
Jeffrey Marks, who volunteers at Queen's Hospital, enjoys cheering up patients.

A man who has volunteered for nearly two decades, is encouraging others to donate their time to help make a difference to hospital patients.

Yesterday, 12:00
40-years-ago

A look back at the biggest local stories from this day 20, 40 and 60 years ago.

Saturday, January 21, 2017
Charlie Condou and Victoria Yeates in The Crucible

You may not think a play written in the ‘50s about witch trials in the 17th century would have much in common with today’s audiences.

Saturday, January 21, 2017
Marion James and reporter Ryan Tute discussing the work that went into getting everything together. Picture by Ellie Hoskins

People have the chance to delve deep into the police’s archives following the launch of a new exhibition featuring some never-before-seen documents and artefacts.

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

Are you in need of a new kitchen? Try our competition and you could win a brand new one!

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

MyOffers H&M Competition

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

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