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False Black Widow Spider Andy
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False Black Widow Spider (Steatoda nobilis)

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Male False Widow Spider (Steatoda nobilis)

Female on the left is the largest False Widow spider I have ever found in my garden photographed under overhanging roof of an old wendy house.

Hi Andy

Hope you're well mate. Do you have any pictures we could possibly news on the bulletin today, of false widow spiders? 





I had an interesting email from Rhys Durhan ITV NEWS in October 2013 looking for pictures of False Widow spiders for a bulletin. It seems False Widow spiders are in the press at moment for the wrong reasons though. Because of milder winters they are spreading across the country and a few people have had allergic reactions to bites, which is worrying many people. One person almost lost a leg, which got infected, and a school in Forest of Dean Glos, was closed down after finding nests. A grandfather was left fighting for his life after being bitten on his toe while making a bonfire as his vital organs started to shut down. Even a postman refused to post a letter when he spotted one. False widow spiders are shy creatures, which do not normally attack people when found they just want to escape or hide. They are one of our most venomous spiders in the United Kingdom so you should not pick one up I trap them in a glass with a bit of card when my family find one in the house. Accidents only happen when the spiders get squashed or trapped in clothing.

I photograph tarantulas and UK spiders and even I did not know my 20-year-old shed was infested with black widows between the chipboard and the shed panels, I only found them when I dismantled my shed. I collected them all and after filming the largest I relocated them to my fence panels.

And when my eldest boy dismantled my late father-in-law's old rotten shed he was shocked how many false widows had moved in or taken residence. Most ended up in the skip. The old shed was taken out of the skip by unknowing neighbours for bonfire night. The spiders sometimes move into houses seeking warmer accommodation during the winter months, as my daughter found out. She found two adult false black widows in her bedroom, probably came in through airbricks under the floor. So not to worry her I told her they were not black widow spiders, well within seconds she googled it on her phone showing me a picture she said "yes it is dad" unlike me I forget they do everything on their phones these days. So if you find a black widow spider in your house don't panic my advice would be to trap it in glass and safely release outside, you would be surprised how many different species of false widows you have in your garden and if you exterminate them all they would soon be replaced with others. They have been with us for a long time the first report was in 1897 in Torquay and probably arrived on boats from the Canary Islands.