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1071 Views 4 Replies Last post: Oct 17, 2013 12:21 PM by MWJB RSS
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Oct 17, 2013 10:08 AM

What is this? Should i be afraid?

So i stumbled into these 2 little ones (actually, quite big enough for my liking), then discovered the web had loads of little baby spiders in it.  I caught one in a jar (presumably the adult male, it was a little smaller than the one that stayed by the web) to take a photo. 


They were on a wall, by my front door, and when i caught the male(?), the other dissappeared into a gap in the brickwork where the web was.


Whilst i'm not a big fan of spiders, my other half was really freaking out thinking that these are the 'notorious' False Widows.  I'm not buying into the media sensationalism but would like to know what they are

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 17, 2013 10:46 AM (in response to dcurzon)
    Re: What is this? Should i be afraid?

    Hi Dcurzon,


    These are false widows (Steatoda nobilis). Indeed, it looks like you captured the male. Females stick close to their hiding place and can move quickly when avoidig a threat. Males wander around and find females in their aleady established web.


    The male will most likely die off as winter comes, they don't feed when mature. The female will most likely retreat into her gap in the brickwork and reappear in the Spring. The babies are likely to disperse when still very small. One or two may remain in the vicinity (but it's not really possible to tell whether they are her babies that may remain, or whether they are the offspring of another spider, that have travelled there).


    Regards, Mark.

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    • Currently Being Moderated
      Oct 17, 2013 12:21 PM (in response to dcurzon)
      Re: What is this? Should i be afraid?

      I do not have the expertise to answer all your questions in depth...


      Will there be more? - If you remove the spiders you have found, they will most likely be replaced by others, as they are obviously established in your area. Obviously, you need to consider your families feelings on the matter, but you may find removing them a seasonal task. Whilst you are removing them, or attempting to, you are increasing the risk of a bite incident (they're not always easy to catch), I have found spiders can become quite disorientated when moved...any that are displaced & not caught may not return to the point you last saw them, they then may wander elsewhere in search of a don't want to encourage them to come indoors (which they are currently unlikely to do, unless carried in), given your domestic situation.


      Is your child safe? These spiders do not kill people, unlike wasps, bees, cows, dogs, cars & peanuts...I'm not trying to add to anyone's list of phobias, but you see where I am going with this?


      If you move house, within the region, you will just be exchanging the spiders you have for new individals. False widows are not documented in much of the northern UK, W & N Wales, Scotland...but with commerce, tourism, families relocating between regions...that will most likely change over time. They may be in these areas, sporadically, already but previously gone unnoticed prior to the current media frenzy.


      I don't have first hand knowledge of the media reports, but I would ask you to consider how many people are bitten whilst sleeping/by an unseen assailant, then find a spider to blame after the event?


      Any insect bite/sting/prick from the thorn of a plant etc., can lead to infection, this appears to be the case in a couple of articles - horrific as the results undeniably are, it's not likely the spider's venom was the primary cause. Any signs of infection should be dealt with by your GP/A&E/walk in centre if deemed serious, sooner rather than later. People with allergies/prone to anaphylactic shock should excercise a degree of caution.


      "Woman chased by 50 venomous spider" This simply never happened. Spiders don't prey on human flesh (she is perhaps confusing them with zombies...which are fictional - well maybe, keep your eye on the tabloids & they will surely contradict that assertion given enough time), the spider she photographed is not venomous to humans. False widows do not live in nests of 50, they do not act as a group with one common aim/goal/thought...put female adults close enough together and they will defend their territory & resources from each other, vigorously.


      "Deadly spiders found in area" Yes, deadly if you are an insect, they have never killed a human, ever.


      "UK's widow found in child's bedroom" I have removed several from my own bedroom in recent weeks. I don't buy into the hype, but I don't feel the need to tempt fate, I don't tolerate false widows in the bedroom, or in the shower, or where they might get onto towels left in the bathroom. Under the sink, behind the loo, in the kitchen/living room/spare room...they can carry on doing what they do (eliminating pests like flies & woodlice). I don't have any children to worry about so factor that into my response.


      I have 2 Steatoda nobilis in my front room, I know where they live, I keep half an eye on them...they barely move a whole foot from their hideaway (even the large female is difficult to observe or photograph as she is very skittish & bolts for cover if she feels threatened...which is any time I loom into her view/get close to her web). There are more around the exterior of the building, my office, even the traffic lights in the middle of town. I also have Steatoda grossa...these are very rarely seen in my flat (which isn't big), they are shy & mostly stay out of sight, apart from a few wandering males.


      Kind regards, Mark.

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