Apologises about the poor quality but can you please tell me if you think this is a false widow? I found it outside my baby boys bedroom and am now worried as it looks like a baby spider! It had almost red coloured legs with a dark slightly bulbous body with a distinctive white band around the body and a whit pattern on its back. Should I be worried there could be more? I have young children in the house and am worrying for them. Any advice would be much appreciated, thank you.
This is a Steatoda nobilis, hard to say from the photos, but possibly a small, wandering male. Put him outside.
Females, when established in a web, don't tend to wander and stick to their webs/hiding places, so if there are more & you haven't noticed them yet, you may never do? Females tend to like being off the ground in areas where there is a lot of footfall, they hang in their shelf-like webs in the evening so are easily spotted.
False widows don't generally like being in very close proximity to each other. Tend to be fairly spread out. They don'tlive in colonies/nests.
They are not deadly, nor dangerous...a bite might not be pleasant but is akin to a wasp/bee sting - in fact, it's less dangerous.
Although the thought of having one in my house makes me feel quite sick I couldn't bring myself to kill it, so I let it go in the graveyard opposite our house.
It's terrifying reading the newspaper reports, but your reply has calmed me down slightly, I have a fear of spiders anyway, so finding him in my house was not a nice surprise!! :-(
If I find anymore and they do happen to bite the children, what should I look out for? Our baby is just over a year so isn't able to tell us if he's been bitten. I don't want to frighten them but I also want the to be aware of what to look out for.
Many thanks for your time :-)
Bites typically occur when a spider gets trapped in clothing & crushed against the skin, in many cases where a bite is confirmed you'll find a dead, crushed spider.
They don't prowl around looking for people to bite, they normally scurry out of the way of what they perceive as threats. They are not aggressive, they are actually quite skittish & shy. Males looking for a mate can be a bit reckless, well, because they have other things on their mind ;-)
A bite mark may have a weal, some swelling & redness...like a bee/wasp sting.
But really, don't torture yourself. False widows are all over the place in my region, the flats where I live are populated with babies, young children, pets etc....life goes on as normal, because it is normal. Bites are extraordinarily rare, even here. The stories in the papers are not a true representation of the risks presented by these spiders, which are very, very low. Any sting/bite/cut/graze can become infected, the more dramatic stories in the paper seem to revolve around people who were bitten then let infection set in, or those with allergies/compromised immunity. Several stories are based around harmless spiders, mistaken for false widows, that present no threat to anyone.