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3734 Views 11 Replies Last post: Sep 2, 2014 4:28 PM by MWJB RSS
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Oct 17, 2013 11:48 AM

Spider Identification and information

Hello, I would really like to know if this is a false widow spider and more information on the types - I have red there are several spiders that are in this family and only one has the potential to cause a nasty bite. 


I am asking because late last Summer I had the weirdest bite on my hand which was swolle, very itchy and turned deep red before slowly going - I think it can only have been from a spider, we have many in the garden, mainly the weavers.  However last year and this year I have seen more 'tropical' looking spiders which freak me out a bit , they are blacker and shiney, in the last two days, sitting at an open window upstairs I have had two come in through the open window and this photo is from one.  It had crescent shape cream colouring on the front of the body, not other markings.  The one the night before had more of a circular (dotted) marking on its back, again cream in colour.


I wonder if there is something natural I can do to deter them from the house, I am slightly concerned there are many in here, no idea where the web/nest is but I often see tiny black babies.  The other question is do they die off when it gets cold?  I am normally ok with spiders, but these are concerning me, mainly due to the association with the bite last year and of course, the media.  spider2.JPG


Thank you for your help

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 17, 2013 2:05 PM (in response to SilverLight)
    Re: Spider Identification and information

    Hi Silverlight,


    This does look like a male Steatoda, I can't be sure whether it is S. nobilis, or S. grossa. Male S. nobilis are thought not to bite. S. grossa are really quite shy and rarely seen around areas of high footfall & seem to prefer darkness...the males are perhaps more often spotted, whilst wandering around, seeking a mate.


    Males are short lived compared to females, they stop feeding when mature. It is likely they will die off over the winter.


    Both species mentioned have been established here for some time now. Neither are actually dangerous to healthy humans, provided the bites remain free from infection.


    It is often said that conkers deter spiders, I have no knowledge of how true that is, so cannot guarantee its effectiveness...seems worth a try though.


    I have 3 species of Steatoda in my home, I understand there is a risk of a bite, but see no need to remove them due their, generally docile, behaviour. I do remove them from the bedroom when I see them there.


    I have been bitten by a spider in my current home, the symptoms were similar to what you describe, itchyness, redness & swelling, but it wasn't a false widow in my case...though, it would have been easy to "put two & two together and get five", had I not seen the culprit.


    Spider bites are extraordinarily rare (compared to wasp/bee stings), despite the current media frenzy.


    Regards, Mark.

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    • Currently Being Moderated
      Oct 19, 2013 7:56 AM (in response to SilverLight)
      Re: Spider Identification and information

      Hi SilverLight,


      There are species that are more often found in houses, than not. They have adapted to indoor/more sheltered lives.


      It's not possible to identify the spider under your bath by that description, but the spiders with the largest leg spans we see are usually the least problematic regarding bites. Google "Tegenaria" and see if any of the pictures are close to what you saw? These spiders are large & fast moving, certainly give people the shivers, but are harmless. I'd also note that many brown spiders often look closer to black on a pale background.


      If we are still talking about the black, shiny, tropical looking spiders, then a photo for ID would be helpful (I appreciate they're not always obliging regarding sitting still & posing for a shot though).


      Realistically, eradicating/removing all the spiders in your house will be impossible & unnecessary, as very few species are known to bite. You may also find that without the spiders, you may get an increase in less scary, but equally unwelcome bugs?


      Regards, Mark.

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      Oct 20, 2013 4:13 AM (in response to SilverLight)
      Re: Spider Identification and information

      The remains you show here do fit with a Steatoda nobilis (false widow). Removing these spiders from inside your home, when you encounter them, is a good idea.


      Indeed, you may have several species living with you, so don't assume that every spider you see is a false widow, though I can appreciate a policy of "remove first, ask questions later" ;-). For example, since February this year, I have seen over a dozen different species within my own, small, home & possibly upwards of 60 individuals. This includes three species of false widow. I don't discourage them myself, and I am looking for them, so this may seem unusually high.


      A further thought - removing the very spindly "daddy long legs spiders" (pholcus phalangioides) may actually exacerbate the issue. Though these spiders look impossibly delicate, they are actually very effective predators and frequently feed on much larger, more intimidating spiders.

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        • Currently Being Moderated
          Jun 26, 2014 9:17 PM (in response to SilverLight)
          Re: Spider Identification and information

          Hi there,


          The S.nobilis around me seem fine without vegetation nearby, happy enough with brick, wood, window frames, sometimes cars...even traffic lights! Though increased plant cover & subsequent prey may well increase their numbers? I don't think it's so much that they want to be inside, more that their ideal locations are coincidentally around windows, doors, porches, openings etc...which in turn may lead to some inevitably setting up home indoors. So yes, keeping the windows closed as much as possible may help. Other posters have suggested mosquito screens if you are particularly concerned?


          I tend to keep clutter away from the widows & offer them less opportunities to find refuge actually within the room.


          Males tend to wander more than females, but are often just passing through.


          They don't seem to like sites low down, with heavy footfall. They do like man-made sites to set up home, but not so keen on the humans themselves & associated disturbance.


          Look for webs indoors around the windows & doors, the spiders may patrol them/stand guard after dusk. Look around light fittings, behind wardrobes etc, maybe even behind picture frames. They do seem to inhabit the same areas time after time...I had a spiderling make a web in a corner of a window last year, vacate the web & it was left empty for months, last night I noticed a new, tiny, spiderling had taken up residence in the same web. No other spiders had inhabited the web in the meantime, just a couple of Pholcus hanging around it in a stand-off once with the old tenant.


          Once you know what you're looking for & where to look, you tend to start seeing more of them, they were probably there all along. House spiders (Tegenaria) are spiders that I see very infrequently indoors...a few more outdoors/on exterior brickwork etc., but these also tend to wander more around the middle/main body of rooms, so I guess this, their size & motion all make them more conspicuous typically?

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