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.
Thank you for your help
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.
Thank you very much for your response Mark. I appreciate that bites are rare, when I had the one last year, the chemist was baffled that I suggested it was a spider, it really must have been, but as you say, it needn't have been a false widow. In any case, it was a bit concerning and I would rather try and avoid getting one trapped next to my skin somehow and it biting - I understand that they are shy. My house is a quiet house and often not brightly lit, not surprised they are walking in!
I have been out to collect conkers and will give that a try. I will also clean up the area beneath the window, there is a small shed and plenty of lovely places for spiders there, I hope to encourage them a bit further away from the house
Again, thank you for the information, it has been in the back of my mind for a couple of years whether these autumnal visitors might be false widows.
I collected conkers and had a good hoover around the house yesterday. I am not sure whether it was this that has disturbed things but I have just seen the largest blackest spider yet, much bigger than the others, on my bathroom floor. I was unable to capture and release, I think it ran under the bath panel. If I see it again, I will remove it, the thought of it wandering into the bedroom or onto a towel is slightly concerning.
I am more concerned that there are many more around the house, do they breed indoors? Would it have a web under my bath? Perhaps it was another male seeking the female. I am keeping your comments in mind about the minimal chance of bites, the media is not helping me get over my dislike of these black spiders - any other spider I can cope with without much fuss.
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?
Again, thank you for your response. I wonder if the media know you are providing a fantastic information service that may well prevent new spider phobias developing!
Some of the pictures of the Tegenaria do look similar, I really didnt note any hairy legs or mottled markings, it appeared shiny (this could be me making 2+2 = the same spider as the day before) I did notice bent legs more than the spider photo I originally posted and it really was very big and shiver making.
I am quite happy to not eradicate all spiders, I understand this is not necessary, I have assumed (wrongly) that because I have had Steatoda that all big spiders will be of this family and I would like to remove them if I see them. Your message today has kept the balance and I will not pursue this spider as it were, thinking it is a giant Steatoda, if I see it again and can take it's photo, I will post it.
Update: I have not seen the large spider in the bathroom since yesterday, I did however check my living room coving today and found many many tiny spiders - I remember this happened last year as well.
This evening, sitting at my desk, same location as where first spider sighting came in through the open window, I felt an itch on ankle and looked down and spotted a dead spider (the itch wasnt related - or at least I dont think so) It was in pieces and what I thought was a grain of rice, was the body, so I photographed it - if I am not mistaken it has the skull pattern, not sure which false widow this is, it was brown and black and not shiny.
It looks as if I have a variety of spiders living with me I really wouldnt mind except the weird bite I received last year has put me off - I know it might not have been a spider. We have lots of huge garden spiders making amazing webs and I pretty much leave them to string them across the garden in the autumn - inside the house I am not so keen.
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.
The spiders are back in full force and earlier than I remember. I am happy to say I am slightly less anxious about living with them but I wanted to ask if it was usual to have so many!
I live in a Victorian Terrace in an urban area but with lots of gardens. My garden is particularly full of ivy, shrubs and a number of trees in the vicinity. I also have a jasmine growing up one wall. After finding many spiders in the house last year - false widows, I cleaned out the very small shed that sits to the side of the house. There were a lot of old webs in there and two huge false widows scuttled away - this was about a month ago.
Since then, I have seen many spiders in the house - at least two a day. Can you tell me where they live? The inhabit one particular room upstairs, where the window is often open, I presume they make webs around the window frame and walk in. Recently found in the bedroom - the same reason I suspect.
The other place is in the kitchen near the back door - we need some work to the door frame and I presume they are nesting in the wood crevises
I am hoping they will prefer to stay near the shed or in the garden but it really seems they want to live IN the house - is this their usual behaviour
My friend in a neighbouring road has never seen a false widow and only the occassional house spider. I say I am less anxious, but I would prefer to do all I can to discourage them from being in the house. Any advise?
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?
Everything you say mirrors my experience and now that I understand them a bit more I am more comfortable, I still don't like them in the slightest, other spiders don't bother me and it's not just the media attention, it's the look of them ha ha
Anyway, I have worked out where I think they are enjoying living - in the sash window casing of my windows - it explains why when I can't see any webs, they are still coming in. As I said further up, I now keep windows closed at night which is when they walk about, so I have far less in the house and when I do have a window open it is near my desk and I can literally see them walking along and gently push them elsewhere and shut the window.
The other thing I wanted to ask was, what is there life expectancy, are they new ones each year? The baby spiders seem less black and there are a lot of those at the moment, almost see through legs
Not sure if I mentioned but I am in the South East, Brighton. None of my friends locally have mentioned these spiders in their houses, they clearly hang around the same places and one of those is mine!