False Widow Spiders Can Remain In Their Web For Three Years

False widow spiders are the most dangerous of the 12 biting spiders species in Britain and other parts of Europe. They get their name for resembling the deadly black widow spider to whom they are related.

There has been a large increase of the spiders in Britain recently. Conservationists believe this is due, mainly, to climate change.

The false widow spider’s official name, at least in Latin, is Steatoda Nobilis.

Stuart Hine, the manager of the Insect Identification Service at London’s Natural History Museum spoke to Newsbeat regarding the latest outbreak of the false widow spider in Britain.

When he was asked if the spider is dangerous, he said: “It’s not deadly at all. It’s a species which can bite and does bite. Generally speaking symptoms are no worse than a bee or wasp sting and in truth you’re more likely to be stung by a wasp than you are to be bitten by this spider.”

He then spoke about the increasing numbers of false widow spiders spotted recently:

“It certainly seems it from some media reports. It’s a spider which is expanding its range in the UK. It’s done so very quickly in the last 15 years. One of the reasons is it likes the environment of our homes, gardens and urban environments. It makes its webs and survives there very nicely. It loves a south-facing conservatory where it will live in the very hottest parts of it and they can be very abundant in and around our homes.”

He continued to speak about the implications for humans of a bite from one of the spiders:

“They’re certainly not out to get us. It’s not aggressive. When people do get bitten, and this is very infrequent generally speaking, it’s because they’ve got inside clothing and they’ve been pressed against the skin when we put that on, or occasionally in bedding. That’s the only circumstance that they bite. The likelihood of a bite is very low and usually symptoms are not that severe.”

Hine also revealed an amazing fact about false widow spiders. He said:

“Females very much stay in their webs. They’re a great spider for that. They make a web, they expand it, they build on it and they can stay there for up to three years. They won’t harm us at all and they do some great work in ridding our homes of flies and wasps and arguably some other nuisance insects.”

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