False Widow Spider Invasion Closes School

A false widow spider invasion forced closure of The Dean Academy. The Forest of Dean, UK, school is infested with Britain’s most venomous spiders. Vice-principal Craig Burns said administrators planned to close one section of the building for fumigation. However, the spiders were eventually found throughout the entire academy.

Burns said no students were harmed by the spiders. A pest control team responded to the school on Wednesday to fumigate the academy. As reported by BBC, classes resumed on Thursday after the fumigation was complete and all spiders were killed.

False widow spiders, or Steatoda nobilis, are similar in appearance the black widow spider. Although they are not a native species, the spiders are often found along England’s south coast, primarily in Dorset and Hampshire.

The venomous spiders are most likely transported to England in shipments of bananas. Although they are dangerous, they usually do not bite unless provoked. As reported by Natural History Museum, the spiders rarely bite unless they feel threatened.

The bites usually produce immediate pain, which eventually radiates from the origin. Other symptoms may include swelling, fever, and lethargy. In most victims, the discomfort last less than a week. Although rare, some victims may experience more severe and long-lasting symptoms.

False widow spiders are identified by their distinct markings. The bodies are brown with a white band around the center of the abdomen. The white portion appears cracked and has several large brown spots. Their legs are usually a shade of red, distinguishing them from other Steatoda species.

The spiders are often found hiding in garages, storage sheds, public restrooms, and conservatories. Disturbing or removing the spiders by hand is not recommended. Pest control officials suggest contacting professionals for spider removal.

False widow spiders are venomous, but their bite is rarely deadly.

[Image via Flickr]

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