The University of Galway’s new research has shown that even a minor bite of a spider can cause hospitalization.
People who have been bit have reported feeling tremors and reduced or increased blood pressure. Rarely have bite victims sustained minor injuries at the site of the bite or had to be treated in severe cases for bacterial infections.
Michel Duggan (the senior author of the study and the head of NUI Galway’s Venom System Lab at NUI Galway) said that the venom produced by the little spiders is “medically relevant.”
False widows have become widespread in urban environments in the UK and Ireland.
What Does a False Widow Spider Look like?
The noble false-witness spider, which can grow up to 15mm in length or 32mm when including the legs, is a magnificent creature. The oval-shaped, shiny abdomen of the noble false widow spider is often brownish with distinct cream markings and reddish-orange legs.
False-witness spiders don’t make nests like other types. Instead, they make scaffold webs to catch their prey.
False widows, who live in buildings and homes, prefer elevated areas, such as walls, to hunt flying insects. This means that they have no interest in humans.
The UK does not have Noble false widows spiders. They are from the Mediterranean and arrived on the island in banana boxes in the late 1800s. They spread northwards after being established, likely due to climate change.
Are false widows dangerous for the UK?
The British Arachnological Society argues that “bites by false widows can be difficult to verify and are often exaggerated or exaggerated by media”.
Some headline-grabbing stories have appeared in the UK media warning of noble false widow bites. But these should be seen in context as an edge’s symptoms, including the level and pain, are the same as a nasty wasp-sting.
A single spider bite is enough to attract attention in the media. This was the case with the 15-week-old baby who was bitten in Ireland.
The Natural History Museum says that out of 650 types of spiders worldwide, only 12 can bite humans. Noble false widows are the most popular.
The fangs of these animals can penetrate human skin. However, they are rarely bitten. In rare cases, there may be complications if someone is bitten.
Why is it so easy for black widows to be misidentified
Only the black widows that have this unique look are their female counterparts. They are the ones with the shiny black colouration and the red hourglass in the abdomen. Spiderlings can be hard to tell apart from other species. Males are smaller and do not have hourglasses on their bellies. The male markings can be different from the hourglass.
How to spot false widow spiders
They can grow to the size of 50 pence coins. They measure 7-15mm in height and have a leg length of approximately 35mm.
The body is very bulbous, with some cream on top.
The cream smattering sometimes looks like a skull, but it can have other effects.
A browny-orange colour is used for the body and legs
The false widow spider is a nocturnal species. It stays hidden in its web’s cracks at night, so it seldom ventures outside during the day. They prefer to remain alone in a warm and dry environment where they are not disturbed.
Where are they located?
The spider is now widely distributed worldwide, as we’ve already mentioned. This spider was almost unheard of in Ireland two decades ago. It is now one of the most common spider species in and around urban homes.
Research has shown that nearly all victims of Noble False Widow spider bitings occurred in their own homes. NUI Galway recently conducted a study and found that most bites occurred while victims were asleep, in bed, or clothing. There were also a lot of bites when they were doing DIY.
Spiders away from your home with pest sealing
Sealing your home for false black widows and other pests to be kept out is essential. You can keep pests out of your home and prevent them from entering through windows and doors. You must ensure no gaps through which spiders could enter your home. Windows should be able fully close, and screens must not have holes. They also need to be secured. Hiring a professional pest control agency can also protect your home from spiders.
How dangerous can false widow spiders be?
False widow spiders produce 200 eggs every three weeks. This spider can live up to 200 years longer than native spiders. False Widow Spiders can live from 5 to 7 years, meaning they have a much higher fertility rate than native ones.
False Widow Spider bites cause symptoms like sudden chillness or goosebumps, fever, reddish-coloured itching, and central nervous system damage.
Itching and reddening are the first signs of widow spiders. After some time, the area around the bite site will become swollen, and the skin will turn black.
Sometimes the itching is caused by bacteria spreading from the spider bite.
How to discourage false widow spiders
According to the British Pest Control Association (BPA), you should vacuum the affected areas to eliminate spiders. But if this isn’t possible, you might need to spray pesticides that can kill the spider’s prey.
In the long term, the body recommends sealing high-risk areas like conservatories or porches. In high-risk areas such as porches, greenhouses and other places where spiders could be present, sealing these potential harborage points can help reduce their chances of coming in contact.
For help, if you have problems with a species you do not recognize as British, please get in touch with your local RSPCA shelter.
What can you do if bitten?
Use soap and water to clean any bites. It is essential to avoid infection by applying a cooling cloth with water or an Ice Pack for 10 mins.
The spider bite leaves minor marks on the skin. Although it can be painful, it can cause swelling and redness. Most false widow bites will not cause any severe complications. However, severity depends on the spider and the person’s sensitivity.
Rarely, a bite can cause confusion, nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea and sweating. If you have questions after getting bitten by a spider, consult your doctor immediately.