Friday 23 February 2018

I didn’t realise there were false widow spiders in Cork – Arachnid at large in Irish home

Mark McConville

Mark McConville

A Cork barman got quite a shock last night when he came face-to-face with a false widow spider as he returned home from work.

Seán Ronayne (27) from Cobh, Co Cork was startled when he noticed the eight-legged arachnid hanging from a web at the back door of his house.

“I have an interest in spiders and when I saw the spider I knew it was possibly a false widow, but I googled it to confirm,” he told

“It turns out it is a Steatoda nobilis, which is one of a species of false widow spider.

“I was coming home from work, I work as a barman in Cobh and came home late last night, when I noticed the false widow hanging over the back door of my house. I was shocked because I didn’t realise there were false widows in Cork.

“My mother doesn’t like spiders at all, and she wanted me to kill it, but I didn’t want to.

“So I was attempting to throw it over the backyard wall but it dropped and is still at large in the house. My mum isn’t too pleased with me at the minute. I’d say if there is one there will be a few more so I will keep a look out.”

The spider has a nasty bite but is only a danger if a person happens to be allergic to their venom.

“I’ve read that they do bite, but that the bites are more like a wasp sting. The only reason they can be dangerous is if the person bitten takes a allergic reaction,” Sean added

Spider expert Myles Nolan said the false widow prefers to be outside, often building webs on houses, railings and garden walls with a dark place to retreat to at night.

They are rarely indoors and while a false widow bite is not fatal, it does have a strong venom which some people have had a strong reaction to.

While Ireland is too cold for the lethal black widow to survive, the false widow has been colonising in Ireland since at least the mid 1990s having arrived with travellers or on freight or supplies.

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