Wednesday 17 July 2019

Irish family’s fear as large false widow spider is lost in child’s bedroom: 'Now he's missing we're just worried about being bitten'

The large false widow spider found in Co. Kilkenny
The large false widow spider found in Co. Kilkenny

Patricia Murphy

An Irish family was left frightened after a venomous false widow spider was spotted lurking in their children’s bedroom and escaped before it was captured.

Dad-of-two Craig Flynn discovered the poisonous spider in the bedroom of his two sons Alex (9) and Sean (2) in Mullinavat in Kilkenny but the creature escaped before he managed to catch it.

The false widow spider is poisonous and its bite has the potential to provoke a serious reaction in those who are allergic.

Craig’s sister Ursula Flynn revealed that the family were alarmed after spotting the large spider and tried to capture the creature.

The large false widow spider found in Co. Kilkenny
The large false widow spider found in Co. Kilkenny

“They noticed it when they were putting the boys to bed, it was up on the Velux window. My brother Craig noticed that as well as its size, it had quite an unusual appearance, it was not a normal spider.

“He tried to capture it but he escaped. It was just a bit of a concern because they have three boys, and a newborn baby. If the smaller boy saw it, he might put his hand on it and we are just worried about him being bitten.”

Although the false widow’s bite has the potential to be dangerous reports of attacks are “few and far between”, according to Irish Arachnologist Myles Nolan.

“The small false widow spider is quite common in Ireland but it is largely harmless,” said Nolan.

“The larger ones can have a particularly nasty venom that can cause a reaction if bitten, but the severity of the reaction ranges from individual to individual.”

“Certainly there have been stories of severe reactions, I know there was one man who received a large dose of venom to the chest after which he had an extreme reaction. For the most part though, these spiders don’t bite unless they are provoked and when they do their bite could be said to be on par with a wasp sting.”

Although Nolan said families should not be overly alarmed upon spotting the creatures, the best time to capture them is at dusk.

“They’re a nocturnal species so if you’re trying to catch them the best time would be at dusk. Using a torch you might find them on their webs. Carefully knock them to the ground, and capture them under a glass. Some people choose to drop them outside into the garden, and other choose to kill them,” he said.

The false widow is the most dangerous species of spider found in Ireland, but its bite pales in comparison to that of the black widow spider which fortunately cannot survive in the Irish climate.

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