Saturday 16 December 2017

Poisonous false widow spiders spread across Ireland

Brian O'Reilly

Brian O'Reilly

FALSE widow spiders have began spreading across Ireland, with a spike in numbers reported in the south and east areas of the country.

Steatoda nobilis in Latin, the False widow spider is about the size of a 20c coin - however has a severe bite. 

They have a dark, shiny body with pale markings and cream band on their abdomen.

Although they normally prefer outbuildings such as sheds and garages, they have been found in homes.

Speaking on the Derek Mooney show, Irish arachnologist Myles Nolan explained the spider doesn't pose too much of a danger.

"They don't leap at people from trees or anything like that.

"Obviously the severity of the bite depends on where it is and how much venom - a large dose of venom close to the heart could cause palpitations and maybe you should go the hospital. But a small bite to the tip of the finger would be no worse than a wasp sting."

"There's a massive population all over Dublin now. Once you can tell them apart they're quite distinctive."  

It is believed they arrived in the UK from the Canary Islands more than 100 years ago, however have now spread to Ireland.

It is thought their spread is aided by climate change.

A bite from a false widow can cause serious allergic reactions – however they are not as venomous as the black widow.

They only bite when they have been provoked and tend to cause pain similar to that of a bee sting.

Although the bite is rarely fatal, it can cause a severe allergic reaction in some people which could then require medical treatment.

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