False widow spider warning as experts fear venomous spiders could invade UK homes

Britons have been warned of an influx of venomous spiders after a summer of extreme temperatures.

The Met Office released a number of weather warnings this summer amid scorching temperatures, including a record-breaking 40°C heat wave.

The extreme weather had caused false widow spiders to breed and multiply in the British Isles.

The spider, while not particularly venomous, is related to the world’s deadliest spider species, the black widow, and a bite from the spider can lead to hospital treatment.

British man hospitalized after spider bite fake widow

The warning comes after a man had to spend five days in hospital after being bitten by a spideron holiday in the UK.

Adam Roberts’ vacation in Mablethorpe, Skegness, deteriorated after he woke up with a swollen finger.

The 37-year-old told the Daily Echo: “I was on holiday in Mablethorpe and woke up on Tuesday morning and my finger was very swollen and sore, I was struggling to get my wedding ring off.

“Two days later the swelling was up to my elbow and I went to an emergency treatment center where they suggested it was a spider bite.

“They gave me antibiotics and we traveled back to Dorset where it was getting worse, we went to the emergency room and I was shocked to hear how serious it was.

“The doctors and surgeons came down and said it was very likely I could lose my finger. They said they were 90 percent sure.”


The false widow is one of 12 species known to have bitten humans in the UK and, according to the Natural History Museum, being bitten can feel like a wasp sting.

False widows have long been established in the UK, with the first recorded settlement in the UK in the 1870s, although their numbers increased in the 1980s, especially in the southern counties.

The Natural History Museum says the spider was first sighted in Dorset, Hampshire and Devon, but can now be found as far north as Scotland.

Pest control expert Clive Boase told the Daily Mail: “The population of false widows in the UK is constantly growing. In fact, people don’t realize how ordinary they have become.

“There are about six different species of the false widow and they can survive both indoors and outdoors. They prefer suburban areas and are usually found around domestic and commercial buildings.

“They like conservatories and toilet blocks, window frames, verandas, lofts and garages and like to live under kitchen appliances and cupboards.

“They are generally shy creatures that don’t come out, but they can crawl into curtains or maybe clothing left on the floor.

“Bites usually result from the spider’s rough handling or getting caught between clothing and skin.”

What do false widow spiders look like?

False widow spiders have shiny, black bodies and can be as large as a 50 cent coin. They have round bodies and will have skull-like markings on their bellies.

How to scare spiders?

If you’d like to keep the eight-legged creatures out of your home, there are a few things you can try to prevent them from sneaking in.

Avoid clutter

Spiders like to take refuge in dark, damp and cluttered places, so keeping your home clean can help keep them away.

Make sure you vacuum and dust regularly, and store things in boxes with plastic lids rather than cardboard to prevent the critters from gaining access.

Let natural light in

Do not leave blinds or curtains closed during the day or for extended periods when you are not at home, as spiders love the dark.

Use essential oils

Spiders ‘sniff’ with their paws, so strong odors will deter them from leaving their nooks and crannies.

Tea tree, rose, cinnamon, citrus, peppermint, citronella, lavender and eucalyptus are good oils to try – be sure to spray corners, windowsills and baseboards and top up regularly.

Draw some chalk lines

Spiders taste with their paws and they don’t like chalk, so drawing a line around windowsills, your bed or doorways will keep them from crossing.

Seal any cracks

Seal any small cracks in walls, floors and ceilings that spiders could use for access.

Keep Foliage Away From Your Home

Don’t grow plants too close to your house to crawl, as spiders will hide in them.

Leaf litter and accumulating woodpiles also make great hiding places for spiders, so be sure to keep your outdoor space tidy.

Do not use conkers

There is no evidence that conkers are effective at keeping spiders out.

Other strong flavors are likely to work better, such as garlic or vinegar.

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