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Poison spiders in Kent - latest

By Amywoodland  |  Posted: September 29, 2013

A false widow spider

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A POISONOUS spider is now colonising in Kent, say experts.

The false widow spider, or Steatoda nobilis, is now becoming a resident in the south east due to climate change.

Now there have been reports from readers in Ashford and Shepway that the insect is thriving in Kent.

A bite can cause massive swelling but are not thought to be fatal in the vast majority of cases.

Earlier this week we reported that hundreds of sightings had been reported in north Kent and now we’ve been contacted by people in Hawkinge and Ashford who believe they’ve seen false widows too.

Debbie Bradley said: “We live in Hawkinge and have been plagued by them all through the summer! I think they are already here and have taken up residence!

“They had been nesting in our greenhouse and children's slide, my husband has the scary job of getting rid of them!”

A mum-of-two from Singleton in Ashford revealed that she has spotted four of the arachnids in her area and another reader got in touch to say that his wife had found one in a jumper she was about to put on.

False widows, or Steatoda nobilis, which are about the size of a 50p, release a venom when they bite but will only attack if provoked.

Originally from the Canary Islands, they have been present in this country since the 1890s, but numbers are thought to be on the increase, particularly in the south east.

Recorded statistics from the Natural History Museum’s Insect Information Service show that there are an average of ten false widow bites a year.

Stuart Hines of the Natural History Museum’s Insect Information Service said: “If handled unwisely or accidentally, adult Steatoda nobilis are capable of biting humans. Reports from those bitten describe a certain amount of pain and often a degree of swelling in the affected part. These symptoms may last for a couple of days but the total effect is unlikely to be more serious than that; however, if symptoms were to persist it would be advisable to seek medical attention.”

If you spot a false widow (pictured above) you are advised to remove it using a cup and a piece of paper rather than picking it up.

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