The venomous False Widow Spider is being blamed for the dreadful spider bites suffered by women in Tonbridge, Kent.
Pub landlady, Genda Roots, needed treatment in hospital after she suffered painful bites on her arm and leg during the night. Having received antibiotics by injection in hospital, Mrs Roots left hospital with additional antibiotic supplies and her arm in a sling. Her husband David said: “It was serious. The blister that came up on her arm was unbelievable.”
Another Tonbridge resident, 24 year-old Chloe Harding, was alarmed to spot two false widow spiders in her home and has linked them with a bite she received in the night that was: “large, swollen and made my leg ache all day.” Chloe described the spiders: “I spotted a spider – quite unique – by my bed, but didn’t think much of it. I went away for the weekend and when I came back on Sunday the same looking spider was now in the kitchen. I took a closer look and noticed the skull-like markings on its back and knew it was a false widow. I trapped it and left it and by the morning it was dead. Then last night I found a slightly larger false widow climb in my bedroom window. My landlords said they will investigate to see if there is a nest and remove it.”
Dave Clarke, the head of invertebrates at ZSL London Zoo says that the false widow spider has “been around since 1867 in Britain, but they are increasing their range across the country.” Although there have not been any deaths from their bites, a bite could: “cause some local swelling and a bit of irritation but it’s only if you are having an allergic reaction that it could be more serious.” The false widow has an enlarged abdomen, about the size of a fifty pence piece, with a dark abdomen with some white markings and paler legs.