False widow spiders set to invade UK homes after warmer weather increases numbers

Homes in Britain are set to be invaded this autumn by false widow spiders.

The combination of hotter September weather than expected and an abundance of bugs to eat means the spiders will live longer, according to wildlife experts.

Most false widows are males on the lookout for a female during mating season.

And when temperatures do finally cool, males will often find their way into people’s homes in search of warmth.

In recent years, there have been a number of reports of false widow spider bites in Britain.

However, there have been no reported deaths in the UK from a false widow bite.

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Bites are uncommon, and are similar to a bee or a wasp sting, but they can cause a severe reaction in humans and in some cases require hospital treatment.

False widows, or Steatoda nobilis, are most commonly found in the south of England, although they have been spotted in the north too.

Sussex Wildlife Trust officer Jess Price told The Argus: “It can give you a bite, which will feel like a wasp or a bee sting and there may be some people who may react badly to that.

“If you spot one outside then you can simply leave it alone and it will do no harm and will actually do good by eating insects.

“Obviously if they come into the house, people may not want them there. We would suggest not trying to pick them up but you can remove them using a paper and cup or glass.

“Spiders are around most of the time but they are normally hidden away in dark places and corners so you don’t see you don’t always see them.

“The females will normally remain on the webs but the males will be more out and about.

“This is the peak time for spotting them.”

The false widow is medium sized and has a round, brown body with cream markings and red/orange legs.

(Main picture: John E Walsh/@akazeeox)