Pest experts advise residents across the U.K. to expect an invasion of the false widow spider saying that the long period of mild weather has spurred their number.
The number of the species, which commonly lurks in the kitchen, toilets and conservatories, has grown to millions with sightings of the spider expected to increase nationwide. The spiders are known for their bites that are often as painful as that of a bee sting.
Clive Boase, a pest management consultant, said that the weather conditions provide an ideal opportunity for the significant rise in the population of the spiders in the coming months.
"We've had a reasonably warm year with very few cold snaps and no particularly extended periods of either dry or wet weather," Boase said. "That has led to more invertebrates, such as flies, to feed on and means false widows, as well as many other species of spiders, have been able to continue their development throughout the summer."
Boase said that the sightings of the arachnids typically peak starting September when males of many species become adults and venture into homes to search for a mate but there could be more of these than normal over the next two months.
Boase said that the spiders are shy creatures that do not come out in the open but could crawl into curtains and clothes that are left on the floor.
Pest control expert Rob Simpson said that there are simple precautions to take to reduce the odds of encountering the spider in the home. He advised home owners to minimize clutter, keep the house tidy and vacuuming regularly so the spiders will have limited places to hide. Spraying dark corners of the house with pesticide could also help.
Although false widow spiders have a fearsome reputation, reported incidents of bites are rare. Experts also say that the species are not often aggressive towards humans.
The spider is likewise not as dangerous as the Black Widow, whose venom can kill human beings. No death from false widow bite has so far been reported in the U.K.
John Tweddle, from the Natural History Museum, London, said that while adult female false widow spiders can bite humans if they are not handled with care, the smaller males do not cause bites.
Symptoms of bite include severe swelling, numbness and different levels of chest pains or burning albeit the severity of the symptoms depends on the amount of venom injected.
Photo: Ian Burt | Flickr