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Venomous noble false widow spider found in Adelaide Street home in Stamford

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Stamford homeowners have been told to be on their guard after a venomous noble false widow spider was found in a town home.

The spiders have made headlines in recent years as their UK populations have grown, caused by rising temperatures.

While most bites are reported to give only mild symptoms, they have caused more severe reactions and even hospitalisations in a few cases, although no deaths have been recorded.

Simon captured the noble false widow spider in a pint glass
Simon captured the noble false widow spider in a pint glass

University student Ben Turpin (18) found the arachnid in the bathroom of their Adelaide Street family home and called in dad Simon for back-up.

"I took a picture of it and then went on Google to find out what it was," said Simon.

"Rather creepily they have a skull marking on their abdomen and a white band which helped us identify it.

Simon believes the specimen he found is female - larger than the male
Simon believes the specimen he found is female - larger than the male

"They are said to be quite docile, but if you don't know what you're dealing with and get bitten by one it can be nasty.

"Most spiders are good things to have around the house and garden because they get rid of pests, but these ones aren't."

After trapping it in a beer glass, a coaster was slid under the spider before it was removed from the home, unharmed.

Simon has become the designated spider removal man in his home and has also had to deal with a cardinal spider - one of the UK's largest species which can grow up to 14cm in length.

"We are not used to having poisonous spiders in this country so it's one of these things people should just be aware of," Simon added.

"It's not a killer, but they can cause some mischief so don't pick them up with your hands if you see one."

Noble false widows are not native to the UK, but are thought to have arrived from the Canary Islands in banana boxes in the late 1800s.

After becoming established along the south coast, global warming has allowed them to spread further north.

The Wildlife Trust insisted confirmed cases of noble false widow bites were rare and that adverse reactions were rarer still.

"In the extremely rare confirmed cases where a noble false widow has bitten someone, the bite has been compared to a wasp sting," said Rachel Shaw, spokesperson for the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.

"In even rarer cases, the bite may cause a person to feel unwell for a short time.

"The spiders are not aggressive towards people, and generally don’t bite unless they're roughly handled.

"Most recorded bites occur when people accidentally touch a spider which then reacts defensively."

Only a handful of confirmed sightings of the noble false widow spider have been made in Lincolnshire.

"Spiders can be difficult to identify and there are about 670 different species of spider occurring in Britain," Rachel added.

"Of those found in our homes and gardens, quite a few have markings similar to the false widow leading to many misidentifications.

"So the spider can be correctly identified, try to get a photograph of it, or, if you can do so safely, capture it.

  • There are 670 species of spider in Britain
  • There are three species of false widow spider - Steatoda bipunctata (the rabbit hutch spider), Steatoda grossa (the cupboard spider) and Steatoda nobilis (the noble false widow).
  • The noble false widow males typically grow to body lengths of up to 10mm and females up to 14mm, with a leg span which covers a fifty pence piece.
  • They are most often seen between July and November.

If you think you have been bitten and are concerned, visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/insect-bites-and-stings for guidance.

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