How dangerous is the false widow spider?
The false widow spider is not aggressive and will usually only bite a person when it feels threatened.
Its preferred option is to flee to safety. Their venom is a precious resource that takes time to generate and so they will use it very sparingly.
"The tiniest amounts of venom – about 1,000th of a raindrop – can cause medically significant symptoms in humans that are about 250,000 times larger than them."
As venomous as the true black widow spider
Times more venomous than our native spiders
False widow spider bite symptoms
A bite from a false widow is not fatal and the majority of bites are mostly mild.
- Mild Pain
- Debilitating pain
- Impaired mobility
- Allergic reaction
- Tissue necrosis
- Severe bacterial infection
The majority of false widow spider bites in Ireland and the UK occur inside the home when the spider has been accidentally trapped in clothing or bedsheets.
"Dry biting" is when the spider bites without releasing any venom.
This appears to be its preferred mode of defence. For this reason, false widow bites are usually only as painful as a bee or a wasp sting.
The National Poisons Information Centre (NPIC)
Contact the NPIC, a GP or pharmacist if pain persists or swelling develops.
How to avoid a false widow bite
Close windows in the evening when the spiders become more active and may enter your home for warmth.
Clean and Dust
Removing webs and cleaning regularly will discourage the spiders from staying in your home.
Shake out clothing before contact, the spiders often get trapped there and may bite in defence.
Keeping carpets clean and free of debris will discourage spiders and their prey from settling in.
Wear gloves when working outside or in sheds. Store gloves where the spiders can not enter them.
Check Wheelie Bins
Keep the bin lid and handles free of spider webs. Wear protective gloves when handling the bin.
False widow spider species in Ireland
False widow spider in Ireland stories
A Close Encounter in Cork Hey there! Hope you're keeping well, I actually stumbled across my first false widow spider earlier today and identified it with the help of the internet. I have nothing but good things to say about it honestly! I typically tend to keep my pajamas on if I know I'm not going out for the day, so I had them on for quite a while. I...
Lots of false widow spider webs Over the past year I have noticed a lot of false widow spider webs in my back garden around my shed. I recognised them due to their messy box/sail like shape - as opposed to the traditional neat patterned web of a typical garden spider. The spiders are only active at night so I wasn't too concerned. But I was very...
Was it a baby false widow spider bite? I'm pretty sure I sustained a baby false widow spider bite this summer but I'm not 100% sure. I have seen loads of the adults recently, really for the first time too. A neighbour told me last year that they had a lot of false widow spiders in their back garden. That year I started to notice a few around the outside...