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False widow spider

The United Kingdom has 7 species of false widow spider. The noble false widow spider is the species most associated with false widow worries.

What does the noble false widow spider look like?

The noble false widow spider looks similar to the black widow spider, hence the name. It has a striking bulbous abdomen which is brownish in colour, usually with distinctive cream markings and reddish-orange legs. Females can grow to 15mm, or 32mm, including the legs.

Where in the UK does the noble false widow spider live?

The noble false widow spider is not native to the UK. It was accidentally introduced over a century ago, probably amongst imported fruit. However, over the last three decades, numbers of the noble false widow spider have significantly increased.

Although largely found in the south of England, sightings of the noble false widow spider are continuing to come from further afield. Climate change and warmer winters are likely to be contributing to this.

It is not necessary to report any sightings of the noble false widow spider to us.

Does the noble false widow spider bite?

The noble false widow spider is probably the UK's most venomous spider. These spiders are capable of inflicting a painful bite. However, they are not usually aggressive to humans, and being bitten is rare. Bites usually result from a defensive action, for example, a noble false widow spider being accidentally squashed.

The Natural History Museums Identification and Advisory Service has received no more than 30 confirmed reports of noble false widow spider bites over a 16-year period.

Is the bite of a noble false widow spider dangerous?

The symptoms of a bite are usually no more severe than a bee or wasp sting. A minority of those who have been bitten have described more acute symptoms, including throbbing pain, swelling in the affected part and tingling in the fingers. Some have described fever and a feeling of being unwell. These symptoms may last for a couple of days, but are generally without long lasting effect.

If you are bitten and the symptoms of the bite cause concern, medical advice should be sought.

What do I do if I find a noble false widow spider in my house?

We do not provide a service for identifying, treatment, or collection, of spiders.

If you do see a noble false widow spider, you can remove it by placing a glass or other receptacle over the top of them, and then sliding a piece of card under the container. Pick it up carefully and release it outside, preferably a little way away from the property if possible.

If you have concerns about a serious infestation of the noble false widow spider, you may want to contact a local pest control service.

How to deter spiders from your house

There are a number of ways in which you can deter spiders from your property:

  • Ensure all doors and windows are draught excluded
  • Vacuum regularly and remove cobwebs
  • Minimise the amount of clutter around the property