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A mass of false widow spiders - what to do?

FireFire Posts: 17,116
Here's a bit of a quandry: during a night slug hunt spotted five+ false widows in my composting/utility area in the garden. I tried to take pictures at night - when they emerge, but they don't like the light. They have clear markings on their abdomens. I am running the garden (mostly) to encourage most wildlife and I love spiders; the are a vital part of the garden's developing eco-system. The area is small - about 2x2m, and used daily, housing water butts, compost bins, tool shed, flower pots etc, so there is not a way I can avoid it. I have seen the webs made across the compost bins, but suspect they are elsewhere too. I don't usually do a slug hunt in this composting area at night, so haven't spotted the spiders there.

I have workmen coming to repair the shed. I imagine there is a fair chance they might encounter them, as we will need to move the bins to get access for works...  Friends regularly help me out, in that area too.  They would probably only bite "if disturbed" but they are disturbed there quite a lot.

Has anyone here been bitten by an ID'd false widow? Are they pretty minor?

Your thoughts are welcome.


  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,818
    No but I had a google about for info and it seems their bite is similar to a wasp sting in terms of being painful.  Some people react more than others but the only danger seems to be if they scratch so much the wound gets infected.

    Have some antiseptic lotion and anti itch cream to hand, just in case.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • barry islandbarry island Posts: 1,614
    The only time that I have knowingly seen a false widow was in a pack of lidl grapes taken out of the fridge, obviously it wasn't very active but soon warmed up once in the sun.
  • OH and I were both bitten by false widow spiders a couple of years ago. It was painful and left a raised mark for sometime but slightly less painful than a wasp sting I would have said.
  • shazza 3shazza 3 Posts: 181
    i've seen newspaper reports and some people have had awful looking reaction to the bites. i would not like to be bitten by one. am terrified of spiders anyway !!!!
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    edited July 2021
    I saw ten widows tonight, among the stacked garden chairs, behind the shed. Big webs everywhere, stretched fence to fence.

    The venom might only equate to a wasp sting, but I can't say I'm comfortable with the situation.

    It is interesting to go looking for spiders at night - not something I have investigated until this summer. There is quite a different set out hunting than I see in the daytime.
  • TheGreenManTheGreenMan Posts: 1,628
    I was bitten by one when we lived in Berks and it smarted for a while and that was it.  My mother in law was bitten by one that had taken up residence in her gardening wellies.  She had to go to hospital as her foot swelled up so much she couldn't wear shoes!
  • JellyfireJellyfire Posts: 1,139
    We have loads that take up residence in our window frames over winter. I think their name has led to lots of sensational tabloid reporting, when in actual fact they are not really any more dangerous or aggressive than some other native spiders. Some people will have a reaction to them, as many do to bee or wasp stings, but generally speaking I dont think there is any more danger of your workmen being bitten by them than a few other spiders they might encounter in the garden
  • Fire said:

    I have workmen coming to repair the shed. I imagine there is a fair chance they might encounter them, 
    They probably will. I'm guessing there is a fair chance (if they repair sheds often) they've encountered them before - and probably on occasion, much worse. Let them know they are there and the workmen can then decide if they want to do the repair - of course if they don't your shed doesn't get fixed. 
  • B3B3 Posts: 24,450
    Better than them spotting them half way through the job and leaving.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
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