Venomous false widow spiders ‘hitched ride north’

The false widow spider spotted in Broomhouse. Picture: contributed
The false widow spider spotted in Broomhouse. Picture: contributed
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A SPATE of false widow sightings have been reported around the Capital as a spider expert revealed they “must have hitched a lift” to make it this far north.

Alarmed city residents have contacted the News in recent days after we reported how the eight-legged arachnids had been confirmed in Edinburgh.

Keith Spence. Picture: Greg Macvean

Keith Spence. Picture: Greg Macvean

Keith Spence, 29, came across one of the venomous creatures when it reared its head in his Clermiston flat.

Now the cousin of the deadly black widow has been spotted in other city locations.

After reading Keith’s story, Alison McMorrin came forward to say she had reported a false widow sighting in Silverknowes.

She said: “I had a false widow a few weeks ago but people just laughed and said it was only down south. It was just outside my window. I’m glad I wasn’t going mad and they are in fact in Edinburgh.”

And Lisa Shannon, from Broomhouse, said: “I had one in my kitchen. I climbed up on a chair as it was on the ceiling – to my horror the white widow has landed in Broomhouse, he now lives in a sandwich box.”

In recent weeks false widows have hit the headlines after a Kent grandad was left with horrific lesions on his leg after being bitten.

It had been previously stated that the spider’s journey north would stall due to colder temperatures but sightings continue to increase. Last week, a Glasgow dad-of-two told how he made a startling discovery in his living room in Castlemilk, while in East Kilbride between ten to 15 of the creatures were found in ducts at the town’s Envirogas plant.

Lawrence Bee, education and publicity officer for the British Arachnological Society, said: “We knew that there were large numbers of false widow’s in the south-east but for so many sightings to occur in Scotland in such a short space of time, it must have been transported by vehicle.

“It’s hard to believe that it could travel to Scotland by its own means.”

He also urged people not to panic if they spotted one of the spiders.

“False widows are not aggressive; they won’t chase or attack you, it is best to just leave them alone,” he said. “If they do threaten or bite, it is because of a web being disturbed or by someone getting too close.”

There are fears that with temperatures outside plummeting as the winter months approach, more of the spiders could make their way into homes to escape the cold. The most horrific injury so far is that suffered by decorator Ricki Whitmore, 39, who almost lost his leg when he disturbed a nest while working at a school in Essex.