False Widow spider panic spreads as first school outside Newham epicentre shuts

The False Widow menace appears to be spreading, as the first school outside of Newham has shut because of an outbreak of the venomous arachnids.

More than 4,000 pupils have already been stay at home after ten schools in the east London borough closed following outbreaks of the UK’s most venomous spider.

There are fears the arachnids have now spread to the neighbouring borough of Redbridge after one of its schools closed on Friday after becoming infested with spiders.

Council leader Jas Athwal said Fairlop Primary School, in Hainault, east London, said the exact species and type of infestation was yet to be established, but it could be false widows.

A council spokeswoman said: “After reports that a small number of people had been bitten by a spider, Fairlop Primary School was closed to allow for pest control assessments to be made and for the problem to be treated.

“The school worked in conjunction with parents to ensure that all pupils were safely released to their parents’ care and provided further advice to parents and staff about how a spider bite of this kind might be treated.

“The school will be closed for the rest of today and will remain closed tomorrow to allow the relevant services access to the parts of the schools affected.

“Treatment of the affected areas of the school will continue during the half term holiday next week and the school will make arrangements to provide advice and guidance to parents about the school re-opening after the forthcoming October holiday”.

The False Widow was introduced to Britain in late 19th century and is native to the Canary Islands and Madeira.

It appears similar to the deadly Black Widow but its bites are similar to wasp or bee stings.

There are three types – the noble false widow, or steatoda nobilis, the steatoda bipunctata and the steatodo grossa – in the UK.

They all have shiny abdomens with a white half moon shape at the front, and grow up to 14 mm long.

The noble false widow has the most toxic bite of any British spider but there have no reported death resulting from them, yet.

By Ben Gelblum and Berny Torre


Now thousands of pupils off school, are False Widow spiders really that dangerous?

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