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Fri 11th October 2013 16:55 by Evan Jones
Re False Widow Spiders.

The best way to get bitten by one is to squeeze it between two body parts of your choosing. I have Steatoda grossa in the cavities of my house walls and under floor boards and also increasingly I have Steatoda nobilis in just about every cool nook and cranny inside the house and around the garden. These spiders are active all the time but really perk up at night when they come out of their retreats and you can see them in their webs. I have had a big female nobilis in a large web above the door in my porch for two years now. Big and shiny!

I suppose there is some danger of a wandering spiders (usually males) getting into bedding or clothing and being pressed against the skin. The Mouse spider Scotophaeus is good at that as well! Then a bite can happen. If you do not like them James Dyson has put years of research into inventing a spider catching device that is the best way of removing them although it is expensive! What I mean is just suck them up with the hoover. The long tube removes most of the risk of them going for the jugular!.

However with the increasing popularity of the wood-burning stove there are bound to be nips from Steatodas and other big spiders when on a dark rainy night the wood runs out and the shivering householder clutches armfuls of logs from the wood shed to their bare arms and pyjama chest. There is something nasty in the woodshed after all.

The recent spread of this spider has been a major change to our spider fauna. a few weeks ago I got excited when I found a Theridiid web in the middle of an almost bare patch of saltmarsh mud. Guess who's it was. Steatoda nobilis. They are everywhere!  This spider is probably displacing other species. It is a voracious hunter of other spiders and also takes up the holes in wall etc. that were formerly home to several other types of spider not just Theridiids. It could well prove to be a bit of an invasive species biodiversity disaster. Another one!

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