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False widows lurk in our meter box!
LAINDON teenagers Connor Stebbing and Brad White found a nest of Britain’s most venomous spiders... living next to their electricity meter.
Connor, 17, and Brad, 18, discovered the false widow spiders in the meter box outside their home, in Elizabeth Way, Laindon.
Trainee waiter Connor said: “It’s worrying. We really don’t know what to do with them, or how to get rid of them.
“We found them the other night. We pulled up on the drive and our car headlights just caught three spiders hanging in the porch.
“They looked very unusual, so we went to have a look.
“I’d read about the false widow in the newspapers. We managed to catch one in a glass and then looked them up on the internet. The ones at our house have the same white markings. They’re horrible.”
The false widow spider is first believed to have arrived in England in the 1870s.
It is one of 12 of the 640 species of spiders now found in the wild in the UK which bite humans.
Although no one is thought to have died after being bitten by a false widow, victims have suffered bad reactions to the creatures’ venomous bites.
They hit the headlines in Essex and nationally after painter and decorator Ricki Whitmore almost lost a leg when he was bitten by one in Romford.
False widows have recently shown up in several parts of Essex, including Ingatestone Chelmsford, Rowhedge, near Colchester, and Burnham, as well as in Kent.
Basildon Council no longer has a pest control department, but a council spokesman suggested anyone finding what they suspected to be false widow spiders in their home should ask a pest control company for help.
Stuart Hine, manager of the Insect Information Service, said: “So far this year, we have received over 50 calls from members of the public suspecting this spider is in their homes or gardens.
“People also bring in specimens for identification. Most turn out to be a species of false widow, known as Steatoda grossa, though we have received ten confirmed bite reports from another false widow species, Steatoda nobilis, over the past eight years.”
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