The UK has seven species of false widow spider. Four are native, two are accidental introductions and one is frequently imported but not established yet. Native UK species: Steatoda phalerata, Steatoda albomaculata, Steatoda bipunctata, Steatoda grossa Introduced species: Steatoda nobilis: fully established in southern counties and increasing its range year on year, the species most associated with false widow worries. False widows belong to a group of spiders which are part of the same family as the infamous Black Widow spiders, although they are nowhere near as toxic. They're frequently mistaken for Black Widow spiders, which has led to the common name of "False Widow" spiders. Believed to have arrived in the UK from the Canary Islands, first recorded in Torquay, Devon, back in 1879. Since then it has adapted well to our colder climate. False widows have a reputation for biting people, although, this is quite a rare occurrence. They only bite if mishandled or provoked. People who have experienced the bite say it's similar to a bee sting. Although medical help should be sought if symptoms continue. False widow webs are a tangled scaffold of silk with the spiders usually confined to a crack or crevice in the wall or similar structure.
Size: Body length (excluding legs): Female: 8–15mm Male: 7–10mm Size: (including legs): Female: 20–32mm Male: 16–22mm Dark shiny body.
The abdomen has some pale markings on the top, and there is a creamy coloured band all around the front. Usually found in houses and out buildings, feeds on flies and other small insects.
In general, the life cycle lasts about 1-2 years and the females usually live longer than the smaller males. The white, spherical egg-sacs are produced at intervals, their number depending on the food supply. Eggs hatch within 2-4 months.
Where spiders require controlling, this is usually achieved by physical collection and web destruction by vacuuming. This may not be suitable with species such as the False Widow, and in such instances control may be achieved by the removal of prey. This may involve the use of insecticidal sprays to control prey and/or predator.
Products to control False Widow Spider:
Eradisect Flying and Crawling Insect Killer (600ml)
Green Hero Frost Spray (500ml)