False Widow Spider UK Alert Closes London Schools!

At least ten London schools have so far been forced to temporarily close their doors to students and staff. The reason for these closures? A rampant false widow spider infestation. The false widow spider UK is one of the most venomous spiders we can have here. It is around a similar size to a 50p coin.

The false widow spider UK gets its name because of its resemblance to deadly black widow spider. Whilst their bites aren’t deadly, a false widow bite can cause a lot of pain. The bite results in swelling, blistering, fever and nausea.

Across London, the false widow spider UK has been found in primary and secondary schools. These schools are located in East London. The spiders are in large enough swarms to warrant the complete closure of these 10 schools until the infestation has cleared. This means some schools could remain closed for up to one month.


image of a false wodow

Photo courtesy of Brenda Avery


So far there have been no reports of false widow spider UK bites from staff or students in the schools. Despite this, pest control professionals in London have advised that the schools be closed until the false widow spider UK and their eggs have been removed. Students have been instructed to stay at home as of now, but there is the possibility of alternative locations for teaching if the problem becomes long-term.

False widow spiders in the UK – like most other pests at this time of year – want a warm, sheltered place to mate in the autumnal months. The temperature has been unusually high this year. This is part of the reason why we are seeing such an increase in the number of false widows this October.

The UK first experienced the false widow in the 1800s when they arrived on trade ships. You could mainly find them on the south coast where the weather is warmer. As temperatures have risen over the decades, the spiders have spread further northwards. People have reported seeing false widows as far north as Inverness.


false widow spider UK

Photo courtesy of Brenda Avery


Even though they have a dangerous reputation, you can usually repeal false widow spiders using normal insect repellent. However, you should take steps to avoid them if you think you’ve spotted one.


False Widow Spider UK Facts

Knowing more about false widows will help you spot pest infestations in your home, school or business. There’s a lot of misinformation out there with the media horror stories. The public can avoid bites and problems with false widows with the proper knowledge of the species.

  1. There’s More Than One Kind
    There actually happen to be a lot of types of false widow spiders – around 120. Don’t worry though. Only a handful of these live in the UK. And most of that handful aren’t biters. When you see people talking about the false widow, they are usually referring to the noble false widow. This is because it’s the most venomous and the most common.
  2. They’re Not Deadly
    A lot of media hysteria surrounds these spiders. However nobody in the UK has ever died from a false widow bite! The bite is painful, make no mistake, with it feeling much like a wasp sting. It is unlikely to kill you and you probably won’t even need medical attention. If a spider bites you, be sure to keep the area clean and dry for a few days. This helps to avoid infection. If the bite gets worse after a day or so, seek out medical advice.


UK spiders shut schools

Photo courtesy of Brenda Avery


  1. They Like To Be Indoors
    False widows behave the same as any other insect in many respects. They like to be indoors and will seek out a warm place in the autumn. This is why people are spotting them in their homes regularly at this time of year. It’s important to remember that they are just like regular spiders in many ways, and spiders can be prevented with repellents and other pest control measures.
  2. They Aren’t That Interested In You
    False widow spider bites are painful. But they won’t seek you out just to bite you. The don’t suck your blood, they don’t want to eat you or anything like that. They only bite if they feel threatened, like most other pests. False widows will also bite if they feel trapped. So make sure to check your shoes and wellies before you put your foot in to spot any spiders hiding there. Apart from that, if you see a false widow leave it alone. It will leave you alone in return. Simply trap it in the normal way but with extra care.
  3. They’ve Been Around For A While
    Because of the social media boom, people think false widows have only recently graced our shores. This isn’t true. They’ve been here a lot longer than any of us, since those ships in the 1800s! Vessels from the Canary Islands carried them here, and they have happily spread across Britain ever since.

Thanks to the very warm summer we’ve had, and a cold winter on its way, we’re experiencing an escalated false widow problem at the moment. Pest control for false widows in your home, place of work or education is important if you have an infestation. If you’re child’s school has been closed because of the problem, make sure to keep yourself informed of the safety precautions being carried out so as to keep your children safe from certain pest control chemicals. Call us immediately if you think you have an infestation. Or even if you need advice or reassurance about what action to take. We are here to help.