Toxic false widow spiders return to Sutton as eggs begin to hatch
A new batch of toxic false widow spiders have started hatching in Sutton.
It was thought the plague of venomous spiders spotted in and around people's homes last year had been stopped in its tracks by the weather.
But it turns out they laid eggs which have started hatching now the spring is here.
The spiders are the most venomous to live in Britain and last year their numbers surged with people spotting them all over the borough - including in a nursery.
A false widow spider
Experts say their bite is no worse than the sting of a bee or wasp but several people reported having severe reactions after being bitten by the creatures last year.
False widow numbers rose in warm weather last year and then, as the weather cooled in October, many of them were spotted in and around people's houses as they sought warmth.
Shortly after that the sightings stopped as the cold weather killed the animals off.
But now the sightings have started again because the spiders laid eggs before they died and last week's hot weather has prompted them to start hatching.
Jay Wigglesworth of Courtney Crescent in Carshalton Beeches found this adult female false widow in his bathtub last week after moving to the area earlier in the month.
He said: "After reading about the false widow spiders back in October 2013, I've had my eye out for them. Me, my wife and cat just moved in a couple of weeks ago and I did not have to go looking out in the garden as this full size female one found its way into our bath tub.
"It's the cat I'm worried about."
The spider found in Mr Wigglesworth's bath
Lawrence Bee of the British Arachnological Society said: "Many spiders begin to emerge from over wintering once the temperatures begin to rise in the spring. The false widow spiders that are being reported are probably young which have hatched from overwintering eggs."
False widow spiders are Britain's most venomous spider and their numbers are increasing thanks to rising temperatures. Their bite does not normally require treatment unless it causes an ulcer or swelling, in which care people are advised to go to their local walk-in centre.
Several different species of false widow are known to live in the UK. The usually have thick legs, which are often red, and bulbous, black abdomens that often have a skull-like pattern. They are named because of their resemblance top the much-more-toxic black widow spider.
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