QUARANTINED Brits have reported a "huge increase" in the number of spider sightings, including the poisonous false widow.
Shocked homeowners have stumbled upon the influx of false widow spiders while clearing out their sheds and garages during lockdown.
Many have taken photos of the small black arachnids and uploaded them to social media to ask people for help identifying them.
One posted: "Share your horrible spider pics. Here's one from my shed last night – a false widow."
Dan Guilliatt said: "Our shed has turned into spider heaven in this spell of warm weather and I'm curious to know if this is a false widow spider?"
Redfrosty7 posted: "This false widow was in my next door neighbours shed. I'd have burnt the whole thing down."
False widows – Steatoda Nobilis in Latin – are about a centimetre long and are Britain's most venomous spider.
A relative of the deadly black widow spider in Australia, they have a distinctive jet black colouring with a white marking on their abdomen.
The false widow came to Britain 200 years ago after they arrived in bananas imported from the Canary Islands.
But in recent years their numbers have rocketed thanks to climate change bringing milder winters.
Their poisonous bite can lead to severe swelling which in the worst cases, can result in the person being hospitalised.
But the British Pest Control Association has reassured people that despite their menacing appearance, false widow spiders are unlikely to cause harm.
A spokesman for British Arachnological Society (BAS) said: "We have had a huge increase in sightings of all species associated with the house and garden.
"False widows are a small proportion of current incoming records but we already know that the species are very widespread and well established across the southern half of Britain.
What are the most poisonous animals in the world?
Here are seven of the most deadly creatures…
- The box jellyfish is widely regarded to be the most posionous animal in the world and contians a toxin that can cause heart attacks
- Cobras, typically found in the jungles of India and China, can spit a venom which can result in death in a very short space of time and just 7ml of their venom is enough to kill 20 humans
- The marbled cone snail is a sea creature that can release venom so toxic it can result in vision loss, respiratory failure, muscle paralysis and eventually death and, to make things worse, there is no anti-venom avaliable
- Posion dart frogs are small and brightly coloured but have glands containing a toxin that blocks nerve signals to muscles, causing paralysis and death
- Puffer fish are considered to be a dangerous delicacy because some of their anatomy contains a hazardous toxin which, if ingested in a large quantity, can cause convulsions, paralysis, cardiac arrhythmia, and ultimately death
- The Brazillian wandering spider, also known as the 'banana spider', has venom that is so high in serotonin it can paralyse and kill
- Death stalker scorpions have a fitting name as enough venom from one can cause a lot of pain and respiratory failure
"The overall increase is undoubtedly a direct result of the lockdown. Many more people are at home and making the best of enjoying the company of their local wildlife."
The group said it had spotted the rise in reports on social media, but could not change the records for different species via this route.
They added: "Virtually everyone asking us about false widows is reassured to have factual information, and most think the spiders themselves are beautiful."
The BAS is now running a survey during lockdown and is asking people to record the types of spiders they find at home, from daddy longlegs to the lesser seen wine cellar spider.
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What are your opinions on spiders? Let us know in the comments!
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