Noble false widow spider bites can land you in the hospital, a new study has shown.
For the past 10 years, false widow spiders have camped in Irish houses and sheds across the country.
A NUIG study shows that bites from the noble false widow can lead to symptoms similar to those of the true black widow spider and hospitalization in severe cases.
Where do they come from?
The noble false widow originated in the Canary Islands and Madeira, and in the years since, it has become one of the most invasive spider species.
The first reported sighting in Ireland occurred in Bray in the 1990s. In the two decades since then, it has become widespread in Ireland, the United Kingdom and continental Europe.
False widows have made urban areas their home, as well as sheds, walls, under rocks and tree bark.
They are dangerous?
Symptoms can be both local and systemic and range from mild to debilitating pain. Some victims experience severe swelling at the bite, high or low blood pressure, nausea, and even reduced mobility.
Others have developed wounds around the bite mark, as well as bacterial infections.
They have a poisonous but not lethal sting.
So what has led to this explosion in your population?
Scientists have said that climate change is not the reason and instead believe that a genetic mutation within the false widow species has made it easier for them to survive and develop.
The globalized nature of the word has also contributed to the spread of false widows who ride in drawers bound for European countries.
Michel Dugon, lead author of the study and director of the Poison Systems Laboratory at NUI Galway said: “In addition to their medically important poison, the false noble widows [steatoda nobilis] they are extremely adaptable and competitive in nature. “
The study revealed that the vast majority of bites (88%) occurred when the victim was asleep or when the spider was trapped in clothing.