Fears toddler could be bitten as spiders multiply
1:00pm Thursday 17th October 2013 in By Dominic Gilbert
AN INFESTATION of false widow spiders is a cause for concern for the mother of a two-year-old girl who said she cannot afford the bill to get rid of the problem arachnids.
Nicole Whelan, of Farriers Close, returned home after a spell in hospital to discover the potentially dangerous spiders, latin name steatoda nobilis, had established a nest in her garden.
She had her suspicions confirmed after inspecting the markings on the spiders’ backs, and on one count found 23 of the invaders in her back garden.
But the council and her landlord cannot rid her of the problem, and the single mum said she could not afford pest control as she claims benefits.
“About three weeks ago I found a strange looking spider in my garden which had some spots on its back,” she said. “I did not really think much of it at first so I left it. “Later I did some research into it and discovered it could have been a false widow. When I found another one I looked closer and could see the markings on it, so I killed it quickly.”
When Nicole returned from a spell in hospital numbers had spiralled out of control.
“When I came back there were lots of little spiders which had the very same markings,” she said.
“I have been asking around other people and doing more research, and bites can be either very dangerous or completely harmless. Some people have said it is like having a bee sting, but I would not let my child play near a bees’ nest either.”
Nicole says she suffered a bite last week, and does not want to take any chances with her daughter.
“As it is getting colder they are going to want to come inside. They could be getting anywhere, and I am worried they could be infesting the shed or the toys.
“I have rung my landlord and they said they won’t cover it because it is not their problem. They gave me a quote from a contractor, but I would have to pay for the call out and all the spray, and I can’t afford that.”
A Swindon Council spokesman said: “The council has no statutory obligation to provide a pest control service and many authorities have been forced to abandon the service on financial grounds.
“However, we have maintained the service and employ one pest control officer providing a range of pest treatments for domestic and commercial premises.”
The British Arachnological Society says an allergic reaction is the most likely result of a bite from a false widow, and the risk of being bitten was relatively small.
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