Black widows are one of the most common spiders that people fear. They get their name because they kill their mate after successfully breeding. There reputation for death makes them all the more strange and creepy to people, especially people who already have a fear of spiders.
One of the things that makes black widow spiders so recognizable is their color, body shape and the hourglass symbol on their backs. Recently, a spider with a similar appearance has been popping up all over the country. These false widow spider populations are growing at an alarming rate and have even caused a school to be closed down due to infestation.
Biologists say that false widows spiders are not poisonous or deadly but they will bite if necessary. Stuart Hine, manager of the Insect Identification Service at the Natural History Museum said,
“It’s not deadly at all. It’s a species which can bite and does bite.”
“Generally speaking symptoms are no worse than a bee or wasp sting and in truth you’re more likely to be stung by a wasp than you are to be bitten by this spider.”
Scientists aren’t sure what is causing the false widow spider populations to grow so quickly, but believe it could be due to climate change. The UK has also witnessed an increase in false window populations and infestations.
Biologists believe that the reason so many of these spider are seen in the fall is becasuse it is the time of year that they become full grown and start hunting and looking for mates. Female spiders usually stay in their webs while the males are more likely to explore their nearby world.
Although the spiders can bite and strike fear in the hearts of many, experts say they are not likely to harm humans unless threatened.
Image from Wikimedia Commons.