News, Culture & Society

Infestation of venomous spiders in same area where schools closed after outbreak 

A flat block has been evacuated amid an infestation of venomous false widow spiders. 

Residents in Quayside House in Newham, east London, claim they are ‘living in fear’ of the arachnids which have been found in the walls, around windows and in beds.

Earlier this month, four schools in the area were closed for up to four weeks after being infested with the spiders.

Mother-of-two Dionne Burrows has been left on antibiotics after being bitten while her terrified nine-year-old son has moved in with his grandmother, too afraid to sleep in his own bed after finding spiders near it.

Dionne Burrows, 28, and daughter Ava, two, are ‘living in fear’ of the spiders in their home 

False widow spiders live in the ceiling tiles of Quayside House in Canning Town

False widow spiders live in the ceiling tiles of Quayside House in Canning Town

Ms Burrows first spotted false widows inside her first-floor flat a month ago but despite fumigating her home twice, she said they still remain.

The 28-year-old said Luke was left so petrified after finding a spider beside his bed he is staying with his great grandmother until the problem is resolved.

She said: ‘I cannot live like this anymore, I am really scared and my son is terrified. I even found one right next to my little boy’s bed. The building is riddled with them, it’s ridiculous.

‘They are in the corners, all over the walls and crawling across the door frames. There are so many damp areas in the building which they apparently like.’

Earlier this month, four east London schools were shut for up to a month to treat the invasion of False Widow Spiders, ‘immediately, before the eggs start hatching’.

The schools closed are Rokeby Secondary school and Star Lane Primary in Canning Town, Lister Community School in Plaistow and Ellen Wilkinson Primary in Beckton. 

Ms Burrows was first bitten on her thigh and shin two months ago when doctors put her on antibiotics.

The flat block has been evacuated amid an infestation of venomous false widow spiders

The flat block has been evacuated amid an infestation of venomous false widow spiders

The arachnids which have been found in the walls, around windows and in beds

Insect monitors have been placed after fumigation

The arachnids which have been found in the walls, around windows and in beds. Right, Insect monitors have been placed after fumigation

Ms Burrows' nine-year-old son is too afraid to sleep in his own bed after finding spiders beside it

Ms Burrows’ nine-year-old son is too afraid to sleep in his own bed after finding spiders beside it

She said: ‘It was terrible pain and that is what terrifies me with the kids.’

Ms Burrows then went to the Sanctuary Housing office in Hackney, north London, with her two young children and placed a jar full of false widows on the desk.

But she was told by her landlord that it was not something they were obliged to ‘act on legally.’ 

Two weeks ago, residents at Quayside House were asked to evacuate their homes so that the entire building could be fumigated by pest control.

But Ms Burrows insisted her flat be fumigated again and she was moved to a hotel room for two nights with her children.

She said: ‘I have a baby at home and I told them we cannot go on living there until they help us. I am not sleeping at all because I am up all night looking in all the corners for them and worrying about my kids.’ 

John Hanson, Head of Housing, said: ‘When we were made aware of this issue, we contacted specialist contractors who have now taken the appropriate action, including treating flats and communal areas.

‘While we understand that people may be concerned, we have been reassured by the contractors that the health risk is low.’

Eggs of false widow spiders are unlikely to hatch despite the building being fumigated 

Eggs of false widow spiders are unlikely to hatch despite the building being fumigated 

WHAT IS THE FALSE WIDOW SPIDER AND WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET BITTEN

False widow spiders are distinctive for their shiny, black flesh, bulbous bodies, thick legs and skull-like patterns.

Millions of false widows, Britain’s most venomous spider, have been found across the UK and the population is believed to be growing.

The species has a brown bulbous abdomen with cream markings that look like a skull. They have long legs and can reach about 15mm in size.

Also known as steatoda nobilis, the spider is frequently confused for the black widow, which has deadly venom.

The false widow was first spotted in the UK in Torquay, Devon, in 1879, and it is understood that it may have made its way to these shores from Madeira or the Canary Islands in a shipment of bananas.

The Natural History Museum says that warmer summers mean the spider is spreading northwards through the UK, having been found mainly in southern England.

False widow spiders are distinctive for their shiny, black flesh, bulbous bodies, thick legs and skull-like patterns

False widow spiders are distinctive for their shiny, black flesh, bulbous bodies, thick legs and skull-like patterns

IF YOU GET BITTEN…

The first thing you should do is wash the area thoroughly with soap and water to prevent infection – and don’t scratch, as if you break the skin there’s more chance for bacteria to get in.

Cover bites with a plaster and apply an antihistamine sting cream to calm any inflammation or itching, says Stuart Hine, from the Natural History Museum’s identification and advisory service.

Any redness, pain or swelling should subside after three days.

Be alert to potential signs of infection, such as weeping blisters or painful swelling, that continue to get worse after a few days.

If this happens, seek advice from your GP.

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.