Pest control company warns of toxic spider plague
Ireland is facing a toxic spider plague according to a pest control company which is now dealing with 10 – 15 spider related callouts a week.
Fears are growing as Ireland has been experiencing milder winters, that the numbers of venomous spider have been multiplying, which may lead to an increase in venomous spider attacks.
The false widow spider or Steatoda nobilis which came to the UK from the Canary Islands a hundred years ago have made a home for themselves in Ireland and are growing in population.
A bite from the false widow is rarely fatal, but can cause infections and in some cases amputations.
The biggest threat from the false widow is anaphylactic shock caused by an allergy to the venom, which has proven fatal in the past.
28-year-old Eugene Murphy from Dublin spent 24 hours in intensive care after being bitten by a false widow spider.
He had to be injected twice with adrenalin after going into cardiac arrest last Saturday.
The civil engineer was bitten three times in ten minutes by the false widow spider in the side and the shoulder.
Meanwhile a mum of four in Co Down nearly lost her leg in July following a false widow attack.
Complete Pest Control boss Trevor Hayden told The Mirror: “In the past two to three years there has absolutely been an increase in numbers. There are a lot of them around at the moment especially at this time of the year.
“The amount of spider calls we’ve received has increased by at least 30%. Most of those calls are for either a false widow or wolf spiders.
“We are a general pest control company and wouldn’t normally get calls for spiders but now we’re doing 10 to 15 jobs a week just for spiders and mostly they are false widows.
“We have guys all over the country and there’s no one particular county that has been hit more or less than others.
“Part of the reason there has been such an increase in numbers is because of the mild winters that we've had over the past few years.
“Whether or not they will keep increasing depends on this winter.”
The false widow, whose bite has been likened to that of a bee sting, has a dark, shiny body with pale markings and a cream band on its abdomen.