PICTURES: Toxic false widow spiders sighted across Sutton and now in Coulsdon
The spread of venomous false widow spiders across Sutton seems to have been worse than first thought with people reporting sightings all over the borough.
As of yesterday, Sutton Council said it had two reports of false widow spiders, which are related to the deadly black widow.
But since the Sutton Guardian broke the story yesterday, we have been inundated with people saying they have found them in their houses and gardens.
Many people have sent in pictures of the minibeasts and others have caught them under glasses.
James Drewer found one in the garden of his home in Aultone Way, Rosehill.
He said: "It was about 1.5cm to 2cm long but I was particularly taken by its bulbous body.
"It caught my attention as I heard the frantic buzzing of a wasp caught in its web.
"I watched it spin and wrap the wasp up. It was a pretty ruthless thing."
Dale Johnston found this false widow in his bathroom
Mrs Osborne of Sherwood Park Road in Sutton said: "In the brickwork to my kitchen window on the outside lives a false widow.
"I shone the torch on it and it has the white skull like markings, the distinctive legs and bulbous body. I'm horrified by the way they have multiplied.
"Usually I get my children to get rid of the bugs I don't like as they don't mind, however, I'm needing to be extra careful now as these horrendous little spiders can turn somewhat lethal."
Sutton woman Emma Pitcher found one in her home and trapped it under a glass and said she can see where the animal has dripped venom on to the leaflet she has covering the top of the glass.
A woman from Coulsdon in Croydon says she found a suspected false widow and caught it in a glass before drowning it and is now worried she may have to get her home fumigated.
Sutton woman Samantha Cragg found this spider. It is a similar size and shape to a false widow but the colouring is unusual
This spider was caught in a glass in Coulsdon
The council says the best thing to do if you spot a false widow is to kill it with insecticide or to call its pest control team.
False widows are not native to this country but have survived here since they arrived from the Canary Islands in the 1870s.
"In recent weeks the arachnids, which are the most venomous spider to live in the UK, have been multiplying around south London.
Philippa Wales found this spider at her home
The spiders have bulbous abdomens and thick legs that are often black or sometimes red.
They are usually black and shiny and have cream coloured markings on their backs that have been compared to skulls.
Their bites can cause burning and swelling although they have been known to cause people to black out.
An outbreak was reported at the kidsunlimited nursery in London Road, North Cheam, last week.
It forced managers to bring in pest controllers and block children from entering a section of the nursery for two days.
To contact Sutton Council's pest control department, call customer services on 020 8770 5000.
If you have seen the spiders, have any pictures or even have been bitten, contact reporter Mike Pyle on 0208 722 6359 or firstname.lastname@example.org or use the comment facility below.
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