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VIDEO: Cornwall's Giant Spider Warning

false widow spider
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6:15am 26th September 2014
(Updated 6:15am 26th September 2014)

Is Cornwall facing an autumn invasion of giant spiders?

The warm summer means more have survived and are now looking for a mate as temperatures cool.

It is prompting fears false widows will be among the species heading into our homes.

The creature is Britain's most poisonous spider and has a number of colonies in the Duchy.

Holly Day's dad, John, discovered one in his Carbis Bay home when he showed round a builder: "He then said, 'Well gosh, that's a false widow spider. They can be quite nasty - they can give you a nasty bite.'

"I was a bit surprised. I'm not a great fan of squishing these creatures. I'd rather let them be. But, before I could say anything the spider was rapidly dispatched.

"The web was quite substantial, as if it had been there for some time - it was a very large web.

"I had been up in the attic before to do other jobs and had seen the web before, but my natural inclination is to live and let live so I hadn't done anything about it."

John Meek from Newquay Zoo is urging people not to panic if they find one of the spiders with distinctive pale markings on its body: "People panic over spiders anyway - it's one of the biggest phobias out there. But these things are no more dangerous than any other spider.

"All spiders are to one degree or another poisonous but the likelihood of being biten by one of these things is so slim it's untrue. So I wouldn't worry about it.

"They can be a little bit sore. They've been known to cause small rashes. I've been biten myself and it was a bit sore on my arm and it swelled up a bit. But it wasn't anything serious.

"You'll get bitten an awful lot worse by a Jack Russell than you will a spider."

Find out how to face your fears scientifically here.

How To Drive Away Spiders

  • Keep your home clean and tidy and vacuum regularly. This will stop other pests feeding on crumbs and leftovers which could attract spiders - and give them fewer places to hide
  • Turn off the lights. Although spiders aren't attracted - their prey is. So switch off outdoor lights and make sure you draw the curtains at night
  • Try the odour trick. It's claimed spiders don't like the smell of citrus fruits, tobacco, peppermint or eucaplyptus oil - although people report mixed results

6:15am 26th September 2014

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