A Waterford woman is still recovering after a spider bite put her in hospital for six days.
Maria Condon told The Hard Shoulder with Ivan Yates that she is still “all red and quite blistered” after she was bitten by a Noble False Widow Spider two weeks ago.
She said her leg started burning straight afterthe first bite – with blisters forming about an hour later.
“I was just walking to sitting room and I felt a burning sensation on my leg,” she said.
“I was wearing very tight jeans at the time so when I started pulling up the pants, I saw little black legs running up further.
“So I kept trying to pull up the pants and the next minute, I felt another burning sensation.
“I just pulled up the pants a little bit more and I saw the spider going back on his legs and then coming down and I got the third bite.
“At that point then I was able to knock him on to the floor.
“When I went down then on to the floor, I got a jar and was able to scoop him up and catch him.”
She said the black and brown spider was about the size of a €2 coin – with a “cream-coloured design that looks like a skull” on its back.
She said she only went to the doctor the next day and when she didn’t improve after a number of appointments, she went to hospital.
She brought the spider with her into hospital and left him with the doctors in the Emergency Room.
“The good thing is it is not spreading anymore,” she said. “When I was in hospital, I was in there for six days and I was given a drip with antibiotics in it so that stopped it spreading.”
“But unfortunately, it is still all red and quite blistered.”
"Here to stay"
John Dunbar, venom researcher at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), said the False Widow has been in Ireland for around 20 years and is becoming “more and more established” recently.
He said the species is moving across the country from the east and is now one of the most common spiders in Dublin.
He said it is an “absolutely beautiful” spider – and warned that there is little point in trying to get rid of them.
“I think there is very little we can do,” he said. “They are pretty much here to stay.”
“If we start trying to exterminate them we are going to run into more issues. If you start spraying chemicals, the chemicals are probably more to be more harmful for the environment and for us.
“But what you are going to do is wipe out pretty much every spider and you have to remember that these are going to be one of the first spiders to come back and they will establish even more because you have helped them eliminate their native competitors.”
Mr Dunbar said it is “best to leave them alone, learn to live with them and if you catch them throw them outside.”
you can listen back to the full interview with Maria Condon and John Dunabr on The Hard Shoulder here.