Alert as deadly spiders return




HEALTH inspectors are back out hunting for potentially deadly Black Widow spiders eight months after the venomous arachnids were last spotted in Bahrain.

A concerned British mother-of-two, who lives in a compound near Budaiya Botanical Garden, told the GDN that she had found as many as 15 of the spiders in her garden.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed to have been living with the pests for around six months before contacting the Health Ministry.

‘Before there were only a couple and they weren’t bothering anyone ‘“ we really didn’t see them,’ she said.

‘But just the other day I came back from work and they were everywhere.

‘There were loads of them and they were not tucked away anymore, they were all over the walls.’

The woman became convinced that the spiders were venomous Black Widows as they had the distinctive ‘spiky egg sacks’, she said.

Health Ministry environmental health section chief Abdulaziz Alkhedri said this was the first report he had received about Black Widows since a nest was uncovered under a bench in the Manama suq in August last year.

‘These spiders are generally shy and don’t come out in the open, but maybe the cooler weather is bringing them out,’ he said.

‘We will send down a team of our experts to the site and take samples to confirm that they are Black Widows ‘“ most of the time they are Brown Widows which is not generally a hazard.

‘However, if we confirm the species then we will spray the compound with special spider pesticide and sweep the surrounding area.’

Reports of Black Widows in Bahrain hit the headlines last year, when they were discovered in several Barbar residents’ gardens.

It followed a previous scare in 2011, when six of the non-native species were uncovered in the same village.

Officials at that time believed the spider had been inadvertently brought to Bahrain in the belongings of a European family, who had recently immigrated.

Black and Brown Widow spiders generally have a body of measuring about half an inch.

Common in North America, they are distinguishable by a shiny, black, globular abdomen with a distinctive red hourglass on the underside.

Their venom contains a neurotoxin called latrotoxin, which can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, muscle spasms and localised paralysis.

In some cases the bite can prove fatal ‘“ particularly among children, the elderly and the sick.

The GDN earlier reported that Bahrain does not have stocks of anti-venom to treat Black Widow bites, so people are being warned to steer clear of the creepy-crawlies.

To report suspected sightings, call 17279216.

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