Black Widow alert




A SPIDER’S nest filled with the eggs of a venomous Black Widow has been discovered under a bench in Manama suq.

Health Ministry officials made the find while conducting a routine cockroach check at a traditional Bahraini cafŽ.

It marks the first time that the potentially deadly spiders have ever been found in central Manama, Health Ministry environmental health section chief Abdulaziz Alkhedri told the GDN.

“About three weeks ago my employees were out collecting cockroach samples – which we do to see if they have developed a resistance to our pesticides – when they spotted egg sacs and a couple of spiders,” he said. “We collected the sacs and analysed them, and were shocked to learn they were Black Widows.”

Mr Alkhedri said that discovering the spiders – whose bites can prove fatal – underneath a seat which was sat on by hundreds of people every day was a real concern.

Immediately after the discovery of the eggs, a sweep carried out to uncover any more nests came back empty-handed – but the ministry has issued a warning to cafŽs in the area to clean their furniture thoroughly.

“Most places will clean the tops of everything but will neglect the underside, which is where these spiders like to hide,” he said.

“So we instructed the cafŽ where the eggs sacs were found to clean the underside of its furniture, as well as a few others.”

CafŽs with traditional Arabic-style wooden benches of the type that harboured the spider’s nest are most commonly found in Manama and Muharraq.

Following the discovery of the spiders in the suq, ministry workers were sent to check several cafŽs with the same style furniture – but nothing was found, Mr Alkhedri said.

Reports of Black Widows in Bahrain hit the headlines earlier this year, when they were discovered in several Barbar residents’ back 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 are medium-sized with a body 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, senior citizens and the sick.

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


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