UK Spiders – Dangerous or Beautiful?

Spiders are beautiful and critical to our environment, yet they still happen to be one of the most dreaded critters in the world. In fairness – it goes against your instinct to like something that bites, no matter how many pests they rid your garden of.

Most common types of spiders found in the UK.

We’ve created a tiny encyclopedia of the common biting spiders in the UK and for your personal fascination with tragedy, we’ve arranged them by the harmfulness of their bite:

  1. False Widow Spider
  2. Tube Web Spider
  3. Lace Webbed/Weaver Spider
  4. European Garden Spider
  5. Woodlouse spider

1. False Widow Spider

Close up photo of a false widow spider.

Dark, bulbous and menacing, this is Britain’s most dangerous spider. It also happens to be our biggest celebrity spider, ever since a UK school was shut down due to their presence.
Apart from a serious reputation and a threatening venom, though, this spider has no death reports to its name and is not known to be aggressive toward humans. All in all, you’d have to be very unlucky and slow to suffer from a false widow spider.

Commonness: around buildings and fences, mostly on the southern and eastern UK coast, as well as Surrey
Bite Symptoms: Radiating pain, swelling; No long-term effects

2. Tube Web Spider

Close up photo of a tube web spider.

Admittedly, the tube web spider looks pretty scary. With bright green fangs, long legs, and with a body regularly the size of a one pound coin, tube web spiders are intimidating. They rarely bite so generally aren’t considered a threat to humans. However, in 2014 a homeowner in Wales reported a tube web spider infestation of over 100 individuals in his house. You can imagine how terrifying that would be!

Commonness: Holes, crevices and tree barks; Bristol, Dover, Cornwall, Sheffield, Gloucester, Southampton, others.
Bite Symptoms: Severe pain lasting for hours

3. Lace Webbed/Weaver Spider

Close up photo of a lace webbed spider

This large and creepy spider is known for being one of the most common species in the UK, mostly England and Wales. They are fairly recognisable with a brown colour and yellow marking on the belly area. You’d better not see this spider’s belly, though, as it’s more likely to bite than the other spiders on the list and it is painful.

Commonness: Very common, both indoors and outdoors.
Bite Symptoms: Swelling lasting up to 12 hours.

4. European Garden Spider

Close up photo of an European garden spider.

This spider is most often seen between June and October and you’re most likely to encounter it in the exact position as in the photo above.
This year, the garden spider entered the British news with what may be described as the stuff of nightmares. People all over Britain are reporting ‘exploding’ spiders in their gardens. The reason is that after baby garden spiders are born they stick together by the hundreds, wrapped around in a thin web. If the web breaks, they ‘explode’ all over the place! Thankfully, their larger parents don’t do the same thing.

Commonness: Widespread all over Britain in woodland, shrubs, gardens, as well as buildings in the autumn.
Bite symptoms: Swelling for up to 3 days

5. Woodlouse spider:

Close up photo of a woodlouse spider.

If we were to arrange the spiders by scariest appearance, the woodlouse spider would be at the top. With its red top and shiny oblong body, it’s instantly recognizable. It’s only a tough exterior, though – the spider loves to hide and comes out only at night so you are not likely to face it. Nonetheless, it’s a true respectable pest control hero as its main meal course are woodlice.
Commonness: warm places, under stones – close to woodlice
Bite symptoms: Pain has been compared to a bee sting; slight itching and redness

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These are not the only biting spiders in the realm, but they do count amongst the most common you’re likely to come across. Wasp spiders, walnut orb spiders, wolf spiders, mouse spiders, and many others are on the list as well. You can read here about UK spider bite reports.
On a side note, common spiders are not the only threat. In recent years there have been reports of people finding exotic & deadly spiders in their TESCO bananas!

The most important lesson with spiders is not to aggravate them and let our eight legged friends be. If you have a home infestation, though, be sure to call us for spider pest control. Fantastic Pest Control knows how to rid your home of them with the least impact possible. After all, the only ones happier than you the spiders are outside doing their job, is the spiders themselves.

Images by:

  1. Ian Burt
  2. Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez
  3. David Featherston
  4. Diamond Flamer
  5. Daan M
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