VIDEO: Sports pundit Merv catches 'killer spiders' in Wells garden
OUR sports pundit Merv Colenutt caught a pair of what look like False Widow spiders by the bins in his Wells' backyard.
After returning home to Sheldon Drive this afternoon and reading about soaring numbers of the toxic spiders in Wales and the South West, Merv came face-to-face with what looked like two of them less than 10ft from his back door.
He said: "I saw a hammock-shaped web above my bins and thought 'These are the spiders I've been reading about'. So I got an empty pickle onion jar and scooped the pair up in one go."
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But pickles may be the False Widow's kryptonite as one quickly died on the whiff of Merv's Glastonbury-bought pickles.
The other one, now dubbed Pickle, remains in rude health.
Merv shared the discovery with our web editor Ian Mat when he came over to fix Merv's email. Offering to take the spiders off Merv's hands, Ian took them home to better photograph them.
"Never again," he said. "I propped this pickle jar on my passenger seat with a laptop bag. But every roundabout I came to saw the jar rolling around the place.
"Plus I tend to drive while playing dub-step very loud. And that seemed to really annoy Pickle. So we drove in uncomfortable silence after that."
Official advice is not to try and catch the spiders as they tend to bite when provoked or infuriated.
Spider experts have called for calm about false widow hysteria. Sightings are up, they say, because people are actively looking for them.
The British Arachnological Society said False Widow spiders belong to the genus Steatoda and the term is most often used in reference to three species found in association with or near buildings and gardens.
All have globular shaped bodies and their name derives from the fact that they are commonly mistaken for black widow spiders which are in a different genus (Lactrodectus), but the same family (Theridiidae).
The ones caught in Merv's backyard are likely to be Steatoda nobilis. Ranging between 14mm (females) and 10mm (males) in length, this species is not native to the UK. It was first recorded in Torquay in 1879 and for a 100 years was confined to the south coast.
The society suggested possibly global warming is the reason the species has spread across southern England as far as Norfolk.