False widow spider invasion shuts school and pest control experts sent in at Dean Academy in Lydney, Gloucestershire
AN INVASION of false widow spiders at Dean Academy in Lydney, Gloucestershire has forced a school to shut.
The news comes as concern continues in South West Wales about the plague of potentially deadly spiders marching their way northwards. There have been a large number of pictures of suspected false widows sent to this website since reports first emerged about the spider’s spread.
The venemous spiders, which can cause a severe allergic reaction in some people and painful sting-like bites in others, were first discovered in the Information Computer Technology block at the academy on Monday afternoon.
The entire ICT block was shut down all day yesterday so fumigation could take place, before pupils were bitten.
As more spiders were discovered elsewhere in the school, it was left with no option but for a full closure so further pest control could be completed.
The decision was made on advice from the health and safety unit at Gloucestershire Local Authority and pest control experts drafted in from Chepstow.
A letter was sent out to all parents from Vice Principle Craig Burns who said the advice had been taken in the best interests of the students’ health and safety.
In his letter, Mr Burns said: “The Health and Safety unit and pest control feel that we have dealt with the matter quickly and efficiently and taken appropriate early action.
“There have been no reports of anyone being bitten by the ‘false widow’ spiders at the academy but if you have any concerns please seek medical advice.
“Any pre-planned meetings, sports fixtures or extra-curricular activities will not take place. The academy will be open as normal on Thursday, October 24.”
There are reports from across the country of people suffering painful sores as a result of being bitten by a false widow.
Steve Harris, a player with Elmore Football Club in Tiverton, Devon, has been sidelined since he was apparently bitten.
But adventurer Bear Grylls, who is no stranger to dangerous creatures, said last week people had nothing to fear from the spider.
The 39-year-old was reported as saying: “You always have to be respectful of wild animals and never be complacent but these spiders are made out to be more than they are.
“There are bigger dangers out there and if you come across them you should just be sensible.”
This week it was reported that the false widow’s far more deadly cousin, the black widow, had been found in the UK.