Poisonous fake widow spider infestation forces London schools to close

False widow spider on a white background (Credit: iStock) (PANYA SUWANTHONG)

Four schools in London are closed for up to a month after being infested with false widow spiders.

Two primary schools and two secondary schools closed after Britain’s most venomous spider was found on the spot.

The spider discovery was made by Newham’s environmental team in east London.


Pest control teams are now working to get the outbreak under control before more eggs hatch.

One of the schools affected, Rokeby Secondary in Canning Town, will remain closed until October 29th.

The Star Primary in Beckton, the Ellen Wilkinson Primary in Canning Town and the Lister Community School in Plaistow also had to close until further notice.

Rokeby headmistress Charlotte Robinson said a pest control company estimated it would take three weeks to get rid of the spiders.

In a letter to the parents of the school’s 770 students, she wrote: “I had to make the difficult decision to close Rokeby School to students and staff by Monday October 29th.

“We hired a company to fight and eradicate this pest. You have estimated that this will take up to three weeks.

“The safety and well-being of students and staff must be our priority. While I understand that this can be very uncomfortable for you, it is in your child’s best interests to stay at home and not at school. “

Lister Community School principal Anthony Wilson said he hoped his school would reopen by Friday.

He added, “Research suggests that some of these spiders may be on our website and we are therefore following advice from local authorities and as a precautionary measure will be closing the school for a full investigation.”

Lisle Von Buchenroder, headmistress of Star Primary and Sue Ferguson, headmistress of Ellen Wilkinson, said they were looking for “alternative venues” so that classes could continue.

Fake widow spiders are roughly the size of a 50 pence coin and are the most dangerous species of spider in the UK.

Your bites can be very painful and leave small puncture marks on the skin.

This story originally appeared in The Sun.

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