A mother whose baby was bitten by one of the country’s most dangerous spiders has demanded action to eradicate them from the family home.
Rebecca Deal, of Colme Court, West Ewell, said she first noticed false widow spiders "in corners, in the living room and hiding in shoes" in her flat in November, when her three-month-old daughter was bitten on the head.
The mum-of-three is worried for the safety of her children - including her four-year-old son who suffers from an allergy condition - and believes youngsters should not have to live with the infestation.
The 29-year-old has taken to capturing the spiders in containers and marched down to the council on Tuesday with them to confront Epsom and Ewell's council officers.
As a result it was agreed that her flat would be fumigated. Previous attempts at pest control by Rosebery Housing Association, which manages the flats, did not work.
Although it is not the council's responsibility, it promised to help if fumigation that weeks fails.
Miss Deal, whose neighbour's flat is also infested, said an expert at the Natural History Museum confirmed the spiders were false widows when she sent him photos of the arachnids over the internet.
Although a common spider and not deadly, the false widow’s bite is venomous. Its typical habitat is outdoors, but it sometimes nests in homes.
Miss Deal said: "My daughter was bitten on her head. It was strange. I put her down for changing and she just started screaming and I found a spider on the changing mat.
"I took her to hospital, with the spider, and they said she had been bitten by a false widow. Luckily she didn’t have a bad reaction.
"I like spiders, I had a tarantula growing up, but you can tell these ones are different - they’ve got markings on their backs.
"Small children shouldn’t be allowed to live with them like this. It’s not right for their own safety."
A council spokesman said: “The council does not provide a pest control service in respect of spiders and, as a general principle, if people find spiders in their homes, it is for them to deal with, not the council.
“A homeowner would be responsible for dealing with a pest problem of this nature themselves and a tenant should talk to their landlord. In this case Rosebery Housing Association is the individual’s landlord.
“The council is happy to offer advice and there are a number of pest control companies in the borough who will be happy to offer their services to anyone who has a similar problem.”
This site is part of Newsquest's audited local newspaper network | A Gannett Company
Newsquest (London) Ltd, Loudwater Mill, Station Road, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. HP10 9TY|3105111|Registered in England & Wales
This website and associated newspapers adhere to the Independent Press Standards Organisation's Editors' Code of Practice. If you have a complaint about the editorial content which relates to inaccuracy or intrusion, then please contact the editor here. If you are dissatisfied with the response provided you can contact IPSO here