Black Widow alert in Belgium
The Black Widow, a highly poisonous species of spider, is becoming more common in Belgium. ARABEL, the Belgian Arachnology Society, wants to call attention to this fact because a bite from the Black Widow can be deadly.
This is not the first time that specialists have alerted the authorities regarding the black widow, thought to have entered Belgium through the ports.
The first known black widow sighting in Belgium was in 1967. Recently, sightings of the American black widow were reported in Antwerp, when Antwerp Zoo reported that the black widow had been seen in the area.
The chance that the spiders will adapt themselves to the Belgian climate and stay here is real, say experts at the Belgian Arachnology Society. The black widow adapts very easily. It can survive in both warm and cold climates and can last a long time without food. They are also fairly resistant to chemical treatments.
ARABEL is sounding the alarm. The arachnology society has contacted Flemish Environment Minister Joke Schauvliege and recommends that people keep a stock of an antidote to the poison of the black widow.
The black widow is about 4-5 centimetres long. It is not an aggressive spider but its bite is lethal in 5% of cases. Most fatalities occur from the bite when the victim is very young, elderly or if the person suffers from heart trouble. An antidote can be administered up to four days after the bite.