White-tail spiders hit home

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 10/01/2014
white-tail spider
HIT LIST: Bites from white-tail spiders have prompted Timaruvians to call in exterminators this summer.

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White-tail spiders are making their presence felt in Timaru.

They have bitten people in the town over summer, prompting the victims to call on Timaru's pest controllers.

However, there has not been a white-tail population explosion in the town, according to some exterminators. Instead, white-tails appeared to be more prominent in the community because they were eating other spider species.

Southern Spiders & Pest Control owner operator Barry Keates said he was aware of one person who was recently hospitalised after sustaining a white-tail bite.

"She was on antibiotics on an intravenous drip. A friend of hers got bitten [too] at the same location in Timaru."

A Timaru Hospital spokesperson said they could not confirm how many people had visited the emergency department with white-tail spider bites because it did not record that specific information.

Spiderban owner operator Mike Ward specialises in white-tail extermination and education.

To educate the public he showcases a "live" white-tail spider display at the A&P shows he attends.

"People come along and look at them and say 'we've got those in our house' and then they show us a scar."

Some scars can be up to twice the size of a 50 cent coin, he said.

Mr Ward said white-tails were "prolific" breeders which eat other spiders making them more prevalent.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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