False widow spider outbreak in block of flats leaves residents ‘living in terror’

PUBLISHED: 16:00 29 October 2018

Dionne Burrows with children Luke Burrows, 9 and Ava Apps aged 2.

Dionne Burrows with children Luke Burrows, 9 and Ava Apps aged 2.


Residents in a block of flats in Canning Town say a false widow spider outbreak has left them living in terror.

False widow spiders in Quayside House in the walls and floors.False widow spiders in Quayside House in the walls and floors.

Dionne Burrows first spotted the arachnids inside her flat in Keyside House, Tarling Road, around a month ago but despite her landlord, Sanctuary Housing, fumigating her home twice, the insects keep returning.

The 28-year-old suffered a bite and was put on antibiotics by her GP and she fears that her children could be bitten too.

She said: “There’s no end to this. We can’t live like this. It’s stressing me out. My little boy is petrified.”

Single mum Dionne and her children – two-year-old, Ava, and nine-year-old, Luke – were forced to stay overnight in a Beckton hotel after pest control sprayed insecticide in their home.

A bite on Dionne's left leg. Pic: DIONNE BURROWSA bite on Dionne's left leg. Pic: DIONNE BURROWS

Child carer Dionne spoke of feeling trapped in her home but that she was estranged from her mum and reluctant to move her young family in with her nan who is in her eighties.

“We tried doing it, but it just didn’t work,” Dionne said.

Other neighbours have also complained about homes and corridors crawling with the spiders throughout the building.

One mother said she was forced to throw out her bedding and mattresses after her four children were bitten.

The 30-year-old, who asked not to be named, said: “I’m scared to open the windows.

“We want something that will make them go away.”

A 43-year-old neighbour, who also asked not to be named, said: “I’m worried about the children.” Dionne and her neighbours claimed that efforts to get rid of the pests were hampered by neighbours who own their homes refusing to leave – stopping pest controllers stamping out the spiders in the entire block.

John Hanson, Sanctuary’s head of housing, said: “When we were made aware, we contacted specialist contractors who have taken the appropriate action, including treating flats and communal areas.

He added: “While we understand people may be concerned, we have been reassured by contractors that the health risk is low.”

Last month 10 schools in the borough were force to close after they suffered false widow spider infestations.

False widow spider bites are compared to wasp stings. Serious problems usually only occur if the bite gets infected or a person’s immune system is weak from other health issues. Anyone with swelling after a spider bite should seek medical advice.

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