Spiders force school to close

A school in Gloucestershire has been forced to close after an outbreak of false widow spiders.

Live updates

  1. West Country (E)

'Further false widow spiders identified' this afternoon

The Dean Academy in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, has identified a number of false widow spiders in the school's computer block, as well as other areas.

A letter to parents on the school's website confirmed that the school would be closed tomorrow.

Vice principal Craig Burns said the academy had taken immediate pest control advice on discovery of the spiders. The letter posted online today read:

We have identified an issue with false widow spiders in the academy in our ICT block and therefore took immediate advice from pest control.

We therefore made the decision to close the ICT block for the whole of today so that pest control could fumigate the area.

Unfortunately, during this afternoon there have been further false widow spiders identified in other areas of the academy.

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  1. West Country (E)

False widow spiders cause school closure

The false widow spider resembles the black widow spider seen here in this picture Credit: DPA/Press Association Images

The Dean Academy in Gloucestershire will be closed all day tomorrow, following an outbreak of false widow spiders.

The Academy said it had taken advice from the Health and Safety unit at Gloucestershire Local Authority and C & D Pest Control, Chepstow, to close the school.

  1. West Country (E)

Factfile: How to identify a false widow spider

A school in Gloucestershire has been forced to close due to an outbreak of false widow spiders.

ITV News Westcountry has provided some information on how to identify a false widow.

  • False widow spiders have a large body, dark brown in colour, ranging from 7mm up to 14mm
  • The body of the spider has a glossy appearance, with a white pattern on the top
  • This kind of spider can generally be found in dry and undisturbed environments, like sheds and outbuildings
  • They are often active at night, and mainly hidden throughout the day, and there is likely to be more than one living in the same place

Source: Natural History Museum

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