The Lithgow District and Blue Mountains is facing a serious infestation of deadly Funnel web spiders, according to Katoomba-based entomologist/naturalist Rex Gilroy.
Rex Gilroy, with almost 50 years of spider research experience, says the climatic changes which have seen hotter summer conditions lately has much to do with it. At present, he points out, recent excessive heat, followed by cooler wet conditions, has seen large numbers of these spiders leaving their burrows at night to wander into yards and inside houses.
“I have been receiving phone calls from residents as far afield as Penrith and over a wide area of the Blue Mountains and Lithgow in recent weeks, who have found these shiny black-bodied spiders inside their laundries and other rooms in their houses. As the Funnel Web mating season is almost upon us [November-March] this activity must increase”, he warns.
Rex Gilroy is co-ordinator of the Rotary Club of Katoomba nation-wide “Dangerous Spiders Public Awareness”, a life-saving community service project. As part of their unique service, the club offers a booklet containing photos of every dangerous, and not-so-dangerous spider species commonly met with around the home, together with their life-histories and habits, advice on preventative measures, how to teach young children to avoid being bitten, and the correct first-aid procedure for bite victims.
The booklet is obtained by sending a donation to cover postage to Rotary Club of Katoomba “Dangerous Spiders Public Awareness”, PO Box 54, Katoomba NSW 2780. All moneys raised from excess postage donations go to Rotary Clubs International charities within Australia.
Concerned home owners with spider problems can also phone the club’s “Dangerous Siders Hotline”, 02 4782 3441 for advice.
“We hope the Lithgow district residents will take full advantage of our service, which has already helped save a number of lives around Australia”, says Rex.
He further warns of the growing menace from White-tail, Mouse and Red-back spiders in the Lithgow district. These spiders are also covered in the booklet. “Our club now has the full backing of our district Governor, Harley Tarrant, who sees our project as a major life-saving and educational service”, added Rex.