Man Bitten Hundreds of Times by False Widow Spiders in Sleep

A man has been bitten hundreds of times in his sleep by false widow spiders that are infesting his apartment.

Russell Davies, 55, who lives in Kent in southeast England, told the BBC that he has now been sleeping in a tent for weeks to escape the spiders.

He told the broadcaster that the bites feel like there are "shards of glass" in "every part" of his body.

Davies, who used to be homeless, noticed the bites within a week of moving into the apartment, but he only realized what was causing them 15 months into his stay, the BBC reported. By then, he said he had been serving as an "all you can eat banquet" for the spiders while he slept.

"My body started to get bites, and then splits on my chest and my arms..." he said.

He said the bites look "almost like lesions."

Despite him attempting to get rid of the spiders himself, Davies said there is no way of knowing if he has "got them all."

"My mind is constantly on edge because I'm looking for a web, spiders. I don't want to live like this," he told the broadcaster.

Invasive species

The false widow spider is an invasive species in the U.K. It has now been there for over 140 years, and has become more widespread recently due to milder weather.

The spiders can enter buildings accidentally and often lurk in cracks and crevices. Scientists have expressed concern that if they continue to expand, they will eventually pose a threat to native wildlife. Female false widow spiders lay egg sacs from May to July, usually laying three or more sacs that contain over 200 eggs each.

The spider is often mistaken for the infamous black widow spider as it's similar in appearance. While its venom isn't as potent as the black widow's, the spiders have a powerful bite that have been likened to feeling like a wasp sting. They usually only bite when they feel threatened, meaning human bites are relatively rare.

Davies said the housing association that owns his apartment has refused to organize pest control to get rid of the infestation.

A Clarion Housing Association spokesperson told the BBC that while the infestation is "unpleasant and inconvenient," Davies has been advised how he can resolve the issue. The Association's pest control services are only licensed to fumigate communal areas, the spokesperson said.

Davies told the BBC that the situation has been "frightening" for him as he is constantly thinking of being bitten by the spiders in his sleep. The pain of the bites has also prevented Davies from working, the BBC reported.

Newsweek has contacted Davies and the Clarion Housing Association for comment.

False widow spider
A file photo of a false widow spider, an invasive species to the U.K. Steve_Hardiman/Getty Images