EYE FOR DANGER: Murray Cullen, of Ballina, was bitten several years ago by a redback hiding in one of his sandals.
EYE FOR DANGER: Murray Cullen, of Ballina, was bitten several years ago by a redback hiding in one of his sandals.

Redbacks dropping in uninvited to beat heat

By ZOE SATHERLEY

MURRAY CULLEN is toey about redback spiders.

The Ballina man thought it was a mosquito that had bitten him ? until he took off his sandal and dislodged a redback spider from between his toes.

A spider expert this week warned that redbacks are invading homes, trying to escape the extreme humidity and hot temperatures of recent weeks.

Robert Raven, senior curator of spiders at Queensland Museum, said he had received reports of one bite a day over the past two weeks.

"Of most concern is that bite victims have been sitting or lying down in their homes when spiders have fallen on them from overhead downlights and bitten them," he said. "The lights attract insects ? spider food."

Mr Cullen, a chemistry lecturer at Southern Cross University, was bitten several years ago, but he has not forgotten the experience.

"I was lucky it was not a serious bite, but it was very painful," he said.

Redbacks have small mouth parts and like to bite where the skin is thin and tender, so men's genitals are also an easy target, said Southern Cross University spider expert, Prof Don Gartside.

"Lifting the toilet seat and checking for spiders isn't bad advice, " he said.



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