As the chilly climes make way for the spring season, many Dubai residents are reporting return of the familiar thick cobweb of the Redback spider in dark corners of gardens and backyards, with sightings of this venomous pest raising the red flag with many community members.
In the last few weeks, several concerned residents have taken to social media to express their fears.
However, Dubai Municipality is urging residents to remain calm and take precautions against the dangerous bite of this eight-legged creepy crawly.
In a press statement, the government body said: “No need to extra panicking. We had cases before and we were and are prepared for any possible case of spider bite.”
A K M Motahar Hussain, pest management specialist at Public Health Services Department of Dubai Municipality, said: “Redbacks are dangerous if the bite victim is left untreated, so timely and proper treatment is needed when such incidents happen.”
He added: “When any bite case happens, make sure that the victim is hospitalised soon. All our government hospitals are equipped with medicines and treatment for redback spider bite.”
Hussain said if bitten, apply an ice bag on the bite immediately and ensure not to make tight bandages on or about the wound.
DM statistics reveal tthat the Redback has been seen in the emirate since 1990.
There is no information how they reached here, but stories abound.
Aussie expat C.A. said: “Urban legend says Redbacks arrived here from Australia in a shipment of pre-fabricated houses that became Chicago Beach Village.”
However, DM experts claim the critters presumably came through imported items such as plants.
Hussain added: “They are not aggressive by habit. They bite in defence only when disturbed.”
As part of controlling mechanism, DM had trained some registered private pest control companies.
National Pest Control’s Tech Manager, Dinesh Ramachandran, said: “I can say there is no outbreak of Redbacks in Dubai, just what has been brought into the city through trade.
“If there have been sporadic sightings of late, it still isn’t a call to panic.”
Ramachandran revealed that calls for Redbacks are limited to one or two every four weeks, with communities that have been targetyed in the recent past including Arabian Ranches, Emirates Hills and Dubai Sports City.
“You will usually find Redbacks nested in joints, cracks in the garden walls, near garbage bins or unused barbeque grills,” he said. “However, if you don’t aggravate them, they won’t bite you.”