According to the magazine Natuur.focus, there were 12 reports of exotic spiders in the nineties, but between 2000 and 2010 this number rose to 216. The rise can partly be explained by the fact that people pay more attention to the issue, but still some 46 new spider species were spotted in the past 35 years.
The spiders enter the country as people return from their holiday and via rail traffic, but most new spider species make their way into Belgium in ships. The environmental organisation Natuurpunt wants increased checks on foreign plant and animal species entering the country in this way.
The newcomers among the spiders mostly don't represent any danger to humans, except for the black widows. However, they can disrupt the balance in local natural habitats. The import of exotic plants could trigger even more damage to nature.