Behind the Bite: Meet 10 Spiders to Steer Clear Of

Dive into the elusive realm of spiders that bite, a hidden danger lurking quietly in corners and crevices, poised to defend or attack with venomous precision. From the stealthy Black Widow to the deceptive Brown Recluse, discover the hidden dangers these silent predators carry in their venomous fangs.

Learn how to spot these unwelcome guests before you become their next victim, and understand the crucial steps to take if a bite ever occurs.

Identifying 10 Spiders That Bite

Knowing how to identify spiders is crucial when determining which ones might bite. Here’s a focused guide on some of the common species of spiders that might be of concern. While spiders are one of the common bugs you’ll see in a basement, they can also hide out in closets, up on curtains, ceilings, or just about anywhere!

Black Widow Spiders (Latrodectus mactans)

Black Widow Spiders (Latrodectus mactans)

Black Widow Spiders possess a notorious shiny black body with a distinctive red hourglass shape on their abdomen. Although their bites can be venomous and painful, they often hesitate to bite unless threatened.

  • Habitat: Commonly found in dark, undisturbed areas like woodpiles and basements.
  • Danger Level: Highly venomous, capable of causing severe muscle pain and spasms.
  • Precaution: Wear gloves when reaching dark places and shake out stored items before use.

Wolf Spiders (Lycosa tarantula)

Wolf Spiders (Lycosa tarantula)

Due to their robust size, these hairy spiders are often mistaken for tarantulas. Wolf spiders chase their prey rather than use webs, and their bites can be painful but are not usually harmful to humans.

  • Habitat: Found on the ground in garden areas and within homes.
  • Danger Level: Mildly venomous with bites causing minimal harm.
  • Precaution: Avoid handling and allow natural pest control in gardens.

Hobo Spiders (Eratigena agrestis, formerly Tegenaria agrestis)

Hobo Spiders

With a less distinct appearance, Hobo spiders have a brownish hue and may display a pattern of darker stripes on their bodies. They are known for their aggressive nature, and while their venom isn’t typically dangerous, a bite can cause discomfort.

  • Habitat: Prefers moist environments and often resides in basements or crawl spaces.
  • Danger Level: Venom is not highly dangerous, but  you need to monitor  bites
  • Precaution: Keep basements clean and well-ventilated to discourage habitation.

Yellow Sac Spiders (Cheiracanthium inclusum)

Yellow Sac Spiders

Small and pale yellow, these spiders often enter homes. Their bites can cause redness and swelling. Luckily, Yellow Sac spiders don’t have lethal venom but can bite if they feel trapped against your skin.

  • Habitat: Common in houses and gardens.
  • Danger Level: Non-lethal, but bites are painful and can cause skin irritation.
  • Precaution: Regularly clean behind furniture and in corners to avoid encounters.

Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria nigriventer and Phoneutria fear)

Brazilian Wandering Spider


One of the most venomous spiders, the Brazilian Wandering spider, is aggressive and has potent venom. It is large with long legs and can be recognized by its distinct reddish or brown coloration. Most Brazilian emergency rooms see a regular round of patients who have been bitten.

  • Habitat: Prefers warm climates and often hides in houses and cars.
  • Danger Level: Extremely venomous; medical attention is required immediately if bitten.
  • Precaution: Be cautious when moving boxes or items that have been undisturbed.

Mouse Spider (Missulena occatoria)

Mouse Spider

Mouse spiders have a large bulbous head and jaw and are glossy black or dark blue in hue. While their fangs can deliver a deep bite, they are less aggressive, and their venom has similar properties to that of funnel-web spiders. For more information, here’s a study on the Mouse Spider venom

  • Habitat: Often found in burrows, predominantly in natural settings.
  • Danger Level: Potentially dangerous, but less likely to bite.
  • Precaution: Avoid disturbing natural habitats and wear heavy gloves when gardening.

Brown Recluse Spiders (Loxosceles reclusa)

Brown Recluse Spiders

The Brown Recluse spider is famous for the violin-shaped marking on its back, with color ranging from light to dark brown. They are not known to be an aggressive spider, but the Brown Recluse bites can lead to significant injury as they carry necrotizing venom.

  • Habitat: Commonly found in dark, secluded indoor areas like closets and attics. Spider are one of the common bugs that can get into your clothes, so be sure to shake them out.
  • Danger Level: Highly venomous, capable of causing severe medical conditions.
  • Precaution: Maintain cleanliness in storage areas and shake out clothes and shoes before wearing them.

Funnel-Web Spiders (Atrax robustus)

Funnel-Web Spiders

Funnel-web spiders are notorious for their potent venom, which is dangerous and can cause severe illness or death. Once, my dog was rolling around in the grass playing and got bit by a Funnel-Web spider. Her whole face blew up, and I had to take her to the veterinarian. Luckily, she just needed some dog-safe antihistamines (provided by my veterinarian).

  • Habitat: Typically found in moist, shaded areas like under rocks or in logs.
  • Danger Level: Extremely venomous, considered one of the world’s deadliest spiders.
  • Precaution: Avoid areas with dense vegetation and wear gloves when handling firewood or debris.

Redback Spider (Latrodectus hasselti)

Redback Spider

Closely related to the black widow is the Redback spider, which is distinguished by its prominent red stripe on its back. Its venomous bite can cause intense pain and systemic reactions.

  • Habitat: Common in urban areas, especially in sheds, garages, and underneath seats.
  • Danger Level: Venom can cause severe pain and requires medical attention.
  • Precaution: Check outdoor furniture and storage boxes regularly for webs.

Camel Spider (Actually it’s a Scorpion) (Solifugae)

Camel Spider

Although not actually spiders, camel spiders are often included in discussions of spider bites due to their appearance and behavior. These scorpions are known for their large size and formidable jaws.

  • Habitat: Found in desert climates, often hiding during the day’s heat.
  • Danger Level: Their bites are not venomous but can be very painful.
  • Precaution: Wear long pants and boots in desert environments to protect against bites.

Here are some other biting bugs to look out for

Understanding Spider Bites

When a spider bites, it injects venom into your skin. Most spiders’ venom is harmless to humans and, at worst, might cause mild irritation or swelling. However, certain species can cause more severe effects. The black widow and brown recluse are two venomous spiders in the United States that could warrant medical attention if they bite you.

Symptoms of a Spider Bite:

  • Redness or rash
  • Pain at the site of the bite
  • Itching or swelling
  • More severe symptoms like muscle pain, abdominal cramps, or a generalized rash may suggest a more venomous severe bite.

Identifying Spider Bites:

Typically, a spider bite can look like any other bug bite. Some people even think a spider bite is from a bed bug; many of our clients experience no signs of bed bugs but have bites.  

Like other bug bites, a spider bite can be red, irritating, inflamed, sometimes painful, and occasionally itchy bump on your skin — and may even go unnoticed. However, specific signs can help you identify a spider bite:

  1. Two puncture marks
  2. Severe pain or cramping
  3. Blistering or leading to a skin ulcer

If you suspect a spider bite, consider the following steps:

  • Immediate Actions: Clean the bite with soap and water. Apply a cold pack to reduce swelling.
  • Observe: Watch for developing symptoms.
  • Seek Medical Attention: If you have severe spider bite symptoms, such as spreading rash, difficulty breathing, or worsening pain, seek medical care promptly.

Allergic reactions can also occur, resembling those caused by insect bites. It may be an allergic reaction requiring immediate medical attention if you experience difficulty breathing, chest pain, or severe swelling.

Symptoms of Spider Bites

Spider bite reactions can range from mild to severe, depending on the spider species and your body’s allergic reaction. You may experience immediate symptoms, while others can develop over time or appear delayed.

Immediate Reaction

You’ll often feel a sudden sting or pain when a spider bites like a needle has pricked you. The bite area may swell, become red, and feel itchy.

  • Pain and Redness: You might notice a sharp pain at the site of the bite, followed by redness.
  • Swelling: The skin around the bite can swell within a few minutes.

Developing Symptoms

If your body reacts more significantly to the bite, other symptoms can begin to develop within hours:

  • Allergic Reactions: For some, bites can produce an allergic reaction, including rash and itchy skin.
  • Blisters: Small blisters may form, which can become painful.
  • Systemic Issues: In exceptional cases, spider bites can lead to nausea, feverchillsheadachevomiting, and cramping.

Delayed Effects

There are several delayed symptoms you should be aware of, which could indicate a more severe issue, such as infection or tissue death:

  • Difficulty Breathing: If you experience ANY throat closure or difficulty breathing, it could indicate a severe spider bite allergic reaction.
  • Necrosis and Lesions: Some spider bites can lead to necrosis, a condition in which an open sore appears due to tissue death; this may result in a scar.
  • Bacterial Infection: Monitor the bite for signs of infection, like increased pain, swelling, or pus.

It’s essential to consult a healthcare professional if you experience any severe or worsening symptoms.

First Aid and Home Treatment

In the event of a spider bite, taking the proper first aid steps can help minimize pain, swelling plus reduce the risk of infection. Here, you’ll find what to do immediately after a bite and how to alleviate symptoms that follow.

Immediate Care

  • Clean the spider bite: Gently wash the area with mild soap and water to remove any spider venom or bacteria.
  • Reduce spider bite swelling: Apply an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel to the spdier bite area for 10 minutes, then remove for 10 minutes. Repeat this process.

Action. Description

Elevate the Area

    If the bite is on a limb, keep it elevated.


    Drink plenty of fluids to maintain hydration.

Symptom Relief

  • Pain Relief: At your own discretion take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Itchiness: Apply a topical antihistamine or paste from baking soda and water to mitigate itching.

For additional symptom management:

  • Antibiotic Ointment: If there’s a break in the skin, or visible puncture apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.

  • Monitor for Blisters: If blisters develop, avoid popping them to prevent infection. Cover them with a sterile bandage.

Please consult a healthcare provider if symptoms worsen or you have concerns about the severity of the bite.

When to See a Doctor

If a spider bites you, you might wonder when to seek medical attention. Here are some crucial signs and severe cases when it’s time to call a doctor.

Signs of Severe Symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing: This can indicate a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.
  • Swelling: If the bitten area or nearby lymph nodes are severely swollen, this could indicate an infection or allergic reaction.
  • Redness and Increased Pain: Some redness and pain are normal, but if it’s spreading or becoming intense, it’s a concern.
  • Fever: A fever might suggest your body is fighting an infection.

Wound Observation:

  • Examine the bite regularly. Changes in color, size, or drainage are indicators of an infection that might require antibiotics.

Allergic Reactions:

  • Mild allergic responses might involve slight swelling or itchiness. However, if you experience hives or your face swells, these are signs you need urgent care.

If you’ve been bitten by a spider known to be venomous (like a black widow or brown recluse), seek immediate medical help, even if you don’t have symptoms yet.

Finally, trust your instincts. If something feels off, contacting an expert, such as a primary healthcare provider or a poison control center, is a safe choice. They can provide spider bite guidance and, if necessary, prescribe treatments like antivenom.

Preventing Spider Bites

When preventing spider bites, it’s essential to take proactive steps both indoors and outdoors to ensure your safety. Proper clothing, consistent pest control, and environmental management can create a significant barrier against these arachnids.

Indoor Precautions

To safeguard your indoors:

  1. Start with regular cleaning and decluttering.
  2. Pay particular attention to the areas like closets, beds, and corners where spiders may hide.
  3. Ensure your bed sheets are tucked in, and try not to let linen drape onto the floor.
  4. Use sticky traps in closets and basements for monitoring.

  • Closets: Keep clothing and shoes off the floor. Use plastic storage containers with tight-fitting lids.
  • Pest Control: Regularly use pest control methods to deter spiders and ants, a common prey for spiders, which can attract them indoors. Insects are less likely to reside in clean and dry environments.
  • Beds: Inspect bedding and furniture regularly for spider presence, and shake out clothing and shoes before use.

Outdoor Precautions

Outdoors, focus on managing your environment to make it less spider-friendly. This includes keeping areas like sheds, garages, and woodpiles free of spiders and insects.

  • Clothing: Wear long sleeves and gloves while gardening or working in storage areas to minimize skin exposure.
  • Shed & Garage: Seal cracks and gaps where spiders can enter, and clear out any webs you encounter. Keep these areas tidy to reduce hiding spots.
  • Woodpile: Store wood away from the house and elevate it off the ground to deter spiders and insects from taking up residence.
  • Environmental Management: Remove debris and leaf litter around your property, especially in areas to the south, which tend to be warmer and attract more insects.