Redback spiders have a highly venomous bite and are considered one of the most dangerous spiders in Australia, Southeast Asia and New Zealand. If you’re not familiar with the redback spider, we’ve got you covered.
The redback spider is found all over Australia commonly in garages, letter boxes, sheds, underneath outdoor furniture. It has also been found in other countries in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, but is native to Australia.
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What does the redback spider look like?
Female redback spiders and male redback spiders look very different. Redback spiders are velvet-like black and they normally have a distinct red/red-orange stripe across the back. Redback spiders vary in size; the female redback is usually larger than the male, measuring at 10mm in length. The male only grows to 3 or 4 mm.
Did you know that not all redback spiders have the distinct red mark? The male redback spiders are often brown with a distinctive white marking on their backs.
Signs of redback spiders in your home
The redback spider is known to make loose, untidy webs with no specific design. These webs are commonly found in stacked goods or in rubbish. You’ll also find their webs outdoors in outside toilets (under the toilet seat), under houses, under furniture and around drainpipes. Children play areas are also a common hiding place for redback spiders, including sandpits, amongst toys, on bicycles, inside helmets and other equipment that is often discarded outside.
Why is a redback spider bite so dangerous?
The venom of a redback spider bite is like funnel-web spider venom, and even a small dose can cause intense pain. However, not all redback spider bites will contain venom. If feeling threatened, a redback spider will sometimes provide a warning bite.
From 2001 till 2013, spiders caused 11,994 hospitalisations. Thankfully, there have been zero deaths related to redback spider bites since the introduction of redback anti venom in 1956. The anti-venom is also only given in cases of severe illness due to the bite.
* What are redback spider bite symptoms?
After a redback spider bite, symptoms may not be felt immediately. It’s common to only feel mild discomfort or irritation. However, as time passes, indicative symptoms begin to appear, like:
- Headache, vomiting, lethargy, hair standing on ends, and nausea
- Intense sweating
- Localised and persistent pain (begins to spread after an hour or two)
- Swelling at bite site
- Abdominal or chest pain; and in severe cases
- Paralysis and death
Again, there are no records of death by redback spider bite since anti-venom was created.
* How do I treat a redback spider bite?
Seek medical advice immediately. If you are not sure who to call – dial your national emergency number.
How do I get rid of redback spiders?
We recommend trimming foliage and ensuring bushes are kept neat and tidy. This will limit (and deter) the number of spiders dwelling in your garden, however there is not much residents or business owners can do to really deter spiders from creating webs on their property. To avoid spider bites, we can recommend the following tips:
- Regularly clean cars of webs, especially if the car is not used often
- Check shoes, helmets, and any other clothing items that are stored outdoors before putting them on
- Wear gardening gear when in the yard like proper gardening gloves and enclosed shoes
- Reduce the number of rubbish or stacked timber piles in the yard
The most effective way to get rid of redback spiders and other webbing spiders is by calling a trusted pest controller who can provide spider control treatments designed to last for several months. If you live in Australia and want a reliable pest controller, visit Flick Anticimex.