Aug 08

How To Identify Spiders Bites And Treat them

This weekend I was enjoying  a nice warm spiders in the u.s.morning at the car wash. I was relaxed and enjoying a coffee when all of a sudden I felt a slight tickling sensation across my right shoulder.  I reached over to the area quickly grabbed and twisted.


I shuddered as I rolled the little invader out of my shirt.  To my horror it was a brown recluse.  I have stared a bull in the eyes  and brushed off a coral snake but  spiders freak me out.  I       don’t know why  but I have always been terrified of them. For everyone living in the U.S., I have good news:

There are ONLY three types of potentially deadly spiders in the U.S.

The Brown Recluse
The Hobo Spider
And the Black Widow

The brown recluse is found in the southern two-thirds of the country. It likes to hide in boxes, books, and other hard to reach places.

The hobo spider likes it out west. The black widow has been found in every state except Alaska.


Here are a few on how to identify a spider bite.

1. Evaluate the Pain

If you feel pain when the spider bites, it’s likely a black widow, whose bite is often but not always painful. You may also develop severe body aches and fever.

A brown recluse spider bite is a slight sting at best. Most of the time you feel nothing. They hide in or under boxes, under your bed sheets, in your clothes. The first you know about it is the pain that develops several minutes to hours after the bite.

As a brown recluse bit progresses it takes a nasty turn.

recluse bite

This is the eschar—the black, leathery, dead tissue—that can form over the wound. T

A hobo spider’s bite feels similar to a brown recluse’s, and the pain also occurs minutes to hours after the bite.

2. Look at the Skin Damage

That’s the key to the brown recluse spider bite. You may not know when it bit you, but the bite area becomes red, blistered, or black. The area starts out small, and the redness spreads. A black spot of dead tissue develops in the middle of the redness. This dead tissue can be anything from small and superficial to deep and large—sometimes enough to warrant a skin graft when everything’s said and done. As the tissue dies, the area becomes very painful.

The hobo spider can cause skin damage, but less so than the brown recluse.

The black widow spider bite causes a red spot that’s sometimes hard to see. but while you may not see the spot another symptom will be much more obvious; It can cause plenty of muscle aches and cramping throughout the body for one to three weeks.


How to Treat a Bite From a Poisonous Spider:

If at all possible, get  to a doctor. If you can’t, consider the following:

If you think the spider was a brown recluse or hobo spider:

keep the wound cool and slow your breathing. This will help slow the venom’s spread: Apply ice, and keep the area at heart level or above.

Even though bites are rarely fatal secondary infections can quickly turn so. The next step you need to do is make sure you do everything possible to prevent infection.

As the black layer of dead skin (eschar) sloughs off, treat the wound as you would any other, by keeping it clean and covered and applying antibiotic ointment or honey. Some large wounds take several weeks to heal. If it starts looking infected, you’ll need oral antibiotics.

Treat the pain. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever.

If you think the spider was a black widow take a pain reliever like ibuprofen or aspirin for the muscle cramps.

Within minutes to hours, a black widow bite can lead to severe chest and abdominal pain mimicking appendicitis or a heart attack. It can make your blood pressure go up and may need to be treated. (Possible signs include an quickened pulse and a flushed face.)

If you can’t get to a doctor, rest to try to lower the blood pressure. In worst cases, anti-venom may be given.

The good news is  that thanks to anti-venom, it’s extremely  rare to die from a spider bite and those that do are typically caused by an allergic reaction or a severe secondary infection.

That being said, I am still terrified of spiders and on occasion shake out my sheets before hopping into bed.


Skip to comment form

  1. janet mcdaniel

    The map is not accurate. We have all 3 of the dangerous ones here in NW Arkansas!

    1. Red O'Bryant

      I think the map is more of an estimate/guesstimate map lol.

    2. Jeff Harrison

      We have brown recluses and black widows in Northeast Wisconsin, as well. One of my co-workers got bit on his arm by a brown recluse, and, after surgery to remove the necrosis, was left with a very large scar.

  2. laurie

    I still don’t know what spider bit me, but I had bullseye rash encompassing my entire back of my thigh down to my knees. Pain for several weeks,open blackish greenish sore after several days, took 2 1/2 months to heal and it stayed tender long after,small blackish scar there at the bite site,I will always shake out my sheets and my jammies before putting them on now,we live in Maine by the way,any thoughts?

    1. Red O'Bryant

      It almost sounds like a brown recluse, but I’m not exactly sure on that.

  3. scott

    There are Brown recluses in Colorado…have seen a few of them. They are also known as fiddle backs or violin spider. I hate hate hate spiders….I know they serve a purpose but…ugh I don’t like them

    1. Red O'Bryant

      Agreed! I can’t stand spiders myself… well except spiderman lol.

  4. prepforshtf

    I’ve read activated charcoal is good for treating spider bites too.

    1. Red O'Bryant

      Never heard of that one. I’ll have to look that up. Thanks for sharing! :)

  5. kEVIN

    I as bitten by a red spider about the size of a silver dollar on my lower right leg. It turns black and has a recurring white area with a hole below my calf on the inside of me leg. I have been to doctors who state that they do not know what to tell me. And do not know how to treat it. It hurts, has nerve throbbing, peels, gets hot, stays usually warm, and is hard. Any suggestions would be a blessing. I was bitten at a concrete batch plant in Hopwood, PA back in say 2001-2003.

  6. Marcia

    For any venomous bite, plantain leaves beat up and put on the site for a while will draw out much of the venom if not all. This is not the banana looking fruit but the short leaf that grows world over. Look it up and know your regions kind. Great for drawing out infections, splinters and more too!

  7. joyce lackey-cook

    trust me on this brown recluses are alive and thriving in south carolina!

  8. Michael Brown

    Site for Brown Recluse First Aid Kit. I have one and Thankfully have not needed to use it.

  9. Jennie

    Ugg! Repulsive topic but a necessary one.

  10. Jan

    I have had excellent results treating spider bites with goldenseal (powder works best but extract can be used) applied directly to the bite. It works even 3 days after the bite. Apply the powder directly on the bite and cover with a bandage, change every 1 -2 hrs. My son was astounded after a brown recluse bit him and I used this treatment on him. The bite went from a grapefruit sized, oozing mass to a quarter sized bump overnight. I also gave him a dropper full of extract with 8 oz of water every 2 hrs. He had gone to the dr. initially and called me the third day because the medical treatment did not work. He now keeps goldenseal in his first aid kit.

  11. Ed

    I don’t like spiders, but my wife definitely has Aracnaphobia. This is great info especially since we have Black widow spiders where I work. I hope I never need to use the tips but thanks for all of the good info.

    1. Red O'Bryant

      You’re very welcome!

  12. Diane

    I’m in SW Michigan – had brown recluse bites on both legs 3 years ago, horrible experience. Just recovering from a painful wolf spider bite now. I must taste REALLY good to them!

  13. karen hunter

    I just love all the information and great products on your site

  14. Christopher McGraw

    hate spiders

    1. Red O'Bryant

      Don’t we all! ;)

  15. Josh Christian

    With the number of spiders around where I live, it’s only a matter of time before I need this information.

  16. Traci

    Creepy, but informative

  17. Lisa

    This looks like good information.

  18. chuck derr

    lots of spiders here on farm

  19. Norman Nicholas

    This is a topic that should grab everyone’s attention. Great read!!!

  20. William Neu

    great article

  21. John Miller

    I have been bitten by a Brown Recluse not fun!! Took forever to heal.

  22. Scott Schiepek

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a truly dangerous spider here in Michigan, but I have seen some annoying ones.

  23. HarGopal

    We have the hobo here in Washington. Bites are rare and usually occur when collecting wood from the wood pile. I know a few people who have been bitten and while not as severe as the brown recluse it took weeks for it to heal. Infection would be a real problem in a survival situation. Great article and thanks for the tips.

  24. samuel groves

    great info

  25. Echo

    all kinds of nasty biting things in tn

  26. Marz

    My sister was bit by a brown recluse when she was a kid. Not pretty! Fortunately it was treated and never looked as bad as the picture in your article.

  27. Jason

    Free advice: Jumping spiders eat all of the dangerous ones and are basically harmless to humans.

  28. mitch

    live and let live

  29. Sharon Agee

    great info :)

  30. Chip


  31. Louise

    We have black widows in Southeast Alaska, and I was bitten by a brown recluse when I lived in Illinois and by another one when I lived in Texas. My friend also almost lost her foot to a brown recluse bite in Ohio. I’ll wrestle a bear, but those spiders scare the bujeezus out of me!

  32. Mark

    When I was on active duty at Fort Campbell KY we had some people get bit by Brown Recluse spiders. The way it was treated was by cutting around and removing the bite site. What is happening when a Brown Recluse bites is it’s venom starts digesting your flesh. The venom’s primary purpose is to prepare it’s pray for eating.

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