Venomous Florida Spiders

A picture of a spider

Florida has around 60 known species of spiders, but do we have venomous spiders?

Most Florida spiders are not venomous, but Florida is now home to widow and recluse spiders.

If you are like many people, spiders are not one of God’s favorite creatures. Creepy crawly and disgusting to look at, the only time of the year they are in fashion is at the end of October when Halloween rolls around.

But as gross as they are, do we need to be concerned about if their bites are venomous? That’s a good question, and one that we’re sure many people have wondered about.

Here In Florida, only two main types of venomous spiders occur: widow spiders and recluse spiders.

Three species of widow spiders are native to Florida, and a fourth species has been introduced. No species of recluse spiders are native to Florida, but three species have been intercepted and occasionally have established populations in single buildings at scattered locations.

Widow Spiders are predominantly black with red markings with moderately long, slender legs. In nature, most are found under rocks and logs, but they readily adapt to human-altered environments, where they are most commonly found in outbuildings like sheds, barns, and water meter holes, and under any outdoor structure that has been undisturbed for a lengthy period, such as a barbeque grill, slide, or sandbox.

Widow spiders are generally very timid and only bite in self-defense when they accidentally come in contact with humans. Their bite symptoms are systemic, spreading through our lymphatic system, and usually start about one to three hours after the bite. The most common symptoms are intense pain, rigid abdominal muscles, muscle cramping, malaise, local sweating, nausea, vomiting and hypertension.

Recluse Spiders are a different story. Brown in appearance, their legs almost give them the appearance of looking like a miniature octopus. Causing necrotic lesions in humans, the Florida Poison Control Network has recorded nearly 300 alleged cases of brown recluse bites in the state.

Brown recluse spiders usually bite only when they become trapped next to the victim’s skin. Bites occur either when sleeping humans roll onto the spider or put on clothes into which the spider has crawled. Typically, bites occur under clothing, mostly on the thigh, upper arm, or lateral torso, less often on the neck.

Discomfort may be felt immediately after the bite, or several hours may pass before any local reaction to the bite occurs. Like some venomous snakes, spiders are known to sometimes give dry bites, with little or no venom injected. Typical symptoms start 2-6 hours after the bite with blisters frequently appearing at the bite site, accompanied by severe pain and pronounced swelling.

Which Florida spider is the deadliest?

Spiders are rarely deadly. They do not seek out bite victims, in fact. Most spider bites occur as a mechanism of self-defense; for instance, when pressed against human skin or simply contacting human skin. The red widow spider is said to be the most dangerous Florida spider. It has a red-orange cephalothorax, its abdomen is black with yellow rings outlining the rows of red spots and its legs are vermillion red. On its underside, it does not have the familiar hourglass marking and instead usually has one or two small red marks.

Although they have been reported to be venomous, no Red Widow Spider bites have been recorded in the medical literature, unlike the aforementioned black and brown widows. Red Widow Spiders seldom come into contact with humans.

While they are capable of biting humans, Red Widow Spiders are actually quite rare and seldom come into contact with humans. Firstly, they are relatively small, with females typically only measuring around 8-10mm (about 3/8 of an inch) in body length. They also tend to live in secluded areas such as under rocks or in leaf litter, rather than in human dwellings. As a result, they are less likely to encounter people on a regular basis.

Ease Your Fear with Spider Control in Jacksonville FL

Fear of spiders is nothing new, whether they are venomous or not. Since Florida is home to many species of spiders, Mosquito Squad offers effective Jacksonville spider control. In addition to showing you how to lessen the chances of having spiders living and breeding around your home, we’ll treat your yard to get rid of them!

Call on Mosquito Squad of Northeast Florida for spider control in Jacksonville. Get in touch with us at (904) 844-0816.

Also read: Spider Bite vs. Tick Bite