One common defense mechanism amongst small invertebrates is stinging and biting. If you have garden spiders around your home, it’s no surprise that you want to know if they can bite.
Can garden spiders bite?
Garden spiders can indeed bite.
Like many other arachnids, garden spiders bite, but such occurrences are very rare.
Many times garden spiders will choose to run off instead of biting an intruder.
The rest of this article discusses the topic of garden spiders and biting in more detail.
Can Garden Spiders Bite?
Garden spiders are non-aggressive species of spiders. The chances of someone getting bitten by them is pretty low.
Now, this does not mean they do not bite. It only means bites from garden spiders are uncommon.
In a situation where they are threatened or disturbed, garden spiders may bite their assailant – be it humans or pets.
The bite of a garden spider is usually not as painful as a bee or wasp sting. But it typically causes redness, itching, and swelling at the site of the bite.
All in all, if you have a few garden spiders in your garden, let them be. The good news is, they help control the insect population in your garden.
Are Garden Spiders Dangerous?
In the rare case you get bitten by a garden spider, what happens to you? Is the bite dangerous? Are garden spiders dangerous?
Of the roughly 3000 spider species in North America, only four are dangerous to humans.
The garden spider is not one of those four species.
Garden spiders do carry some venom. However, their venom would do no harm to humans and pets under normal circumstances.
The venom of a garden spider is used to paralyze its prey. But the said venom is not potent enough to elicit the same effect in humans.
An allergy to garden-spider venom will cause symptoms such as swelling in the face or other parts of the body and difficulty breathing after a bite. If this happens, seek medical attention immediately.
Types of Garden Spiders (in the US)
Let’s talk about some other spiders you may find in your garden besides the garden spider:
European Garden Spider
Also known as the garden cross spider, the European garden spider is a species native to Europe.
It appears with mottled markings on its abdomen in the shape of a cross and is typically colored orange-brown, yellow, or dark grey.
Besides western and northern Europe, cross spiders can also be found in the United States. To be more specific, they are found in California and the New England region.
Adults of this species grow to be 0.22-0.78 inches in length. They feed on insects and can be found in gardens from June to November.
Banded Garden Spider
Banded garden spiders are found in various regions across the US and Canada. Members of this species are striped, and they come in 4 colors: yellow, white, brown, and black.
Adult banded garden spiders are typically as long as 0.16-0.98 inches – the females are about twice the size of males. They build webs, and you’ll find them in your gardens between shrubs and tall grasses.
Brown Widow Spider
Although this species was first identified in South America, it may have actually originated from Africa. But besides South America and Africa, brown widow spiders can also be found in the United States.
Places like California, Georgia, Hawaii, Texas, Florida, and South Carolina have populations of brown widow spiders.
Brown widow spiders are mottled tan brown, with black markings. You’ll commonly find them in secluded areas around the home.
Brown widow spiders are found beneath leaves, in nursery pots, and many other places around the home.
This species is so named for its exclusive predation of woodlice. Adult female woodlouse spiders are about twice the size of males.
On average, adult woodlouse spiders grow from less than a half to 1.20 inches in length.
Woodlouse spiders have red legs with a shiny brownish abdomen. They are typically found in warm places, especially areas close to woodlice.
Woodlouse spiders have venom, and they may bite. But this is usually no problem for humans.
Common House Spider
This species is also known as the American house spider. It is found in the US, Mexico, and Canada.
Members of this species are mottled brown and tan and may have black and white patches.
Common House Spiders have lengths between 0.16 and 0.23 inches. They are found in various places in the home.
The good news is that their venom is not lethal, and they help with many pesky insects.
Besides those listed above, you may also find the following spider species in your gardens:
- Green Lynx Spider
- Neriene Spider
- Bold Jumping Spider
- Spotted Orb Weaver
- False Widow Spider
How Long Do Garden Spiders Live?
Garden spiders typically live for a year. The males usually die soon after mating. On the other hand, the females die during the first hard frost they experience after mating.
In some cases, the females may survive the hard frost. When they do, they could go on to live for several years.
What Does a Garden Spider Bite Look Like?
A garden spider’s bite looks no different from the bites of various spiders and insects. You may not even realize that you’ve been bitten by a spider if you did not see the spider bite you.
The bitten spot on your skin will typically grow into a weal, or a small, itchy, red bump.
Are Garden Spiders Poisonous?
No, garden spiders are not poisonous.
Although they are venomous, their venoms are typically harmless to humans and pets.
Normally, the venom of a garden spider would immobilize its prey (other insects). But it is not sufficiently potent to do the same to humans.
Now, although garden spiders are not poisonous, an allergic individual could experience anaphylactic shock from a bite. Such a situation is quite rare, but it is possible.
What to Do if You Are Bitten by a Garden Spider?
We’ve established that garden spiders rarely ever cause any issue when they bite. But what should you do if you get bitten?
Well, if you find you have been bitten by a garden spider, do the following:
- First, clean the area. You can do this with water and soap or an antiseptic wipe.
- Apply some antibiotic cream to the spot.
- Wrap some ice around the spot.
- You may take an OTC painkiller for the pain. You may also take an OTC antihistamine for the swelling and itching.
- If the bite gets worse after 24 hours or you experience worrying symptoms, see a doctor.
The above is for mild cases. If you experience some other symptoms like breathing difficulties and swelling in the face or other parts of your body, call 911. Alternatively, if you can get to an emergency room quickly, do that.
Can Spiders Bite Through Garden Gloves?
Most spiders cannot bite through garden gloves. So, you could wear gloves if you are bothered about getting bitten.
Most of the spiders in North America have small fangs, which cannot go through garden gloves. A few spider varieties have longer fangs. But even they may also not be able to pierce through garden gloves easily.
Besides garden gloves, you could also do the following to prevent a spider bite:
- Wear long-sleeve shirts.
- Tuck your pants into your socks.
- Wear a hat.
- Shake off your socks, gloves, and other pieces of clothing after using them in the garden. This way, if any spider is hiding on them, you can get it off.
Should You Kill a Garden Spider?
No, you should let the spiders be. Garden spiders are non-aggressive. So, they should ordinarily pose no threat to you.
Besides being generally harmless, they can help you control insect pests in your garden.
Garden spiders can bite, but only in rare cases. When they do bite, their venom does no harm, unless you have an allergy to the venom. Garden spiders are beneficial species to have in your landscape.