The Redback Spider: What it Is & How to Get Treat Spider Bites

Posted on: 15 June 2015

Many people are afraid of spiders. In the case of the Redback spider this fear is justified, and this arachnid is one you really don't want to find in or around your home. Here's what you need to know about this unwelcome house-guest including what to do should you or a member of your family be bitten.

Identification & habitat

This spider is easily identified. The body of an adult is 1cm long and shiny black with a yellowish-orange or red marking shaped like an hourglass on the underside of its abdomen. 

The Redback spider likes to set up home in piles of rubble, in wood stores or tucked away in dark corners in your garden shed or garage. Inside your house, the spider prefers quiet areas full of clutter like basements, attics or the crawl space beneath your decking.

It's important to be vigilant when moving around in areas that are likely to harbour this dangerous arachnid. When working in your garden or rummaging through piles of undisturbed clutter in little-used areas of your home, wear thick gloves and make sure the area is well-lit so that you can see any creepy-crawlies clearly. 

The bite

The first thing to remember is that although many people are bitten every year by Redback spiders, the bites are accidental. The spider will not hunt you down in dead of night and deliberately bite you.

If the perpetrator is unseen by the victim, it's not always obvious that a spider bite has occurred. The victim will feel intense pain at the site of the bite and tiny fang marks may be visible. The victim will quickly begin to feel sick and experience stomach pains.

Muscular numbness will occur together with profuse sweating, coughing and difficulty in breathing. Excessive amounts of saliva may be produced.

The Redback spider's bite is highly venomous and often fatal, especially if the victim is a child or elderly person. Fortunately, very effective anti-venom is carried in all hospitals across Australia.

First aid

If you think someone has been bitten by a Redback spider, keep them calm and avoid all unnecessary movement.  The more the victim moves around, the faster their heart and circulation will work, pumping the spider's venom around their body; keep them still if possible. Reassure the victim that anti-venom is available and they will be fine.

Take a pressure bandage and apply it firmly to the limb that has been bitten.  Wrap the entire limb firmly. Compressing the affected tissue in this way will stem the flow of venom along the limb. Now apply a splint to the affected limb using a second bandage to hold it in place. Restricting muscle movement will reduce blood flow along the limb and inhibit the speed that the spider's venom enters the vital organs.

Call an ambulance immediately. Do not transport the victim to hospital yourself; keep them immobile until help arrives.

Keep vigilant in areas of your home and outside space where Redback spiders may be found. If you think you may have a spider infestation problem or are unsure of the species, contact a professional pest control company likeEconomic Pest Control. They will be able to identify the species of spider and get rid of it safely for you.