When looking at a list of some of the world’s most deadly spiders (including the redback and the funnel-web), you will find a lot of them are fellow residents in Australia, particularly Sydney and the surrounds. Whilst most of our 8-legged population aren’t dangerous, spiders are just a reality of the Australian life. it is important to be aware of the dangerous spiders from the “friendly” and take some simple precautions to keep you and your home safe from spiders. These include:
• Spiders are generally most active at night!
• Don’t leave shoes and clothes outside at night
• Wear appropriate clothes when working outside/in the garden e.g. gloves, long socks
• Don’t walk outside with bare feet at night
• Keeping outdoor lights off at night when not in use, this prevents other insects which then attract spiders for a quick easy meal.
• Don’t touch spiders and teach kids not to touch them either.
Ground dwelling spiders (funnel-web, trap door spider and mouse spider) do not build webs but live in burrows, holes, vents, the garden under leaves or rubbish. They come out to hunt or to ambush an unsuspecting potential predator to their homes. Spiders that spin a web are generally not dangerous.
A professional pest controller will do a thorough property inspection, checking in all the likely haunts (window corners, cornices, skirting’s, behind curtains and blinds, gutters, outdoor furniture, bbq areas, gardens and alfresco rooms). They will then discuss with you the best course of action for what spiders they find.
Some of the most common and most dangerous spiders in Sydney are:
The Huntsman spider whilst not a venomous spider their bite will still hurt and cause localised pain and swelling, look fearsome due to their large hairy size and long legs. They are handy to have around the home as they do prey on the white-tailed spider (which is much more dangerous), cockroaches and other insects.
The black and grey house spider (also known as the window spider) is a web spinner, that is generally found hiding in dark corners of winders, wall crevices as well as on logs and in trees. They are capable of biting and it is quite painful, however are generally a non-aggressive spider.
The Sydney Funnel-Web Spider is found in a large geo-area spanning from Newcastle to Nowra, it is large, black, aggressive with a set of serious fangs. Preferring a moist cool burrow, you will find the funnel-web lair with web lines across the hole in low growing plants, logs, fallen leaves and rock gardens, moist areas like swimming pools, laundries, Both the female and male are highly poisonous, however the male is the world’s most dangerous spider. Male funnel-web spiders leave their lairs after heavy rain and during summer and autumn when they are searching for a mate. The bite is extremely painful and requires immediate pressure, immobilisation and medical attention including anti-venom.
The redback spider is found all over Australia and it is the female to avoid as the much smaller male does not bite. The female is small, black and characterised by a red stripe on top of its abdomen. You will find a Redback building their web in dry, protected spots including garden sheds, logs, rubbish and toilets. The bite is immediately painful but slow acting, apply ice packs and seek medical attention.
The mouse spider builds burrows in creeks and rivers, the females are large and they are often confused for the funnel-web or trapdoor spider. The bite is painful and toxic, you need to apply a pressure bandage and seek medical attention.
The white-tailed spider is a ground dweller and mostly eats other spiders. They find cupboards, bathrooms, cracks and crevices happy homes, they have also been known to hide in bedding, clothes and shoes. The bite is said to lead to tissue necrosis and so it is best to seek medical attention as soon as possible if you have been bitten.