Checking for Spider Bites

It can be incredibly annoying to wake up with an unexplained insect bite, and it’s even worse if that bite is itchy, red or swollen. But while it can be tempting to label that mysterious bite as a spider bite, you’d likely be wrong.

The symptoms of a spider bite are similar to other insect bites. Research shows that more than 80 percent of “spider bites” were actually caused by other types of insects.

Here are seven of the most common spider bite symptoms and signs.

The bite has two puncture marks.

It’s not always easy to see, but a true spider bite will present itself with two puncture marks. The spider’s fangs cause these marks when they pierce the skin.

The bite typically does not hurt badly.

Bites from non-venomous spiders hurt less than a bee sting for most people. In fact, some may not even notice they’ve been bitten until the site swells or reddens.

The bite hurt, and the pain got worse.

Venomous spiders like the black widow, brown recluse and hobo spiders can cause painful bites. Depending on which of these types of spiders bit you, the symptoms of a spider bite include a sharp or stinging pain that spreads to other areas of the body. In the case of recluse bites, the pain may not be felt initially, but can develop hours later. If you are bitten and feel that kind of pain, contact a medical professional immediately.

The bite swells or reddens.

These are some common indications of spider bites. Symptoms include reddening or swelling at the site where you were bitten, and the site may also develop a blue, black or red discolored spot.

The bite develops into a sore.

Spider bites often turn into small sores. In most cases, these sores heal in a few days. In cases where the bite was venomous, such as a brown recluse bite, the sore becomes a lesion that can eat away healthy tissue. If tissue necrosis occurs, seek medical treatment immediately.

There is only one visible bite.

While spider bites can be confused with the bites of other insects, a spider bite typically occurs as a single bite. Most spiders are not aggressive insects. They will withdraw from a conflict and only bite as a last resort. Spiders are usually only able to bite once before they are crushed or killed.

You see or catch the spider that bit you.

The best way to tell which type of spider bite you have is to catch the spider that bit you. While some spiders have easy markers, like the black widows’ distinctive triangles or the brown recluses’ violin shape, others are harder to distinguish. If you are experiencing symptoms of a spider bite and have the offender with you, it may help doctors determine the best treatment method for you.

For most spider bites, the Centers for Disease Control and the Mayo Clinic recommend the RICE method (rest, ice, compression and elevation). If you are experiencing severe symptoms of spider bites, it is important to seek medical treatment.

Are you seeing a lot of spiders in and around your home? Consider calling a pest management professional to help you make sure that your home is safe from these pests.