CPR First Aid

How to Keep White-Tail Spiders Out of Your Home?

How to Keep White-Tail Spiders Out of Your Home

Did you know that the white-tail spider is one of the most venomous spiders in Australia? Although they are not aggressive and will generally only bite humans if threatened like many arthropods. Their venom can cause serious health complications if not treated right away. In this post, we’ll discuss the dangerous spiders that have white dots or spotted ground on their tails and how to protect yourself from them. We’ll also provide some tips for identifying white tails and removing them from your home or workplace and what you should do if you are bitten by one.

White-Tail Spiders in Australia

White-tail spiders, with the common name of white-tip spiders because of their distinctive white spot and white markings, are a member of the Lamponidae family and are native to southern and eastern Australia. The spider identification of two spider species of white-tailed spiders are Lampona cylindrata ( l. cylindrata ) and Lampona murina ( lampona species ) under the Family Lamponidae and Order Araneae.

The most distinguishing feature of these types of spiders is the presence of pairs of faint white spots on its abdomen which is visible on its shiny black body. They also have dark brown-orange banded front legs and back legs with a span of about 28 mm. The spinnerets are conspicuous, unlike other spiders. The total body length including its head (cephalothorax) is about 12mm to 20mm with females being larger.

These are typically found in dark, damp places such as gardens, cellars, and laundry rooms. Distribution is across Southern and Eastern Australia from Port Lincoln to Sydney.

In most cases, white-tail spider bites are not serious and can be treated at home. However, some bites can be more serious and may require medical attention.

White-tail spiders, Lamponidae family, native to Australia, identified as Lampona cylindrata and Lampona murina.

Are White Tail Spiders Dangerous?

A white-tail spider is considered dangerous because it is capable of causing serious skin ulceration in humans, including necrotic ulcers.

An Australian Geographic article also reveals the result of a study made by a spider expert, Michael Gray. He concludes that a white-tailed spider bite follows three patterns: pain only, pain and a red mark, pain and an irritating red lesion. The same information mentions the articles of an expert in envenomation, Dr. Geoff Isbister. These focused on the idea of ghastly necrotic ulcers from the bites of this species. He was also a co-author of a scientific study in The Medical Journal of Australia which investigated 130 white tail spiders.

Bite cases also cause itchy red marks, a great deal of pain, and discomfort. In some cases, the bite may even lead to death.

According to the Australian Museum, these spiders are commonly found in New Zealand, north-east Queensland to Victoria, and Southern Australia (southeast Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia ).

Meaning of Necrosis

Necrosis is tissue death in the body. It happens when the tissue receives insufficient blood flow, rotting the human flesh. The white-tailed spider and black house spider are two culprits of necrotising arachnidism, a condition of tissue necrosis that is sporadically accompanied by generalized sickness and fatalities.

White-tailed Spider Myth

There were 130 bites reported in a research study, but not one necrotic ulcer developed from confirmed white-tail spiders. There is no proof to support the claim that white-tailed spiders are the monsters who create tissue necrosis. Experts have disproved this fallacy, yet the media still reports on it and thus the anxiety remains.

A misdiagnosis of “necrotic arachnidism,” or a bite from a flesh-eating spider has been perpetuated. In a research study, however, the workers discovered that all nine patients were wrongly diagnosed. White-tailed spider bites brought on none of the rotting conditions.

Only two Australian spiders are deadly, but the others are interesting. These are the funnel-web and redback spiders. Both are fatal to humans but have antivenom available.

Interesting Facts about the White-tail Spider

There are two prevalent species of jumping spiders in Australia. Lampona murina and Lampona cylindrata . Both species are spread across the country. White-tailed spiders have cylindrical, cigar-shaped bodies with a dark reddish-grey colour. A white patch at the apex of their abdomen serves as their identifying character. The female’s abdomen is usually larger than the male’s.

Roving Hunters

The interesting white-tailed spiders are vagrant hunters at night. Their preferred prey is other spiders rather than spinning webs and eating insects. This includes curtain-web spiders, daddy-long-legs, redback spiders, huntsman spiders, wolf spiders, tarantulas, trapdoor spiders, black widow spiders, swift spiders, and black house spiders. Their large mouthparts (chelicerae) allow them to consume bigger insects.

What do White-tail spiders eat?

The Black House spider, a dreadful stocky black spider about the size of a 20-cent coin, the Brown House spider, and the Redback spider the White Tail spider’s three favourite meals. While Redback spiders are among the most toxic spiders in the world, blackhouse spiders do have severe but not fatal bites. Because the white-tail spiders enjoy hunting, killing, and devouring spiders at night, others would want him nearby.

Favourite Spots

In gardens, these spiders, their egg sacs, and their temporary silk retreats are found behind leaf litter, bark, rocks, and plant debris. While inside the house, it is more likely to come across a white-tailed spider at night, and in the summer. White-tail spiders inhabit houses to feed on blackhouse spiders rather than humans.

White-tailed spiders like to hide in the spaces between pieces of cloth, especially those left on the floors. The spiders were discovered in bedsheets, towels, and clothing in two-thirds of the bite patients. For those who are not very fond of spiders, it’s a good idea to shake out your bedding, clothing, and towels before using them.

White Tail Spider Bite

White-tailed spiders are reluctant to pounce. They won’t bite unless provoked. The bite by a white-tailed spider can have one of three outcomes:

  • pain alone
  • pain and a red mark that lasts less than 24 hours – a red mark appeared following a spider bite in 83% of cases.
  • pain plus an itchy red lesion that lasts between 5 and 12 days

Symptoms When Bitten

If you have been bitten by a white-tailed spider, you will experience symptoms akin to a bee sting. It can also cause several symptoms, including:

  • itchiness
  • burning sensation
  • pain and swelling at the site of the bite
  • redness and inflammation around the bite
  • blistering or ulceration at the bite site
  • fever
  • nausea and vomiting
  • muscle aches and spasms
  • joint pain

In some cases, a white-tail spider bite can also lead to more serious symptoms such as:

  • difficulty breathing
  • paralysis of the muscles used for breathing
  • seizures

What Does a White Tail Bite Look Like?

The site of a white tail bite will have several signs. Around the visible puncture marks will be red marks or skin irritation, as well as swelling. Accompanied by these signs will also be a moderate mild to moderate amount of pain and itchiness.

Can a White Tail Spider Kill You?

In truth, the common Australian white tail spider is relatively harmless to humans. Its venom is considered quite weak when compared to other spiders. It is comparable to the venom of a bee sting. However, as we all know, even bee stings can be dangerous and lethal. So what does this mean? How can a white tail bite be harmless but also life-threatening?

This can happen due to allergic reactions. If a person is allergic to the venom of a bee, or in this case white tailed spiders, then they might experience anaphylaxis. If the person is not treated within 15 minutes, it can result in death. 

First Aid for a White-tail Spider Bite 

The first rule is to not panic, even if it could hurt. None of the 130 participants in the 2003 research required hospital admission as a result of the bite. Since these spiders don’t cause skin damage or ulcers, just basic first aid is required if the skin is punctured:

  1. Always wash the area where the victim was bitten. Apply antiseptic or warm, soapy water to the bite area to clean it.
  2. Ice packs are the most popular method of treating bites from white-tailed spiders because they minimize swelling. ‘Freezing’ the bite by applying ice to ease any discomfort or swelling (not directly onto the skin – wrap the ice in a tea towel or other cloth to prevent cold burns) is the most common procedure done.
  3. All victims of a white-tail spider must receive a tetanus vaccine.
  4. If you suspect a spider bite, go to the doctor immediately if the bitten area gets extremely painful, the red blisters look infected, or skin ulcers have developed.

Uses of White Tail Spiders

As generalist predators, spiders play a significant role in the ecology. White-tail spiders are one of the general predators that aid in pest control in your yard.

Their venom is increasingly being turned into innovative human medicines and suitable antivenom.

It is also used to develop new, sustainable pesticides that are selective in use,  which means they are effective for spiders and other insects but not for men. It is this selectivity that makes spider venom such a potent source of novel, long-lasting pesticides and potent medicines.

White Tails can be seen roving inside homes, especially in warmer weather. They are avid predators and feed on other kinds of spiders. – they do not make webs to trap flies or other flying insects. They do consume other spiders, though. Due to this quality, it is more likable than terrifying.

Getting Rid of Spiders

A lot of people would like to completely get rid of their spider problems. So, how can I kill a white tail spider? There are a few ways to kill a white-tail spider, including:

  • Using a chemical spray
  • Using a physical method, such as squishing the spider
  • Applying heat to the spider, such as with a hair dryer or lighters
  • Freezing the spider

Whichever method you choose, be sure to take precautions to protect yourself from being bitten. It is also important to ensure that the spider is dead before disposing of it.

Protect yourself when handling spiders; ensure it's dead before disposal.

Conclusion

White-tail spiders are found throughout Australia and are commonly associated with webs in dark, hidden places. They are mostly nocturnal hunters that actively seek out their prey, which consists of small invertebrates. These spiders can deliver a painful bite if provoked, but there is little evidence to suggest that their venom is harmful to humans. 

With proper first aid, most bites will heal without complications. However, some people may experience more serious reactions, such as necrosis or ulceration at the site of the bite. If you suspect you have been bitten by a white-tail spider, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

First Aid for Insect Bites

One of the skills taught at CPR First Aid Cheltenham is handling symptoms of insect bites and any resulting allergic reaction. If you’d like to learn and become certified in a Cheltenham first aid course or any location, reach out to us and we’ll be happy to guide you in your certification journey from start to finish.

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