Friendly Neighborhood Spider Bite

For most people, a mosquito bite results in a little itchy bump that eventually goes away. Flea and bed bug bites are similar … itch, itch, itch, then you’re fine. Your body heals itself and you go on with your life.

But if something bites you and you suddenly experience symptoms beyond an itch, you may have gotten a spider bite. 

According to Sandwich Isle Pest Solutions, the two most-worrisome spiders that Hawaii residents need to watch for are the brown violin and black widow. 

The brown violin is closely related to the brown recluse, which hasn’t made its way to Hawaii yet. But like the recluse’s bite, the violin’s bite releases a venom that can cause open sores. Less-serious symptoms include sweating, chills, and nausea. Violins build their webs in dry, dark places like basements, closets, outdoor bathrooms, under old boards, and in shoes (!).

The red hourglass shape on black widow spiders’ shiny black underbelly is all the warning you need to stay away. Widows build their webs in storage sheds, in holes and crevices of building foundations, basements, crawl spaces, and meter boxes. A bite from a black widow could result in pain that’s not limited to where the bite is, difficulty breathing, sweating, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, a sudden headache, or other symptoms.

Our advice? Even if you don’t know what bit you, if the bite is painful and swollen or red and you experience the symptoms mentioned above, call your doctor or visit an urgent care clinic right away. Infants, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems could be at risk for serious complications from a spider bite.

If your worst symptoms are pain, itching, or swelling, treat the spider bite like other insect bites. Wash the area with soap and water, then apply an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin. Cover the bite with a bandage and apply an ice pack or cool compress to the wound. Call your doctor if more-serious symptoms develop. 

Let’s end this creepy article on a happy note. Have you ever seen a cane spider? They’re brown, hairy-looking, and average a 3-inch leg span. Huge. They can even grow bigger. Generally found outdoors, they’ll only bite if provoked. The good news: Their bite is small and isn’t venomous. 

You’re welcome.