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Of all the Australian spiders, only two have bites which alone are capable of causing death - the Funnel-Web spider, and the Redback spider.

Points To Remember 

All spider bites should be treated seriously and receive prompt medical attention.

Those at greatest risk are the very young or elderly and those with pre-existing cardiovascular disease.

Casualties with a severe allergic reaction may swell up in the throat and have difficulty breathing. If this occurs apply a cold compress to the outside of the throat as well. These casualties may carry medication which they should self administer.


Green Tick
  • Keep patient calm and as still as possible.
  • If available apply an ice pack (wrapped in a cloth) to the affected area.
  • All bites from big black spiders should be managed as suspected Funnel Web bites. In this case do not apply ice and the pressure immobilisation technique MUST be commenced as soon as possible.
  • Apply pressure bandage directly over bite and bandage towards end of limb then return up towards the centre of the body as far as possible.
  • Bandaging is not necessary for a Red Back bite. Applying pressure may increase the pain.
  • Where a bandage is not available strips of clothing will suffice.
  • Immobilise the limb with a splint if possible.
  • Transport patient to nearest hospital or call 000.
  • Try to capture spider for correct identification.
Red X Cross
  • Do not elevate the bitten area
  • Do not apply ice directly on the skin
  • Do not bandage lightly as this increases pain, but do not bandage so tightly that you cut off blood flow to the limb
  • Do not wash away or suck venom

For most other spider or insect bites, rest and elevation, local application of ice packs and lotions, simple analgesics and antihistamines are all that is required.

Specific Symptoms & First Aid For Deadly Spiders 

Sydney Funnel-Web (Atrax robustus) 

Female Funnel-Web Spider

The bite is usually immediately painful, and symptoms commence usually within a few minutes. They may include: copious saliva, confusion leading to unconsciousness, muscular twitching,  breathing difficulty, vomiting.

First Aid:
The pressure immobilisation technique MUST be commenced as soon as possible. Any delay risks the rapid onset of systemic symptoms. There have been no reports of deaths when effective first aid had been instituted.

The patient should immediately be evacuated to a medical facility. Treatment will require giving antivenom, providing artificial ventilation, and monitoring the patient. Bandages MUST NOT be removed prematurely.


Redback Spider (Latrodectus mactans hasselti)

Female Redback Spider

The bite is immediately painful; the pain may involve the whole limb. After a bite, the onset of pain may be delayed for five minutes then increase in intensity. Subsequent symptoms vary but may include: nausea, vomiting, abdominal or generalised pain, sweating, restlessness, palpitations, weakness, muscle spasm,  fever. Untreated, the symptoms worsen over a 24 hour period and may take weeks or months to resolve.

First Aid:
The pressure and immobilisation technique is NOT recommended as local pain may become excruciating. It may be relieved by the application of ice packs.

Applying Pressure Bandages And Splints 

Pressure bandages slow down the movement of venom into the bloodstream, which reduces the effect of the nerve toxins in the venom. Pressure bandages should be used for spider bites, except in the case of a Redback spider. When the spider bites someone, the venom is injected into the tissue under the skin. A pressure bandage slows down the movement of both tissue fluid and blood near the surface. This prevents the venom from rapidly reaching the bloodstream and is very effective treatment as long as the patient is kept still.

  • Wind the bandage firmly around the bitten arm or leg starting from the bite. The bandage should not be so tight that it restricts blood flow.
  • Wrap the entire limb, then apply a splint to prevent movement.
  • Keep the victim as still as possible.
  • Do not remove the bandage.

Catching A Spider  

  • Quickly place an empty jar over the spider
  • Push a stiff piece of card under the jar to cover its mouth
  • Up-end the jar so that the spider falls to the bottom
  • Quickly remove the card and securely replace the jar's lid

If you have any queries we can help you with or you are interested in making a booking for your property please Email or call us on 02 8783 8833

If you would like a quote for treatment at your property please complete our Free Quote Form



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