Spider bites are less common generally than wasp, bee and and ant stings although strictly speaking a spider does not sting (by introducing venom through a redundant ovipositor) but bites. However, venom most definitely is injected into the victim through fangs (or teeth like instruments) and accordingly the introduction of venom means that we can reasonably accept that this is a similar type of event to a wasp or bee sting.
In the UK there are 14 native spiders that bite and these have been recored by the Natural History Museum as follows:
- Tube web spider
- False widow spider
- Woodlouse spider
- Walnut orb-weaver spider
- False widow or cellar spider
- Lace weaver spider
- Black lace weaver spider
- Mouse spider
- Rustic wolf spider
- Bark sac spider
- Stone spider
- Cross or garden spider
- Bruennichi’s Argiope
- Money spider
All of the above have bites that lead to reddening and swelling but to my knowledge there have been no deaths arising from UK spider bites and no life threatening allergic reactions either.
Outside of the UK there are of course some very dangerous biting spiders but so far as a I am aware there have been no allergic responses to the venom. The venom of course can be very dangerous and in particular the following spiders are particularly dangerous and reasonably common:
- United States of America: Black Widow and Brown Recluse spiders
- Canada: Brown Recluse and Fiddleback Spiders
- Australia: Funnelweb, Redback, Mouse, WhiteTail, Black House, Brown Widow
Most of these spiders can give very nasty bites indeed, often leading to large poisonous ulcers which if left untreated can become highly life threatening.
Once again there appears to be no major allergy issues with spider bites – the main problem is the toxic effect of the venoms and for this reason spider bites are not considered in detail on this website.