Warm weather is here, and so are the spiders. Here's what to do if you need to identify or treat spider bites.

I fully and unabashedly admit that I have arachnophobia. Their creepy, crawly legs ... the way they just show up out of nowhere in basements and on your car's steering wheel like tiny ninjas? It makes me break out in a cold sweat. While I know that spiders are good at killing pesky mosquitos, that doesn't make me keen on their presence. If they all stayed put in high-up corners, that would be just dandy, but some make their way into your personal space, and then we have situations like this: 

burn down house spider

Recently a woman in New York totaled her car and injured her leg when she saw a spider in her front passenger seat. If you ask me, there should be a special dispensation at all auto insurance agencies that covers this sort of victimization.

totaled car
Image courtesy Cairo, New York, Police Department

I'm fully aware that spiders actually don't like humans, yet there's always the chance of getting bitten by one while doing mundane tasks near a spider's usual hangout spots like getting boxes out of storage areas or gardening. Colorado is home to two of the known venomous spiders, the Black Widow and Brown Recluse.

Ladies First: Black Widow Spider

black widow spider

The bite from a Black Widow feels like a bee sting but can often be as light as a pinprick. At first, the bite leaves small red marks with swelling, but as time goes on, pain, stiffness, and cramping can be felt around the torso like your back, stomach, and chest. There have been reports of rapid heart rate, nausea, and vomiting. 

Leave Him Alone: Brown Recluse Spider

brown recluse spider

Their name alone suggests that they are content to go about life solo, but bites from Brown Recluses can happen. After a stinging sensation, a small white blister may appear with a red ring around it. The blister can darken and an open sore may develop that will proceed to get larger for a little over a week. Other symptoms include fever, chills, skin rash, and an upset stomach. 


After getting bitten, clean the area with soap and water and put on some antibiotic cream. Place an icepack or a cool damp cloth around the bite. For bites on the arm or leg, keep these limbs in an elevated position. Over the counter antihistamines and pain relievers can be used for any swelling or aches.

Get medical attention immediately if:

  • Stomach pain, cramping, fever, trouble breathing, or vomiting occurs.
  • The bite results in an open sore or has a "bull's eye" appearance.
  • Bite becomes worse after 24 hours.
  • Redness spreading around the bite.
  • Any fluid discharge from the bite area.
  • The individual who has been bitten is elderly, very young, or has preexisting health issues.

Now that you've likely been thoroughly skeezed out, here's a nice spider that never harmed anyone and used her powers of literacy for good:

paramount pictures charlottes web
Image courtesy Paramount Pictures

Have you ever been bitten by a venomous spider? Let us know in the comments!