Black House Spider
• Mature female redback spiders are jet black in colour with a red / orange hourglass stripe on the back of their round abdomen and slender legs. Immature females are smaller and usually brown with whitish markings.
• Male redback spiders are small and brown and can have red or white markings on their abdomens. Male redbacks are not dangerous and are rarely seen.
• They are not aggressive and rarely leave their web. Redback bites usually occur when part of the body comes in direct contact with the spider or its web, especially in warmer months. Onset of pain from the bite can be delayed for up to five minutes and then rapidly increases in intensity. Their venom is poisonous and can cause serious illness. Bites can be potentially fatal for children and the elderly. Symptoms vary but can include generalized paid, nausea, vomiting, sweating, restlessness, weakness, palpitations, muscle spasm and fever. No deaths have been recorded since the antivenin became available.
• Redback spiders are found throughout Australia in built-up areas in dry sheltered sites. They have untidy webs with sticky threads that run to the ground from the web above. They are often found nesting with their wooly looking egg sacs in dry places around buildings, in sheds, colourbond and pool fencing, in children’s play equipment and outdoor furniture. In the bush, redback spiders nest under logs and rocks.
• Redback spiders feed mainly on ground dwelling insects that come across their webs. Sometimes, small vertebrates such as lizards and even mice often become dinner! Females also eat the tiny male redbacks.
• Spiderlings hatch and take to the wind when the conditions are right and spread quickly.
Redback Spider Bite Prevention
• Be cautious when working around the outside of the house, in your shed and in the garden.
• Wear gloves when gardening and moving stored items outside and outdoor furntiure.
• Know potential areas where they frequent and what their web and egg sacs look like.
• Don’t leave children’s toys outside in the garden.
• Keep calm and seek medical attention.
• If a limb is bitten, don’t bandage, apply iced water and take simple painkillers.
• Carefully collect the spider for identification (even if squashed)
• Seek medical aid as soon as possible.