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Summer Pest Spotlight: Funnel-web Spiders

Funnel-web spiders aren’t your friendly neighbourhood spider.

Classified as one of the most deadly spiders, the venom of a funnel-web is able to kill a human in 15 minutes. Funnel-webs are found all over the world! In Australia, these spiders are located across Eastern Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria).

Recently, Australian news outlets (see here and here) have issued a warning to residents as the mating season arrives. Male funnel-webs appear from their burrows in search of a mate during the summer months (particularly after rainfall). This typically leads them to residential gardens, swimming pools and inside homes (especially inside shoes). Funnel-webs, when encountered, must be treated with extreme care as their venomous bites should not be underestimated. Prior to the development of Funnel Web anti-venom in 1981, there were thirteen recorded deaths in Australia attributed to Funnel Web bites, however since then, there have been none.

Funnel-Web Spider Facts:

  • Considered medium to large spiders, funnel-webs grow anywhere between 1-5 cm, with the males slightly smaller than females.
  • Funnel-webs are distinctively all black, with hairy and glossy bodies.
  • Due to their sensitivity to light, Funnel-web spiders live in burrows underground. Their burrows are distinguishable by the silk ‘trip-lines’ found at the entrance of the burrow.
  • The fangs of a funnel-web spider can pierce through a fingernail. However not all funnel-web spiders administer deadly bites.
  • There are 40 known species of funnel-web spiders, including Sydney funnel-web, Blue Mountains funnel-web, Port Macquarie funnel-web and Northern Tree funnel-web.
  • The most dangerous place to be bitten is on the torso as this area is incredibly difficult to properly apply a pressure immobilisation bandage.

What does a funnel web spider bite look like?

Funnel-web spider bites are extremely painful, and a red bump is formed at the bite site. Symptoms of a funnel-web spider bite include:

  • nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain;
  • difficulty in breathing, disorientation, confusion, unconsciousness;
  • weakness/numbness in muscles, or muscular twitching;
  • small hairs standing on end;
  • heavy coughing; and
  • profuse sweat, tears and saliva production.

How do I treat a funnel web spider bite?

If someone you know has been bitten by a funnel-web spider, please action the following steps:

  1. Follow DRSABCD.
  2. Lie the patient down and calm/reassure them.
  3. Apply a pressure immobilisation bandage - if on a limb use broad crepe bandages. For anywhere else, use heavy crepe or elasticised roller bandages.
  4. To wrap the patient, start from just above fingers or toes of the bitten limb and move upwards, firmly covering the bite and as much of the limb as possible. This will slow down the spread of venom into blood stream, and stop it from immediately affecting vital organs.
  5. If available, immobilise injured limb with splints. During this entire process, keep the patient still.
  6. Call 000 for ambulance.

Please note: this method only applies to funnel-web spider and mouse spider bites. Instructions to treat other spider bites can be found in the St John First Aid Spider Bite Fact Sheet.

How to get rid of funnel web spiders?

The most effective way to eradicate dangerous spiders is by employing professional spider control measures. Our technicians are trained in locating breeding sites and common hiding places, and in handling approved and registered pesticides. To organise our spider control service for your home, call 13 14 40 today.

About Flick Anticimex

Flick Anticimex is the modern pest control company. Through prevention, new technology and sustainable solutions, we meet the demands for healthy environments, for both individuals and businesses. Flick Anticimex employs around 1,150 people, 1.2 million customers and revenue 2016 AUD 150.2 million. We are a part of the Anticimex Group with a presence in 17 countries and 2.5 million customers worldwide.

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