Size: Average size is about 1-inch long with a leg span of 5.9 inches.
Spiders of all varieties elicit a terrified response from many humans, and the huntsman spider is no exception. Found mostly in subtropical areas like Florida and Texas, this spider’s bark is much scarier than its bite. Huntsman spiders are venomous, but their venom hasn’t been shown to be harmful to humans. However, finding these pests in or around your home is still quite an inconvenience. Learn more about huntsman spiders and what you can do if you see them in your home.
What Are Huntsman Spiders?
Huntsman spiders are part of the Sparassidae family. Also referred to as giant crab spiders, banana spiders, and wood spiders, huntsman spiders don’t build and use webs to trap prey but rather chase and inject poison into them to immobilize and then consume them. This species of spider is believed to have originated in Asia and then made its way to the United States via banana shipments coming from Central America.
These spiders prey on insects, including cockroaches and mosquitoes, making them useful for controlling pests. However, you probably won’t enjoy finding one of these large spiders in your home.
What Does a Huntsman Spider Look Like?
Huntsman spiders have eight eyes appearing in two rows of four eyes on the front of their heads. Fully grown huntsman spiders have about 1-inch bodies and 5.9-inch legs. Female huntsman spiders are mostly brown in color with a large abdomen and a tan band around the carapace (hard upper shell). Male huntsman spiders typically have longer legs than females as well as bands spanning longways on their abdomens and a cream band around their carapace. Both sexes have black spots on the legs with hairs coming out of each spot.
Where Are Huntsman Spiders Found?
The huntsman spider prefers warmer climates and won’t survive in sub-freezing temperatures. Because of this, huntsman spiders are primarily found in subtropical climates in states like Georgia, Utah, Texas, Alabama, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, California, and Louisiana. Common places where huntsman spiders reside include in the crevices of tree bark, avocado groves, greenhouses, sheds, and barns. They can also make their way into homes and live under floorboards or in small crevices and cracks, especially when temperatures drop outside.
Problems Associated With Huntsman Spiders
Huntsman spiders, like other arachnids, are venomous creatures that inject their prey with venom in order to paralyze and eat them. However, the venom of a huntsman spider is not dangerous to humans and typically won’t cause medical complications. If you are bitten by a huntsman spider, you’ll likely develop a painful bite similar to that of a bee sting. These spiders typically only bite humans if they are handled roughly.
Another problem associated with huntsman spiders is infestations in or around a residence. If you notice a huntsman spider in or near your home, there may be an infestation of these arachnids somewhere close by. And, if you see a huntsman spider laying on top of a white ball-looking object, that is an egg sac containing up to 200 tiny spiderlings, which will eventually hatch and scatter.
Additionally, seeing more than one huntsman spider in or around your house could also indicate that you have an infestation of another pest, such as cockroaches. You should check your house for insects and other pests if you see one of these arachnids prowling around your house.
What to Do If You’re Bitten by a Huntsman Spider
Most huntsman spiders are not aggressive toward humans and will run away rather than bite. However, if provoked or mishandled, a huntsman spider may deliver a painful bite. While not lethal or particularly toxic, these bites can still cause side effects, like swelling at the location of the bite, mild nausea, and headaches.
If you’ve been bitten by a huntsman spider, follow these steps immediately after the bite:
Sit down and relax.
Clean the area where you were bitten with a disinfectant and water.
Put an ice pack on the area to reduce pain and swelling.
Avoid applying pressure or bandaging the bite, as this can cause the venom to stay in the skin and worsen the pain.
If possible, gather the spider for identification by a medical professional.
Seek medical attention if you feel the swelling is not going down or the pain is worsening after a day or two.
The huntsman spider species found in the United States won’t cause much damage beyond a painful wound that will heal on its own. However, species like the badge huntsman spider found in Australia can cause extended pain and inflammation as well as vomiting in humans.
Huntsman Spider Control and Prevention
There are several actions you can take to prevent huntsman spiders from taking up residence in or around your home:
Keep other insect infestations under control. Because huntsman spiders feed on insects, like mosquitoes and cockroaches, eliminating insect infestations is a good way to also eliminate the presence of huntsman spiders at your residence.
Seal up any broken screen doors or window gaps. Spiders typically make their way into homes through small cracks or gaps in entry points of the home. So, ensuring there are no open spaces in your windows and doors will help prevent these spiders from getting inside your house.
Call a professional pest control company. If you’re concerned about the presence of huntsman spiders at your home, calling a professional pest exterminator company is the best way to eliminate their presence and prevent future spider sightings.
The best way to avoid frightening huntsman spiders is to keep your home free of other insect infestations. If you have any questions about huntsman spider control and prevention, reach out to Bulwark Exterminating today.