Jumping spiders are one of the most common types of spiders. While there are thousands of species of jumping spiders, only 300 are native to the United States. Jumping spiders are not dangerous to humans, even if you get bitten by one.
Typically, a jumping spider will only bite when it’s being crushed or threatened. According to the University of California Davis, these bites are considered less severe than a bee sting, and may result in a small, mosquito-bite-sized welt (that is, if you have any symptoms at all).
However, if you have an allergy to jumping spider venom — or if the spider that bites you is not a jumping spider after all — these bites can cause health concerns.
This article will cover the basics of how to treat a jumping spider bite, and when you should call a doctor about this type of insect bite.
If you’ve been bitten by any type of spider, it’s important to stay calm. Try to remember any details about what the spider looked like, such as the:
- stripes or markings
If the spider is crushed or killed after it bites you, take a photo of the spider that you can reference later. For example, according to Washington State University, Phidippus audax is a common type of jumping spider also called an “orchard spider.” The animal often has an orange and white spot on its abdomen.
Other types of jumping spiders may have stripes of white or black on their abdomens. You won’t typically find a jumping spider in a web. They prefer to hunt by springing forward off their hind legs to capture insects. You may see a jumping spider hanging by a single strand of silk thread.
If you’re fairly confident that the spider that your bite comes from is a jumping spider, you can most likely treat the bite at home. Here’s what to do:
- Wash the spider bite with soap and water. This will prevent any bacteria from crossing your skin barrier and make an infection less likely later on.
- If you feel a burning sensation at the site of the spider bite, apply a cool compress (such as a wet washcloth) to the bite. This should help with symptoms of swelling and redness or discoloration.
- You may also want to apply a topical antibiotic ointment to the area of the bite if a welt appears.
You may want to try other home remedies for the bite if the above first aid steps don’t help, such as an antihistamine cream or a topical analgesic.
If your spider bite symptoms don’t subside or become more severe over a span of 24 to 48 hours, seek medical attention.
In these situations, the most likely scenarios are:
- you’re having an allergic reaction to the spider bite
- you have a bite from a different type of spider
Call a doctor immediately if you experience any of these symptoms after a spider bite:
- nausea and vomiting
- rashes spreading past the initial welt
- a blister that is purple or red
- difficulty breathing
- increased heart rate
- fever or chills
- increased blood pressure
- swollen lymph glands
Jumping spiders are not dangerous to humans. In most cases, they will not bite unless they feel they’re in mortal danger.
Even if they do bite, they most likely won’t puncture your skin. And even if they puncture your skin, it’s very, very rare that you’ll have a severe reaction. Unless, of course, you have an allergy to jumping spiders or the spider is a different kind of spider altogether.
Keep an eye on your symptoms after a spider bite, and treat with first aid to prevent infection. Remember that spider bites can sometimes take longer to heal than other types of insect bites.
If you start to have symptoms of an allergic or severe reaction, contact a doctor and seek emergency medical attention if you need it.