There are about 3,000 species of spiders in North America, of which a few dozen are native to Washington state. Most spiders are not dangerous, and in fact, perform a beneficial service by eating insects. However, there are three species of venomous spiders in Washington state that can deliver a dangerous bite.
In general, spiders are not aggressive, and spider bites are rare. Most happen when the spider is trapped against the skin, for example, when hiding inside a piece of clothing. While it’s unlikely you will ever receive a spider bite, it’s important to know what to do if you are ever bitten.
Venomous Spiders Native to Washington
Quite a few spiders can deliver a painful bite, but these three species can do worse. While the incidence of death is extremely rare if you are bitten, severe symptoms can occur. Bites can be a significant risk for some including young children, the elderly, and those with serious chronic illnesses.
The Black Widow
Shy and non-aggressive, black widow spiders are common in eastern Washington. As the most poisonous spider in the state, adult females have dangerous venom. Females are shiny black with red hourglass markings on the belly. The markings can also be yellowish orange. The body is about 1/2” long.
The venom is a neurotoxin, painful at the bite site, then spreads throughout the body. Most bites are not life-threatening and may produce flu-like symptoms. If bitten, seek medical attention!
The “False” Black Widow spider is a related species that also lives in Washington and resembles the black widow but without the belly markings. Their venom is much less toxic than the black widow spider bite.
The Yellow Sac Spider
Found in eastern Washington state, the yellow sac spider is a garden dweller that moves indoors in the fall. Bites are rare but can occur. The bite is painful, much like a bee sting, and causes redness and burning. The venom can cause slow healing, swelling, and ulcerated sores around the bite site. It usually begins to heal in a few days.
With a mild venom, these non-aggressive, large spiders are dark brown with distinct markings on the abdomen. While they are mildly venomous, and occasionally bite, they are considered relatively harmless.
Whitworth Pest Solutions
Most spider bites are not dangerous, but if you receive a bite and experience persistent pain, swelling, and redness, seek medical attention. If you think you have a spider problem, call the experts at Whitworth Pest Solutions. They can identify the species, design a program to eliminate them, and keep them from coming back!