Georgia’s Poisonous Spiders: Have You Been Bitten?

While most spiders are only creepy, others can be dangerous. Several species of poisonous spiders call Georgia their home, all of which have distinctive characteristics to help you identify them and steer clear.

Northern Black Widow

Approximately half an inch long with a leg span of one-and-a-half to two inches, this black spider sports a distinctive red hourglass shape on its belly. Abdominal markings include red dots down the top and diagonal white stripes along the sides in immature spiders that may remain in adulthood.

Southern Black Widow

Similar in size and markings to the Northern Black Widow, this spider’s red hourglass tends to be more complete in shape. Other body markings vary but may include red or white spots in a line on their backs or red and white patterns on the sides of the abdomen. Young Southern Black Widows are orange and white instead of black. Their colors become darker as they reach maturity.

Brown Widow

Though this spider is the same size as other widow spiders, its color is often lighter, ranging from tan to brown. Some may be so dark brown that they appear to be black and, like black widows, have an hourglass marking on their underbelly. However, it may be orange or yellow instead of red. Red and white spots appear on its back while its legs feature bands of yellow, brown and black.

Brown Recluse

This Georgia spider may be brown or yellow-brown and measures approximately one-third of an inch long. A dark violin-shaped marking near the head distinguishes this spider from the widow varieties.

Spider Bite Symptoms

Depending on the type of spider, symptoms from a bite may include:

  • Pain, swelling, redness or itching
  • Burning or tingling sensations
  • Muscle cramps
  • Joint pain
  • Nausea, vomiting or headaches
  • Blistering or necrotic lesions in the skin
  • Stomach, back or chest pains
  • Stupor, restlessness or shock
  • High blood pressure

If you or a family member is bitten by one of these spiders, don’t wait to seek medical assistance. The doctors at AppleCare can help you identify if you’ve been bit by a spider and can direct you to the proper care facility if an anti-venom is needed.