Do we need to fear each and every spider?

Few people will confess to having affection towards spiders. You are unlikely to find a movie focusing on spiders in any romantic comedy – you will however find several horror movies where spiders will scare the crap out of moviegoers!!

We often find emails going viral with photo and warnings about spider bites. These usually include some rotten foot, hand or other body part with some elaborate warning and request to share with friends!

But do you REALLY need your purchase of life insurance to be motivated by the fear for spiders?

We featured one such story on the Accident Blog in a post titled “Do not delay attending to spider bites” An experts on spiders approached me and expressed concern that this might lead to misinformation on the violin spider and offered to share some expertise in addressing our fears.

What do we need to know and fear about spiders?

I have decided to share some of the insights from the experts of The Spider Club on Insurance Chat:

“ Just something to back up my first communication and although we in The Spider Club are not doctors we have done thorough investigations into the effects (or non-effects!) of spider bites because we get so many queries on the supposed danger posed by spiders.

Bites from any type of spider are very rare indeed and you have to catch a spider biting before you can say with certainty that it is a spider bite.   Just because a sore develops and a spider is found nearby, spider bite cannot be assumed.  The vast majority of spiders are considered harmless to humans and if you have a really good look around you, you are likely to find dozens of spiders.

Most of them with leg spans smaller than your finger nail and completely harmless to people.  In fact spiders are a healthy sign in any habitat.  Even at your home.  Tiny sores, bites (not necessarily from a spider) and abrasions can go septic from a secondary infection.  Scratching can do this and without wishing to offend anyone, we all carry pathogens around with us under our fingernails.  Spider venom is aseptic and incapable on its own of causing an infection.

Severe necrosis is a HIGHLY UNUSUAL outcome of spider bite and we feel that there is unnecessary alarm caused by hoax e-mails and an old article on The Spider Club website based on research which has been partly discounted in the scientific community.    Unfortunately medical professionals don’t receive adequate training in arthropod bites, and they make assumptions based largely on ignorance and sometimes what they think the patients want to hear.

There are over 20 conditions or pathogens that cause necrosis, including drug resistant staphylococcus infections, the most common cause of same.  We have a list of differential diagnosis which we can send to you and that all doctors should consider when confronted with an alleged spider bite.

I have attached a copy of the cover of a small booklet on venomous spiders found in South Africa which, despite its name should allay the fears of all but the most dyed in the wool arachnophobes!

If people want copies please ask them to e-mail me on I sell them at R85.00, standard postage included.

Astri Leroy”

3 thoughts on “Do we need to fear each and every spider?

  • April 28, 2011 at 8:21 am

    I was bitten about 2 years ago. When I woke up, i saw two tiny little red dots on my wrist. This swelled up and for the next 6-8 months the swelling didn’t go down at all. I actually thought of going to see a doctor to have it cut out. I can say now after 2 years that its disappeared and everything looks normal again, but I’ll watch out for spiders the next time around. And ps, this happened at home not even out in “nature”

  • September 19, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    Hi i am 12 and I got bit by a violet spider What the Freak do I do Help!!!!!!!!

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