Dangerous Spiders

Technically, all spiders have poison. That’s how they’re able to kill the insects they eat. Only a few have poison strong enough to hurt people.These include:

  • Brown recluse spider
    These spiders are yellow-orange to brown with a violin-shaped marking on the body. Brown recluse spiders hide in closets, over door frames, in basements and in corners.
  • Black widow spider
    These have a shiny black body with a red hourglass on the underside. Black widow spiders prefer dark, quiet places like garages, meter boxes or furniture.
  • Hobo spider
    Hobo spiders are medium-sized and brown. Their abdomens have markings on them. Hobo spiders are not usually found in Kansas or Missouri. Their bite can cause skin reactions.
  • Yellow sac spider
    These pale spiders are greenish, tan or light brown. Their front legs are longer than the other three pairs. Instead of webs, yellow sac spiders build sac-like tubes in leaves, under logs, in shrubs or in the junction of walls and ceilings. Their bite is painful and can cause skin reactions.

24-hour Poison Control Center hotline:


Symptoms of spider bites

Reactions to spider bites vary widely, depending on the type of spider, the amount of venom released and the person who was bitten. Reactions can include:

  • Anaphylactic shock, which can cause breathing difficulties
  • Convulsions
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fever and chills
  • Itching
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Muscle cramps or spasms
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Stiff, achy joints
  • Vomiting


Prevent spider bites

To keep your family safe, follow these simple guidelines:

  • Shake your clothes before getting dressed.
  • Move your bed away from the wall.
  • Install tight fitting screens on windows and doors.
  • Seal cracks and crevices.
  • Remove debris near the foundation of your house.
  • Vacuum up spiders and webs and dispose of the vacuum bag.
  • Call an exterminator.


What to do for spider bites

If someone you know gets bitten by a spider, contact The University of Kansas Hospital Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. If you can capture and kill the spider, save it so you can describe it.


24-hour Poison Control Center hotline:


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