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Dangerous or Harmless? Are Banana Spider Bites Poisonous?

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Knowing about spiders is interesting and in a way is also significant for us. Why? It is so because these tiny creatures are present everywhere, no matter if you hate them or try to ignore them. So, today borrowing some knowledge from arachnids, here you would know about the Banana Spider Bites and how poisonous this group of spiders is. 

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What is a Banana spider? 

Banana Spider is a popular name used for several species of spiders usually found on banana plants. Accordingly, it’s not the original name of those spiders but a generalized name. Several of the known spiders coming in this group are:

What is a Banana spider
What is a Banana spider
  • The Brazilian venomous wandering spider.
  • The harmless variety of genus Capiennius.
  • Nephila clavipes. 

There are mainly two logics behind their name as ‘banana spiders ‘. Firstly, they can have their name from the golden silk they create for building larger webs. These webs help in preying on flying insects as their main food source. 

Secondly, some specific genus like Nephila can derive their name from produce sellers who mainly discover these spiders in South American banana shipments. 

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Where are Banana spiders found? 

Most of the species of Banana spiders are found in North and South America. It depends on their region to determine whether the banana spider bites are poisonous or not! Cupiennius species are found in Central or South America. 

The harmless genus of Nephila Golden silk orb-weaver is there in the southeast of the United States through Peru and Argentina. At the same time, the Batik Gooden Web Spider is found in the Philippines and Vietnam at large.  

Phoneutria banana spider bites are venomous and have their roots in South and Central America. These types of spiders are also known as Brazilian wandering spiders. The Argiope appensa, originally the texture of a Banana peel, is found on numerous western Pacific Ocean islands. So, do you think any of these spiders can be traced near your location? 


How long do banana spiders live? 

Banana spiders do not have a longer lifespan. Surprisingly in one year, researchers have observed only one fresh-born generation of banana spiders. After the final female’s molt, the adult does not survive for long. The males can live hardly two to three weeks after the final molt, while females can extend their lifespan to one month at max. 

How many eggs do the banana spiders lay in a year? 

In between one to four sacs, the female spider would lay at least a thousand to four thousand eggs based on those sacs. The egg sacs are generally silky and brown. You will find those sacs at the center of the woven web and from where the female spider can protect or guard the eggs. 

How Big are banana spiders? Difference between male and female. 

As you know, there is more than a kind of banana spider present. So, it will be wrong to generalize their size, and based on one genus typically answer, how big are banana spiders? So, the size of those spiders varies based on their genus. Have a look below- 

How Big are banana spiders
How Big are banana spiders
  • Golden orb-weavers/ silk spiders: The researchers get so baffled by studying this species’ male and female spiders. These are mainly because the male and female spiders look completely different. There were misconceptions earlier that they were of other species altogether. However, with time the arachnids have figured out how big banana spiders are from the Golden Orb weavers. The males are not more than 0.2- 0.3 inches, while female spiders are as big as 1-2 inches long. 
  • Argiope Appensa: Similar to many other spider varieties, this group also has larger females in comparison to male ones. The brown male spiders are at max 0.8 inches in length while the females are 2-2.5 inches longer. The females have black and yellow stripes all over their bodies. 
  •  Phoneutria: The Brazilian group of poisonous spiders has the potential to stretch their legs as large as 5-7 inches. Their body size can be estimated as between 0.67 to 1.9 inches in length.
  •  An amazing fact about the Phoneutria genus is that the spiders in this group are nocturnal and like to hunt smaller pests or small amphibians during the night. You won’t find them in the daytime as they hide in darker places. 

Do banana spiders bite? 

Yes, most of the banana spider varieties usually bite humans. They try to avoid humans, and when they feel the threat from your side, it is only then they would bite. In most cases, these spiders have proved their shy nature and try their best to avoid humans. 

Do banana spiders bites
Do banana spiders bites

For your comfort, you should know that the banana spider bites are not that dangerous as compared to other species such as the black widow spider or brown recluse. 

Unless they bite you in a strong defensive mode, the pain of their bite is no greater than a bee sting. They do not even indicate the symptoms and would heal generally in some cases. 

Symptoms of a banana spider bite

The symptoms associated with all spider bites are somewhat the same. Unless you were bitten by a black widow spider or brown recluse spider, you wouldn’t be facing many problems. Some of the common symptoms included are:

  • Rashes or Redness in the region where the spider has taken a bite. 
  • You can face itchiness or limitation on your skin. 
  • Painful bump on your skin. 
  • Blistering or pain in the bite area is also common.

When you notice unusual skin sores, it may be because of some bacterial growth or infection post-bite. Further, when you are allergic to spider bites, you can face breathing problems or can have a fever. So then it will be better to consult a doctor. 

What does a banana spider look like? 

As shared earlier, most variety of banana spiders has larger female bodies as compared to males. 

Besides that, the Nephila spiders are not venomous, and they have cylindrical bodies. Unlike the brown males, the females have yellow and white abdomen along with elongated skinny legs. Throughout their body, you will find yellow and brown striped bands. 

The dangerous Brazilian wandering spiders or Phoneutria are large hairy spiders. They have a brown body texture easily recognized by the dense patched fine hair on their pedipalps.  

The Central American Cupiennius spiders have furry brown bodies and their legs are comparatively skinny. You can find the distinction in looks between some species of a similar genus to others. A few of them also have bright red hairs on their mouthparts. 

Are banana spiders poisonous? 

You must be curious to know, if are banana spiders venomous or not! If yes, then what should you do to treat the venomous bites? Many banana spiders like the Golden silk orb-weaver are not usually threatening unless you repeatedly poke them and irritate them. 

The venom of such a genus is mild and is not harmful to humans. But the Brazilian phoneutria are venomous and threatening, especially for young children. 

The venoms of such a genus are toxic to the central nervous system. Therefore, it would be better to initiate treatment in the early stages after such bites. Symptoms like – irregular heartbeat, drooling, and in men, priapism would confirm such toxic bite. 

Immediate Treatment

When you notice some symptoms of a banana spider bite, you should immediately start the treatment with someone’s assistance to be in a safer place. But what is important is to stay calm; otherwise, it will worsen your health. Here are the few likely steps you should take- 

  • Calmly contact the needful person and ask for medical help. 
  • To extract the poison first, thoroughly clean the place. You can take the help of lukewarm water and body soap. 
  • If you face severe pain or swelling in that place, it’s better to apply an ice pack frequently. Once in an hour, apply an ice pack in the region. 
  • Consult a doctor and then take the prescribed antihistamines to relieve the pain and heal from the possible symptoms. Note that an antihistamine also helps in reducing itchiness. 
  • When you have rashes or skin blisters, apply an antibody ointment temporarily to relieve yourself. It will reduce the infection. 
  • For irritated skin, aloe vera gel will soothe the problem. Applying natural aloe vera gel straight away from an aloe vera plant would be helpful. 
  • Follow the doctor’s medication and if you have a high fever, take paracetamol. 

Are banana spiders dangerous? Some facts

Though banana spiders can dangerously bite humans, they do so as an act of defense. These spiders are shy by nature and therefore do not unnecessarily bother humans. Now, know some interesting facts about them: 

  • The female spiders don’t hesitate to eat the males after mating. It might sound crazy but, that’s how they function. 
  • The Nephila spiders aesthetically spin their web and can even adjust the texture of the web based on the local sunlight conditions. Shifting the hues of the web helps them catch prey. 
  • The Cupiennius doesn’t like spinning a web. Instead, they focus only on hunting prey. 
  • The Hawaiian garden spider has zig-zag-designed webs. 

End words

So, based on the above discussions, it became clear that banana spiders are not a specific species of spiders. Rather they are a common name for different variants of spiders usually found in North, South, and Central America but can also be traced in other regions. 

Bite from a banana spider won’t prove venomous unless you were bitten by the severe ones like the Brazilian wandering spider. Symptoms include swelling, itching, and Redness which best can be remedied through doctors’ consultations. So, to avoid any risk, it would be best to follow doctors’ prescriptions rather than trusting solely home remedies. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is a banana spider bite poisonous? 

Answer-  The bite from a banana spider won’t prove life-threatening or venomous unless you got it from the severe one like the Brazilian wandering spider. However, for children, many of those spider variants can be harmful. A bite from spiders like golden silk orb-weaver is not deadly and can be cured through ice packs and with antibody ointment. 

Q. What happens when a banana spider bites you? 

Answer- When a banana spider bites one, it may feel like swelling of the bitten region, itching problem, or rashes. There can also be bacterial growth from the bite, due to which one may experience unusual skin sores. 

Dr. Angela Olivares
Dr. Angela Olivares
Dr. Angela Olivares is a board-certified dermatologist and a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. She is a graduate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed her residency in dermatology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Ashton has a private practice in New Jersey and New York City, where she specializes in skin cancer detection and treatment, as well as general dermatology.

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