Banana Spider Facts & Information

Banana spider is a common name that often creates confusion since some species of banana spiders are extremely venomous and others have only a slightly painful bite.  For example, the Brazilian wandering banana spiders, genus Phoneutria, are among the most venomous spiders on Earth and its bite can be deadly to humans, especially children.  Fortunately, this spider species is exceptionally infrequently encountered in the U.S. Spiders possessing the common name banana spiders found in the U.S. are able to bite, but their bite is not as harmful or painful as bites from other spiders, like the brown recluse or black widow spider. A banana spider bite is usually less painful than a bee sting and usually doesn’t cause further symptoms.  Banana spiders are predators that generally prey upon insects such as flies, beetles, and dragonflies, so they are not likely to bite unless given no other way to defend themselves.

IDENTIFICATION

Spiders mistakenly called banana spiders found in the U.S. are generally large, brightly colored and can grow up to about two inches in size, not including leg span. Banana spiders create very large, intricate webs.  A spider mistakenly called a banana spider in many parts of the U.S., the Golden Orb spider, is one of the largest web weavers in the United States.  Coloration varies; however, the Golden Orb spider is a combination of red, yellow, and black.  The name “Golden Orb” does not come from their body coloration but from the color of the silk produced for their webs.  It is believed that the yellow/golden color of this silk is defense since the coloration makes it difficult to see in open, sunny areas.   These spiders are more often found in the southeastern parts of the U.S. where the weather is generally warmer.

HOW TO GET RID OF BANANA SPIDERS

For certain, banana spiders are very intimidating and unfriendly looking, but such is not their nature.  Instead, these spiders in the U.S.  are quite important predators within their environment since they capture and consume large numbers of potentially damaging insects.  But they do look scary, so most homeowners do not want them too near their home or property.  So, if someone encounters one of these spiders, they more than likely will seek the help of their pest management professional (PMP).  Fortunately, these spiders rarely invade a house, but prefer to build their webs in somewhat hidden locations where prey is available - places such as forests, tall grass, bushes and near light fixtures used during the night.  In many parts of the South, these spiders are sometimes encountered by people using hiking trails.  Preventing banana spiders is usually unnecessary unless they build a web in locations frequented by people.  Whenever this happens, homeowners are usually adversely affected by arachnophobia, which is the extreme fear of spiders. Some key preventive actions to reduce banana spiders is to provide control of insects that serve as food for spiders, seal cracks and gaps in the home's exterior to prevent entrance by spiders or insects, remove ground litter, cut tall grasses, keep fallen tree branches picked up and eliminate other sites that might provide spider harborage. Should the homeowner need assistance in control of these or any other spiders, contact your pest management professional (PMP) and request an inspection. Your PMP can then use his inspection findings to prepare a comprehensive management plan that will effectively and efficiently deal with the specific pest problem.