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The Ultimate Guide To Banana Spiders

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Banana spiders look big and scary due to their size and vibrant colors. While some of these spiders are dangerous, most are harmless in the United States. 

It can be stressful not having the information you need about a large spider-like the banana spider. 

Don’t worry. This post will go over everything you need to know about banana spiders from identification, removal, and frequently asked questions. 

Let’s get started. 

What is a Banana Spider?

The term “banana spider” is a collective name for different spiders worldwide. 

There are several different reasons why these spiders received the name “banana spiders.” The first is that they were commonly found hiding in banana and other cargo shipments from South America. Second, certain species of banana spiders are large and yellow, resembling a banana. The final reason the silk web they produce typically has a yellowish tint. 

The term banana spider refers to a group of spiders including: 

  • Calico spiders
  • Writing spiders
  • Golden silk spiders
  • Golden orb weavers
  • Nephila clavipes
  • Hunting Spiders 
  • Hawaiian Garden Spider
  • Wandering Spider

Banana spiders as a group can range from extremely dangerous to harmless. In the United States, most species of banana spider are harmless such as the Golden Silk Spider. In other countries such as Central and South American certain species of banana spiders like the Brazilian Wandering Spider are highly venomous and dangerous. 

In the United States, most banana spiders don’t pose any threat to humans. However, they do have the ability to bite, so don’t provoke them or threaten them. 

What Does a Banana Spider Look Like?

large banana spider on web

Female banana spiders and male banana spiders look different from one another. They are one of the few species of spiders where the male and female spiders look like different species of spiders.

The body of the male banana spiders is typically between ¾ inch and 1 ¼ inch, not accounting for the legs. In contrast, female bananas spiders are between 1 inch and 3 inches long.

The male and females also vary in their color. Females have a light-colored abdomen with a yellow pattern on their abdomen. The pattern can vary depending on the species from stripes, to abstract markings, to spots. Males, on the other hand, have a dark brown abdomen with no significant markings.

Another key characteristic of banana spiders is the expansive webs they create. They have been known to create webs as large as 15 feet wide. If you see a large, yellow spider on a large web, then it’s likely a banana spider.

The Banana Spider Web

Banana spider webs are generally large, intricately designed, strong, and up to 6 feet wide. In rare cases, they have been able to create webs that are as large as 15feet.

You will typically find their webs hidden in high-traffic areas. They place their webs in areas that would make it easier to catch their prey.

Banana spider webs are generally in warm places, such as Southeast America. They’re also tough to see in environments with lots of openness and sunlight.

Are Banana Spiders Aggressive?

Banana spiders can appear intimidating. However, they will leave you alone if you leave them alone. If you provoke a banana spider, they will become aggressive and protect themselves.

If provoked, banana spiders will bite. The pain and symptoms of a bite can vary widely depending on the species of banana spider. Banana spiders in the United States will typically only cause a small amount of pain and typically minor symptoms such as redness and minor swelling.

Do Banana Spiders Bite?

Yes, banana spiders can bite, but they are not aggressive. Naturally, they are docile spiders that will stick to themselves unless provoked.

When provoked or if they feel threatened, banana spiders will try to bite to protect themselves. If you do come in contact with a banana spider, the best thing you can do is leave it alone. Do you’re best to keep it calm and safe, and the spider will not bite.

Banana Spiders' Lifespan

Banana spiders have a short lifespan once they are fully grown. Females only live between 1 month and 1 ½ month after their final molt. Males, on the other hand, only live between two and three weeks.

Like many species of spiders, females typically eat the male after they mate. However, sexual cannibalism is less common in banana spiders, although they still engage in it.

Female banana spiders can lay egg amounts ranging from 300 to 1,400.

What Do Banana Spiders Eat?

Banana spiders are known to consume the following insects: 

  • Bees
  • Crickets
  • Dragonflies
  • Wasps
  • Stinkbugs
  • Mosquitoes
  • Flies
  • Bees
  • Moths
  • Beetles
  • Butterflies
  • Leaf-footed bugs

Are Banana Spiders Poisonous?

Banana spiders aren’t collectively poisonous. However, there are some species of banana spiders that are highly venomous and dangerous while others are harmless.

Fortunately, if you live in the United States, most to nearly all the species of banana spiders are harmless. However, venomous species of banana spiders are found in Central America, South America, Australia, Asia, and Africa. Some species have been reported to cause death in children or people with compromised immune systems.

Are Banana Spiders Dangerous?

Generally, banana spiders aren’t dangerous. Most have a harmless bite, and they are docile, which means they are unlikely to bite.

There are some species of banana spiders that are deadly and very dangerous to humans. Most of these spiders are found outside the United States. The Brazilian wandering spider is one of the most dangerous banana spiders that is known to cause death in young children or those with compromised immune systems.

Are Banana Spiders Venomous?

Yes, all banana spiders are venomous, but the potency of their venom varies depending on the species. Most bananas spider bites only cause light stings and redness.

There are several species of very venomous banana spiders. Their bites are known to be very painful and, in some cases, cause death. Of all banana spiders, the ones to keep an eye out for are Brazilian wandering spiders.

Where Do Banana Spiders Live?

Banana spiders are found worldwide, including in the United States, South America, Central America, Asia, and Australia.

In the United States, banana spiders are commonly found in the southern states. They are found as far north as North Carolina and as far west as California.

Other more deadly species of banana spiders are found in Central America, South America, Africa, and Australia.

Should I Get Rid of Banana Spiders?

Experts generally advise people to leave banana spiders alone. This applies in cases where banana spiders are found in gardens and otherwise not within your home. Banana spiders can even consume pests, thus letting your garden flourish.

What are the Benefits of Banana Spiders?

Banana spiders are harmless and docile spiders. This makes them relatively harmless outside of your home. 

There are some benefits you will experience if there are banana spiders living outside your home; these include: 

  • Ability to eat garden pests during summer and spring
  • Creation of silk for different purposes, such as bulletproof vests
  • Potential to fix damaged tissues

What Attracts Banana Spiders in Your Yard?

Banana spiders are always on the prowl for water, food sources, and shelter. With that in mind, the following things will attract banana spiders into your yard. 

  • Insects
  • Water 
  • Sunflowers
  • Corn stalks
  • Housing eaves
  • Housing sides
  • Large rocks
  • Debris
  • Dark corners inside homes
  • Crevices inside homes

How To Get Rid of Banana Spiders

1. Identify the Type of Spider

Banana spider infestations start when either the inside or outside of your home become attractive to female banana spiders. 

Infestations can grow fast since females lay between 300 and 1400 eggs in a single reproductive cycle. 

Infestations are generally easy to identify because the size and color of adult banana spiders make them stand out. 

To identify banana spider infestations, there are a few key characteristics you can look for: 

  • Large spiders with intricate patterns that are yellow 
  • Large webs outside of your home

2. Cover Gaps and Seal Entry Points

The easiest way to get rid of banana spiders around your home is to eliminate any gaps or entry points.

Eliminating gaps and entry points will do two things.

First, it will make your house less appealing for banana spiders to create their webs.

Second, sealing entry points will eliminate any potential hiding spots and also prevent them from getting inside your home.

The easiest way to seal gaps or potential entry points is using caulk and wire mesh.

You can use them together to fill gaps or use caulk alone to fill any cracks or crevices.

3. Eliminate food and water sources

If your home has food and water sources within or nearby the premises, this can attract banana spiders. 

You should eliminate water that is accumulating around your home. Common sources of excess water include: 

  • Leaking pipes
  • Broken sprinklers 
  • Broken downspouts 
  • Faulty gutters 
  • Overwatering 
  • Unlevel yard or ground 

This will attract spiders and other insects. Spiders will survive on the water and begin to feed on any insects that the water attracts. 

The following food sources appeal to banana spiders: 

  • Bees
  • Dragonflies
  • Wasps
  • Stinkbugs
  • Mosquitoes
  • Flies
  • Bees
  • Moths
  • Beetles
  • Butterflies
  • Leaf-footed bugs

4. Keep your yard well maintained

The easiest thing you can do is pick up fallen tree branches, chop tall grass, and remove other attractions for spiders.

Banana spiders are pretty huge. This is why they look for robust stalks, tall plants, and other firm sources to secure their webs. Banana spiders are also big fans of hiding places.

These can come in handy as hiding spots in the event of predators. Some of banana spiders’ favorite hiding spots include dark corners, big rocks, debris, housing eaves, decks, and firm rails.

5. Practice Routine Home Maintenance

Open entry and exit areas are the places where banana spiders get into homes.

Therefore, you should vacuum, clean, and sweep your home regularly. This will lessen the amount of insects and spiders inside your home.

6. Vacuum and Sweep Often

Insects are innately attracted to food that’s left out in the open by mistake.

Therefore, make sure that the surfaces of your home are vacuumed, swept, and cleaned regularly.

This will reduce the likelihood of banana spiders being drawn to your home.

7. Keep Vegetation Three Feet Minimum Away From Your Home’s Perimeter

Plantlife and vegetation should remain a minimum of three feet removed from the perimeter of your home. This will lessen the probability of banana spiders getting close enough to your home to get inside.

Less vegetation and plants around your home will reduce the number of hiding spots for spiders and other insects. 

8. Use Insecticides

Banana spiders are typically harmless and beneficial to gardens if you can keep them a safe distance from your home.

If this is the case, you can keep the area around your home less attractive, and this will keep them away.

If there is a large infestation, you may need to resort to using insecticides around your home. Since banana spiders are a sign that there is a large pest problem, insecticides will help you get rid of these as well.

Apply insecticide around your home’s perimeter. This will repel both insects and banana spiders. However, you should also be aware that chemicals within some insecticides can pose threats to the environment, people, and pets. Remember this and be careful when you are using insecticides.

9. Call a Professional

If you don’t want to worry about getting rid of banana spiders yourself or the infestation is getting out of control, you should seek professional help. 

Professional pest control companies can apply insecticide in your garden and around your home to eliminate spiders and other pests. 

They can also perform routing gap and entry fillers to make your home less susceptible to banana spiders and other insects. 

If your area is susceptible to banana spiders, you can purchase a prevention plan which will help you prevent banana spiders from returning. 

How To Get Rid of Banana Spiders Naturally

1. Use Citrus Around Your Yard.

Banana spiders loathe citrus, and it’s a great natural product that will help you get rid of these spiders. 

You can use a variety of different citrus options to get rid of banana spiders. A few options you can consider includes: 

  • Bowl of cut citrus fruit 
  • Citrus plants around your home 
  • Use citrus essential oil around your yard.

Another option includes mixing two newly squeezed lemons with two cups of water and a half cup of white vinegar. Put this solution within a bottle and then spray it in places where you have noticed the presence of banana spiders.

2. Vinegar

White vinegar can be used as an awesome spray to repel banana spiders. All you have to do for this spray is mix equal portions of water and vinegar. Then, put the mixture within a spray bottle. Be sure to apply this mixture around outdoor eaves, entry and exit places, window sills, and surrounding your home.

This is a great way to put off banana spiders (without killing them) along with other annoying insects.

3. Essential Oils

Some of the best essential oils to use as spider repellent include the following: 

  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Citrus oil
  • Cedarwood oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Citronella oil

Concoct your own spray to repel banana spiders by blending two cups of water and ten oil drops within a spray bottle. Afterwards, be sure to spray this repellant onto the areas in which you’re looking to repel banana spiders. 

There’s another option. This option entails letting cotton balls absorb your essential oil spider repellent. After this, you should set the soaked cotton balls near the entry and exit areas of your home. 

This will help repel banana spiders, along with the other following pests: 

  • Bats
  • Mice 
  • Earwigs
  • Roaches
  • Ants
  • Stinkbugs

4. Apply Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring rock. DE is safe for humans and other large animals but deadly to small insects such as spiders.

The DE will destroy their exoskeleton and cause them to dehydrate.

You can apply a DE slurry around the exterior of your home and to your garden.

A DE slurry involves mixing DE with water and using a pressurized spray to apply it to your yard and around your home.

Once the DE dries, any insects that contact it will begin to feel the effects.

DE causes a slow death, but over time, with reapplication, you can eliminate entire insect populations.

For DE to remain effective, it must stay dry after application. If you have automatic sprinklers or it rains, you should reapply the solution.

Remember, when applying this to your yard, it will inadvertently kill other small insects with exoskeletons as well.

One huge benefit is that DE is non-toxic. It’s safe to use around humans, children, and in gardens without posing any serious dangers.

Should I Kill a Banana Spider?

No, you shouldn’t kill banana spiders unless they are inside your home or there is a large infestation.

Most banana spiders are relatively harmless and are beneficial to gardens. You should only kill banana spiders if they are inside your home or are living near your home.

Are Banana Spiders Beneficial?

Yes, banana spiders are beneficial to gardens. These spiders are predatorial, which means they will feed on other destructive garden pests.

Since females banana spiders are large they can eat nearly any insect.

Juvenile banana spiders and adult banana spiders are each predaceous arachnids. They’re beneficial for eating insects that fly, along with farm insects and garden insects.

Can a Banana Spider Kill a Human?

Of all five banana spider species, one is fatal. The Brazilian wandering spiders are the species that can kill a human. They are also known as armed spiders.

Brazilian wandering spiders are very venemous. A bite from them can take the life of a human, particularly a child’s life. With that said, antivenin can reduce the probability of a person dying.

Types of Banana Spiders

Five different spiders are commonly referred to as banana spiders. It’s a good idea for you to be aware of the following arachnids:

  1. Brazilian wandering spider (Phoneutria)
  2. Hunting spider (Cupiennius)
  3. Hawaiian garden spider (Argiope appensa)
  4. Golden silk orb weaver (Tricho Nephila clavipes)

1. Brazilian wandering spider

  • Other aliases: Huntsman spider, armed spider, banana spider
  • Level of venom: Very High
  • Range: Northern South America and Central America
  • Size: 5.1 to 7.1-inch legs; 0.67 to 1.89 inches in length of the body 
  • Features: Highly venemous poison which can be deadly to people. 

Brazilian-wandering spider banana

Phoneutria are long-legged, large, hairy, and brown. They go after prey during the nighttime, rather than weaving intricate webs. A dark stripe can be seen on their forelegs while fine hair rests on their appendages close to their mouths. A red color can also be seen on parts of their mouths. Bites from Phoneutria can kill children and are extremely noxious to adult humans. 

2. Hunting Spider

  • Other aliases: Red-faced banana spider
  • Level of venom: Moderate, similar to being stung by a bee
  • Distribution: Central America and South America 
  • Size: 0.35 inches to 1.6 inches in body length
  • Features: Hairs of a bright red color on mouthparts; regularly confused as Phoneutria spider
 

What does a Cupiennius banana spider look like?

Cupiennius genus typically have slim, long legs with large bodies that are furry and brown. The mouthparts with red hairs help tell the Cupiennius genus from other sorts. 

Cupiennius spiders are usually found on bananas. Workers in different nations generally find them on shipments of bananas being imported. Another common name for Cupiennius spiders is huntsman spiders. This is due to their habit of actively hunting prey, rather than weaving webs. 

3. Hawaiian garden spider

  • Other aliases: banana spider, orb-weaving spider
  • Level of venom: Not hurtful to people
  • Distribution: Hawaii, Pacific Ocean, New Guinea, Australia Taiwan, Indonesia, and New Caledonia
  • Size: 0.75 to 2.5 inches long in both leg and body size 
  • Feature: Zig-zag patterns on webs
 

What does a Hawaiian garden banana spider look like?

Male spiders are brown-colored and small. Female spiders are bigger with the colors black and yellow. Their bodies also mirror the form of the crown of a king.

Hawaiian garden spiders generally aren’t found outside of the Pacific Ocean islands. These arachnids also ensure the stability of their webs by crafting a unique design that is zig-zagged. Hawaiian garden spiders are only noxious to bugs. If you see them in your garden, leave them be. They are predators for insects that consume flowers and plants. 

4. Golden silk-orb weaver

  • Other aliases: Banana spider
  • Level of venom: Moderate, similar to getting a bee sting
  • Range: Central America, South America, and North America
  • Size: 0.31 to 2 inches in body length
  • Features: Legs covered with clusters of dark hair  

 

What does a Trichonephila clavipes banana spider look like?

Trichonephila clavipes banana spiders are dark, long, and their bodies are not as yellow as Nephilas. 

Despite its external appearance that may seem intimidating, this banana spider isn’t vicious. This arachnid is only known to bite if it’s treated callously. Even in cases when this spider bites, the venom only leads to redness in the affected area.

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