Araneus marmoreus, or pumpkin spiders, as they are commonly called, are not poisonous to people, as their venom is not created to harm people, and it’s not potent enough to do so either.
Pumpkin spiders instead rely on their web-creating techniques for capturing and killing their prey. They’ll create large, elaborate webs all over a garden and where they find the opportunity to capture their prey. After that, they’ll paralyze or kill their target with their venom, which is only strong enough to kill the small prey.
These spiders tend to avoid human contact whenever possible. And even though they do carry venom and might occasionally bite you if you come too close, the bite of this spider is not likely to cause major damage.
Are Pumpkin Spiders Poisonous?
Pumpkin spiders, or the Araneus marmoreus, are not poisonous to humans.
When we talk about pumpkin spiders, the vast majority of people think about the Araneus marmoreus species of spiders. That’s mainly thanks to their orange-yellow appearance and a large abdomen that looks exactly like a pumpkin. This spider is also sometimes called the marbled orb weaver.
These spiders tend to live in gardens, lawns, agricultural fields, and other outdoor places where they can catch insects. They’ll create large-scale webs that will span across several feet, giving the spider a large field of control where it will be able to capture its prey.
For getting food, pumpkin spiders will rely on their orb-weaving capabilities instead of their venom. They go after smaller insects of up to 4mm. As the insect gets caught in the web, it will be alarmed and the spider will approach the target and kill it with its venom. Because it catches smaller targets, the venom doesn’t have to be particularly potent.
Occasionally, pumpkin spiders will feel threatened by humans that might approach their habitat – sometimes inadvertently. That’s when they might bite a human and the bite will not do significant damage to a human. A bite from the pumpkin spider might result in minor symptoms.
If you’re worried about a pumpkin spider in your garden, then it’s best not to be – in fact, they’re mostly welcome because they’re seen as a form of pest and insect control while also being relatively harmless to humans.
What Happens if a Pumpkin Spider Bites You?
If a pumpkin spider bites you, you might experience mild symptoms such as:
- Skin irritation
- Pain or tenderness in the area of the bite
- Swelling or redness of the skin
- Other minor local symptoms
As you may see, the bite of this spider should not result in serious or life-threatening symptoms. In fact, the venom that pumpkin spiders carry is not nearly potent enough to cause serious damage to humans, and the bite will result only in minor symptoms that will resolve in a matter of a few hours.
As already mentioned, pumpkin spiders tend to rely on other strategies for killing other animals instead of relying on their venom. They’ll use their webs and place them strategically over a field or a garden so that if an insect gets caught inside the web, the spider will be immediately alerted.
Once the insect is caught inside, the pumpkin spider will administer its venom to the insect. And because the spider focuses on smaller insects, the venom is not potent enough to do significant damage to humans.
If we were to compare a pumpkin spider’s bite to the bites of other insects, we could say that it would be pretty close to a bite of a wasp. Unless you’re allergic to spider or insect bites, you should not see or experience any major or life-threatening symptoms.
But if you are allergic, you might experience nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, faster heart rate, tongue swelling, and other similar symptoms. If that happens, you should call the ambulance as soon as possible to help you resolve the symptoms of anaphylactic shock that comes as a result of the bite.
Where do you find Pumpkin Spiders?
A pumpkin spider lives in gardens and other outdoor areas, so you might be able to spot them in some of these areas quite easily.
Normally, you’ll find them in bushes and on leaves, waiting for their prey to get caught inside a web. Most of the time, they’ll keep waiting and hide from other animals, because they’re sometimes preyed on by other animals such as spider wasps, for instance.
You might also be able to see them in other agricultural fields, especially in larger fields where they have the opportunity to create large-scale webs. That’s why many farmers and gardeners welcome the pumpkin spider because it is seen as an effective form of pest and insect control in those fields.
As for the location of the bite, many pumpkin spiders tend to bite if you reach your hand too close to them or near them – so bites on hands and also bites on legs are the most common, but they also might attack other body parts if they feel threatened.
At this point, we should mention that pumpkin spiders don’t attack humans on their own. They will only do so if they feel threatened or cornered, or if you try to handle them. You might do that without knowing you’re touching them, which can result in some bites from the spider which might cause some discomfort.
The bottom line is that you should not be worried too much about pumpkin spiders and their bites, because they’re not poisonous to humans. Unless you are allergic to spider and insect bites, that is.
Pumpkin spiders are generally found in gardens and other outdoor areas. They create large webs to capture their prey, and they’ll focus on smaller insects.
All this means that it’s highly unlikely that a pumpkin spider will ever bite you – and even if it does, its bite should not cause significant damage. In the majority of cases, a pumpkin spider bite will result in minor irritation or pain, which should go away quite quickly.