Are Orb Weaver Spiders Poisonous or Dangerous?

Written by Taiwo Victor
Updated: September 24, 2023
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Key Points:

  • There are about 3,000 orb weaver spider species around the world and while they have mild venom, they are not poisonous to humans.
  • Rather than fight back against threats or predators, these spiders prefer to run away and hide.
  • When highly provoked, orb weavers can bite. However, the bite will feel like only a mild bee sting, unless it triggers an allergic reaction, which can lead to nausea and dizziness.

The world of spiders is a little confusing to follow because most of them share the same common names. But when it comes to determining if orb weaver spiders are poisonous or dangerous, there is only one answer. 

There are approximately 3,000 orb weaver spider species across the globe, but none of them pose any threat or harm to humans. Orb weavers are also not known to be aggressive spiders and would rather run away than fight. However, when highly provoked, they can bite. Orb weaver bites are nothing to worry about, though. Although venomous, orb weaver spider bites will feel like only a mild bee sting and will only cause some symptoms if the bitten person is allergic to their venom.

Do Orb Weaver Spiders Bite?

Orb Weaver (Araneus diadematus) sitting in a spider web.

Orb weaver spiders are not aggressive and are typically reluctant to bite.

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Orb weaver spiders are often reluctant to bite. They are not aggressive arachnids and would instead run away and hide than fight back against threats or predators. However, when cornered, they can resort to biting. Orb weavers possess venom, but there is nothing to worry about their bite. While they can inject venom to your skin, it isn’t potent enough to cause severe symptoms and complications. The most common results of an orb-weaver’s bite are immediate pain, itchy welts, numbness, and mild swelling. However, for people allergic to its venom, orb-weaver spider bites can trigger allergic reactions such as nausea and dizziness.

Orb weavers are also called banana spiders or yellow garden spiders, but both names represent other spider species that are also harmless. Orb-weaver spiders have tiny fangs from which they deliver their mild venom. Like most spider species, orb weaver spiders catch their prey and deliver their venom using their little fangs. The orb weaver’s venom contains enough neurotoxin to kill small prey such as insectsfliesmosquitoswaspsmoths, and beetles. Once injected, the neurotoxic venom interrupts the brain’s connection to the rest of the body, which leads to paralysis. 

Most orb weaver spiders weave their webs away from the usual places humans go to, so it would be unusual to encounter them everywhere. Orb weavers rarely bite, but accidentally running into their webs and disturbing them while they are there can cause them to bite. These arachnids are not aggressive and would instead escape, but they can bite as a last resort when they have nowhere else to go. 

Are Orb Weaver Spiders Dangerous to Humans?

Spiny orb weaver spider sitting on a leaf.

Of the 3,000 species of orb weavers known, none is dangerous to humans.


None of the 3,000 species of orb weaver spiders is dangerous to humans. Orb weavers are not known to be aggressive either and are often reluctant to bite. Yet, they can bite in self-defense or when extremely provoked, leaving only shallow puncture marks and mild pain. If you are a healthy individual, there is nothing to worry about. Yet, if you have allergies or a history of allergy to venom, you may be vulnerable to the orb weaver’s venom and may develop other symptoms or complications. 

The orb weaver spider’s bite does not hurt too much. It only feels like a faint bee sting and will not leave long-lasting effects. Bites from an orb weaver will only exhibit shallow puncture wounds because their fangs are not long enough to penetrate the skin deeply. Most people do not experience anything aside from immediate pain after an orb weaver bite, while some report experiencing mild, localized pain, numbness, and mild swelling. People who are more susceptible to mild neurotoxic venom can experience dizziness and nausea. If this happens, they might need prompt medical attention. 

Orb weaver spiders are not considered a threat to humans. Even though they possess venom in their bites, their venom rarely affects humans. The orb weaver spider’s venom is so mild that it can only be effective on smaller prey. Larger prey such as mammals and humans are not susceptible to the orb weaver’s venom.

Are Orb Weaver Spiders Poisonous?

Beautiful golden orb weaver spider in the forest.

Although orb weaver spiders have mild venom, they are not poisonous to humans.


Orb weaver spiders are not poisonous. They may contain mild venom, but it isn’t harmful to humans or even large animals. The orb weaver’s bite is like a bee sting in pain but has a more negligible effect. Most spider bites are feared because of their venom, but of approximately 3,000 species of spiders found in North America, only four are venomous, and none is poisonous. Unlike the most feared black widow and brown recluse, orb weaver spiders do not inject enough venom to cause severe complications or even death. 

Unlike amphibians and some reptiles with unique poisonous coatings as self-defense mechanisms, orb weaver spiders are not known to cause symptoms when touched or accidentally ingested. 

Are Orb Weaver Spiders Poisonous to Dogs?

While orb weaver spiders contain venom, the venom is harmless to humans and pets because it is mild. Orb weaver spiders are not poisonous to dogs and other pet animals. Unless your dog tries to eat an orb weaver, it will not bite. However, if the dog gets bitten, the orb weaver’s bite still won’t be enough to hurt your dog. If your dog tries to eat the orb weaver, the spider might bite the dog inside its mouth but wouldn’t cause any severe complications either. Orb weaver spiders are also not poisonous when ingested, but it is still better to have your dog checked after an orb weaver ingestion. Since these arachnids do not frequently create webs in locations often wandered by people and pets, this is an event that would happen rarely.

Are Orb Weavers Helpful?

We have established that orb-weaving spiders are not harmful to humans, but are they helpful? Even if they can’t hurt you, shouldn’t you still get a broom and knock down their webs to keep things tidy?

No! Orb weavers are deemed significant to humans in controlling pests around homes and gardens. Since orb weavers consume pesky insects like mosquitoes, flies, and beetles that often cause problems to humans and plants, they are beneficial to keep around. 

The zig-zag pattern in the web provides the structural strength needed to also catch larger insects like bees, wasps, and grasshoppers. Orb-weavers will even eat black widow spiders! So letting the orb-weavers spin their webs in your garden and around the outside of your home helps protect your plants and allows you to be freer of annoying insects while co-existing with a beneficial spider.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Alex Coan/

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About the Author

For six years, I have worked as a professional writer and editor for books, blogs, and websites, with a particular focus on animals, tech, and finance. When I'm not working, I enjoy playing video games with friends.

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