How Many People Die Each Year From Spider Bites? The Answer May Shock You.
About 6. That's it.
Ask the average person about spider bites in the United States and there is likely to be a general consensus that dying from poisonous spiders is a very real, legitimate concern. From brown recluse spiders to black widows, poisonous spiders do indeed exist, and Pest Control Everything has taken a close look at occurrences of deadly spider bites in the United States over the past decade or so in an effort to determine just how real of a concern spiders should be. So do people in the U.S. actually die from spider bites with any level of consistency?
For the most part, the answer is no. A recent 2018 study released in Wilderness & Environmental Medicine documented an aggregation of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER) database found that from 2008-2015, an average of just 6 people die each year in the United States from spider bites. With a population of a hair over 327 million, that puts your chances of dying from a spider bite somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 in 50 million.
All told, the study found that of the 1,610 animal-related fatalities during this time, about 57% of those deaths resulted from encounter with non-venomous animals, and according to Jared A. Forrester, MD, Department of Surgery, Stanford University, "most deaths [were] not actually due to wild animals like mountain lions, wolves, bears, sharks, etc., but [were] a result of deadly encounters with farm animals, anaphylaxis from bees, wasps, or hornet stings, and dog attacks." While only 3% of the total deaths were attributed to spider bites, about 30% were a result of encounters with stinging pests such as bees, wasps, and or hornets...meaning people in the U.S. are ten times more likely to die from the sting of a bee or wasp than they are to die from a spider bite.
So what does this data tell us? On the one hand, death by spider bite in the United States is quite rare. You're about 6 times more likely to die at the hands of a dog and 10 times more likely to die from a bee or wasp than you are to die from a spider bite. On the other hand, the law of averages tells us that anything will happen that can...and we should expect 6 of us to die this year from a spider bite. So when in proximity to a poisonous spider population, it's always best to exercise caution and seek the services of a professional spider exterminator.