Dangerous Australian Insects

Although spiders are not insects, they have been included in this list.


The common house fly can carry as much as six million bacteria on its feet. They can spread many deadly diseases to humans.


In Australia, mosquitoes can spread diseases such as encephalitis, dengue fever and Ross River fever.

European Honeybee

The painful sting results in localised pain and swelling, however many people can have an allergic reaction.


Some ants can cause a painful sting, and others can spit formic acid into a wound from a bite. People may have an allergic reaction to the bite or sting.


Wasps can cause a painful sting and local pain and swelling. People with an allergic reaction can have more severe complications.

Paralysis Tick (Ixodes holocyclus)

Found on the east coast of Australia, usually in bushland. The tick can attach itself to humans, injecting venom that is produced in its salivary glands. Local numbness occurs around the site of attachment. This can be fatal to babies and small to medium sized animals.

Red Back Spider

According to one study carried out, the most common activity humans do to get bitten by a red back spider was to put on shoes! This accounted for 28% of all bites, where a spider has crawled into a shoe unknowing to the owner!. In the same study, the bite is recorded to be the most painful out of cupboard spiders/huntsman spiders/wolf spiders/white-tail spiders/mouse spiders and trapdoor spiders. It also had a duration of pain of 36 hours, the second longest duration was 6 hours of the cupboard spider (Isbister & White, 2004).

Trapdoor Spider

42% of all trapdoor spider bites (in one particular study) have happened whilst in the garden (Isbister & White, 2004).

Sydney Funnel-web Spider


Common Misconceptions

White-tail Spiders have popped in and out of the media over the years, with reports of nectrotic arachnidism (which can be a mild skin disorder, or in extreme cases require skin grafting of large areas of skin).

After 130 confirmed white-tail bites there were no cases of necrotic ulcers, only pain from the bite and a red mark lasting less than 24 hours (Ibid)


Geoffrey K. Isbister & Julian White, 2004. Clinicial consequences of spider bites: recent advances in our understanding, Toxicon. Volume 43. Issue 5. April, 2004. p. 479

Ibid, p. 486.