Deadly redback spiders head out in force

Estelle Griepink

Redback spiders are popping up in gardens and garages across Melbourne, with weather conditions just right for the deadly pests.

A bite from the female of the species can cause heart and lung failure, as well as excruciating pain.

Michael Simpson was cleaning his garage when he had an unlucky encounter with a redback.

Michael Simpson was bitten by a redback while cleaning his garage. Photo: 7 News

"I felt a tickle on the back of my neck. I shook my collar, felt a tickle again, so I hit it, by that stage it had bitten," Mr Simpson said.

"It stung like hell."

In recent weeks, pest controllers have been inundated with calls from Melbournians who have spotted the spiders in their homes and gardens.

Around 300 people are bitten every year in Australia.

According to experts, the hot weather has made them come out in force.

“This time of the year, we've got lovely blue skies, we've got some humidity and we had some rain a few days ago, so there's plenty of food for the spiders to eat," Simon Dixon from Exopest said.

"We've had the heat and the moisture, we've had a lot of rain in the last week, so in the next couple of weeks, there'll be a lot more spiders, so be aware and be cautious," he said.

Redbacks are often found in Melbourne's leafy suburbs. Photo: 7 News

"Each female lays 250 eggs, so at one time you'll see 250 little spiders around the web."

Redbacks live in most people's gardens, particularly in Melbourne's leafy outer suburbs, but experts said they should not be feared.

"Redbacks are part of the natural ecosystem, they've become part of our urban ecosystem…They're very good for pest control,” Patrick Honan from Museum Victoria said.

"Apart from being careful about not being bitten, there is no reason we can't live with them".

Experts say redbacks are very good for pest control. Photo: 7 News

While a bite from one of these could land you in hospital, the good news is no one has died from a redback spider bite since 1956, when anti-venom was introduced.

The bites are still quite serious but are quite easily treated.

"If you do get bitten by a spider don't panic, always collect the spider that bit you if you can find it, and put a cold compress on the spider bite," Mr Dixon said.