Research shows that so-called spider bites are not actually spider bites, reports LiveScience. Instead, the bites are likely caused by fleas, bedbugs, allergies or poison ivy, or they’re skin reactions to chemicals or infections.
One study found that of 182 Southern California patients seeking treatment for spider bites, only 3.8 percent had actual spider bites, while 85.7 percent had infections.
Arachnologist Chris Buddle of McGill University told LiveScience that in the 20 years he’d been handling spiders, he’s never been bitten. “They don’t want to bite you,” he said. They’re more frightened of us than we are of them. If they do attack, he continued, they mostly just move their fangs back and forth against the skin without piercing the flesh.
And the ones who are dangerous to humans — the widow group and the recluse group — bite people infrequently. Buddle said spiders should be thought of as “our friends” because they’re good at killing the insects that are actually likely to bite humans.