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Hobo Spider


Summary: The Hobo Spider inhabits Central and Western Europe and was brought over to the Northwest United States in the 1930s. The Hobo spider spins funnel shaped webs and is known to come inside homes during the late summer or early fall. Its bite is venomous.

The Hobo spider is one of the most dangerous spiders living in the United States, after the Black Widow spider, and the Brown Recluse spider. The habitat of the Hobo spider includes Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. It was brought to the United States sometime during the early 1930s, probably to a Seattle shipping port where egg cases were attached to wooden crates, which is a more likely scenario than live spiders making the journey from Europe.

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The Hobo spider has a 1/3”-2/3” body size and is 2/3”-2” in size including the legs. Its body is brown and not very hairy. It has smooth, brown legs that are not striped or patterned. The male has golf-club shaped antennae on its head, which are actually the spider's sex organ. The spider has a herringbone pattern on the topside of its abdomen. It is nocturnal and lives in moderate climates with adequate moisture.

The Hobo is dangerous because it lives in places where it often comes into contact with humans, and because its bite can be very painful and have long lasting side effects. The Hobo spider bite is rarely, if ever, deadly. Sometimes the bite will not heal properly due to infection, or the dying off of cells from oxygen deprivation caused by the injected toxin. If skin cells die, also known as necrosis, then medical attention is needed. Other symptom from a Hobo bite might include headache, nausea, fatigue, temporary memory loss, super human strength, and vision impairment. Ok, just kidding about the super human strength part.

The Hobo's bite is often blamed on the Brown Recluse, but the Hobo bite does not usually have as severe effects as its Recluse counterpart. If you get a headache don't use aspirin because this may prolong the bleeding. Ice packs and heat packs should also not be used because they can cause increased tissue damage. Try to catch the spider that bit you and take it with you for identification if you feel that you need to go to the hospital.

Sometimes knowing the spider's gender and age will help determine how serious the effects of the bite will be. Don't scratch the bites, and observe them regularly and seek medical attention if signs of infection appear. Some rare complications from Hobo bites can be bone marrow failure and uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea, which can result in death. This is very unlikely, but be aware that there is a risk of a condition that might need medical attention.

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These spiders generally live outdoors under rocks or other debris, but many males will wander inside from the months of July to September. This is when they go off in search of a mate. The males will usually die after the mating season and their numbers decline significantly by the beginning of October.

Hobo spider's diet consists of cockroaches, houseflies, earwigs, silverfish, carpet beetles, and other pests that might be found indoors. The Hobos are not good climbers, so usually can be found at ground level. It builds a funnel shaped web that is also close to the ground. The wide opening of the web has trip wires strung above it used to trip up insects flying above the web causing them to fall into the web. The web is not sticky, so the Hobo spider usually stays in the narrow part of its web and waits for something to fall into it so it can quickly strike and feed.

It is difficult to prevent the spiders from entering a home when the house is in a heavily infested area. It might help to remove large stones or lawn ornaments that might provide the spiders with a hiding place. Wear gloves and long sleeved pants and shirts when turning over objects that might have spiders hiding under them. Many spider bites occur when the spiders are disturbed as a hand invades their privacy.

The Hobo spider is sometimes called the Aggressive House spider, but this name is inaccurate because the Hobos only attack when they feel threatened or they are biting to subdue food. The Aggressive House Spider label comes from a distortion of its scientific name which is Tegenaria agresti. This actually translates to “mat weaver of the field”, so don't believe the myths that the Hobo hunts down human victims to bite. The Hobos have very poor vision, so if one runs towards you rather than away from you, blame it on bad eyesight.

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Hobo range

Try to secure spaces where the Hobo might make its way indoors. Seal up cracks in the foundation using a product like Xcluder and make sure there are no holes in screen doors or windows. You might also want to screen in drier vents. Pesticides are often unsuccessful at preventing Hobos from coming inside because pesticides are more likely to kill spider species that compete with or feed on the Hobo Spider. Orb Weavers, Cob Web spiders, and Jumping spiders have all been known to feed on the Hobo and these “good guys” might be killed by pesticides sprayed in the house, allowing the Hobo free range.

The Hobo Spider is probably the least well known of the three species of spider living in the United States that can be harmful to human health. The Black Widow and Brown Recluse might have a more severe bite than the Hobo, but the Hobo Spider identification characteristics should also be more widely recognized as the spider can be dangerous.

photo credit: <a href="JeremyHallhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/jeremyhall/3946155953/">JeremyHall</a> via <a href="photopinhttp://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="cchttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="prbhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/p-r-b/723861742/">prb</a> via <a href="photopinhttp://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="cchttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="backpackphotographyhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/backpackphotography/1440545147/">backpackphotography</a> via <a href="photopinhttp://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="cchttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/">cc</a>





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Comments

sterling mclavey
14 May 2009, 12:31
wow! great information, thanks alot. i will probably set off the bug bomb out in the garage now and kill some flies. i had originally bought it for the house but
haven't used it because i have two young daughters.
we moved to the country and found every type of spider imaginable including the darn black widow in the kitchen! I think i'm on the right track by clearing the perimeter of the house and sealing every crack i find, but i think i have an existing habitat in the attic. if you have any suggestions and time, any help would be appreciated. if not i'll keep trolling your site anyhow. thanks, sterling of central wa. state
audrina
30 May 2009, 02:40
I was once about to leave the house, when i grabbed the shoe I wanted to put down, accidentally knocked it aside, and an extremely large hobo spider crawled right out. it was frightening, to say the least. I do live in southern washington, and have heard many stories of venomous spiders. I know a man who could have had some serious problems with his leg after an incident with a brown recluse. It makes me think about moving.
Hollyann
01 Sep 2009, 12:24
my sister lives in otis orchads wa and she has them in her place. my stepdad is 46 and never never ever seen a hobo spider in portland oregon.
BRIAN
28 Nov 2009, 02:02
I LIVE IN WISCONSON THEY ARE NOT HERE
En0cH
22 Sep 2010, 17:27
We have them all over here in the Stanwood/Arlington area. i just had a new home put in on a piece of land here and within 6 months i had a hobo spider in every nook and cranny. i don't usually kill spiders or snakes based on the factor many of which are not poisonous here in Washington and they are more beneficial then harmful. but the hobo spider reminds me of the spiders back home in N.C., The Brown Recluse. i have take the appropriate steps to identifying these "Hobo spiders" and eliminating them. problem is seems to be more of them then my bottles of spider killer!!! =/
Richie
29 Sep 2010, 01:45
Uhh I think i found one but not sure do they live in North Dakota
Ask the Exterminator
30 Sep 2010, 23:44
Yes!
jason
09 Oct 2010, 18:31
I live in Portland, Or. Found a large male in my house several weeks ago. Just got bit two days ago. Not a severe reaction. Some necrosis, nausea, muscle soreness, diarreah and sore throat. Its looking a bit better today. Do these spiders come in "packs?" If I have killed one and been bit by another is it likely there are several in my home?
Ask the Exterminator
11 Oct 2010, 14:20
They don't live in "packs". At certain times during the year male hobo spiders can be see out in the open search for a mate. The hobo spider is not aggressive by nature and will generally avoid humans. But, if a hobo spider is tending to its eggsac it tends to become aggressive and may attack a human.
trish
27 Feb 2011, 06:56
I just moved to fairchild afb. And read about spiders and while I'm trying to sleep on my air mattress right now I'm so freaking out! We just moved into newly renvoted home I truely hope I can survive my phobe of these spiders! Do you think it could even be living in my home right now??
harold
27 Feb 2011, 10:45
I just killed one and im starting to regret it. Do they make friends????
Eubanks
19 Mar 2011, 13:30
I live in Clinton Township Michigan. There is no large rocks or debris in my yard just a few small rocks. My gf got bite 3 timess by a Male Hobo Spider. We took her to the doctor and she got some antibiotics. We have caught the spider and seeing a skin doctor soon. I just want to know if theres any chance her life could be in danger and if we should be taking this more seriously then we already are.
FakeName101
23 Mar 2011, 10:38
One thing you forgot AskTheExterminator was that spraying bug spray/any other bug elimination tatic just makes the hobo spider population grow. How? Hobo spiders have adapted to our world and that does include our bug spray. You may think that by spraying bug spray you are getting rid of all spiders and insects. WRONG!! Hobo spiders are basically immune to the bug spray so all your doing is deleting all competition and increasing the food supply because no one other than you is there to take food.
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