Hobo spiders, once found almost exclusively in Europe, have made their way to North America. In recent years, they’ve been spotted in Utah, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. Some claim they’ve seen the aggressive hobo spider in Colorado, although this has yet to be confirmed.
What is a hobo spider? What makes them dangerous enough to make the CDC’s list of potential sources of poison?
We’re going to take a look at everything there is to know about the hobo spider, from their habits and appearance to how you can get rid of them.
Keep reading for our guide to hobo spiders and what to do if you think you may have one of these unfriendly creatures living in your home.
What Is a Hobo Spider?
It is believed that the dreaded hobo spider made its way to America by way of a Seattle port, hitching a ride on goods coming in from Europe. Its scientific name is “Tegenaria agrestis” and you may also hear people refer to it as the funnel weaver spider because of its unusually shaped webs.
The hobo spider is one of only a handful of spiders in North America that possesses a venomous bite that can become medically significant. (Believe it or not, a lot of those creepy crawlers living in your home aren’t as dangerous to humans as they are creepy. For example, the spider known as the “daddy long legs” possesses one of the most venomous bites on earth, but can only cause harm to very small prey, making them safe for humans to be around.)
What Makes Hobo Spider Bites Dangerous?
There was a time when the brown recluse was typically considered to be the most dangerous spider in America and specifically the Pacific Northwest. Now, hobo spiders have stepped in and usurped the title of most dangerous spider you might encounter in your Pacific Northwest home. What gives them this dangerous reputation?
The reality is that hobo spider bites are not considered fatal. However, they can cause some unpleasant side effects, including skin lesions, headaches, nausea, fatigue, and blisters.
Hobo spider bites often start out small, red, and raised, somewhat like a mosquito bite in appearance. Over time, the sight of the bite may become blister-like, and on rare occasions, that blister can open to reveal a slow-healing lesion. Not everyone who is bit by a hobo spider will experience side effects, but it is still recommended that you seek medical attention if you suspect you’ve been bitten by a hobo spider.
You’re most at risk of getting bitten by a hobo spider between June and October, when male hobo spiders are looking for a mate. This is when the hobo spider is at its most aggressive.
Truth be told, a hobo spider is not going to walk about and bite you for no reason. They’re going to bite you if they feel threatened, which usually requires that you are touching them and even squishing them.
What Does a Hobo Spider Look Like?
Hobo spiders bear many similarities to other spiders and typically, their presence must be verified by an expert. However, let’s take a look at some of the features of hobo spiders.
Female hobo spiders tend to be a bit bigger than their male counterparts, although it is the male hobo spider who is more likely to bite. Both male and female hobo spiders are typically brown or rust-colored and their color is fairly consistent throughout. A herringbone pattern can be found on their backs and their legs, while hairy in appearance, or on the smooth side.
(It’s worth noting that a lot of the spiders that are mistaken for hobo spiders are larger and have striped legs. Hobo spiders, on the other hand, have solid-colored legs.)
Where Do Hobo Spiders Tend to Dwell?
Although hobo spiders are sometimes called aggressive house spiders, they prefer to be outside. In fact, they got their nickname because they were so often found near train tracks, although they also enjoy building their webs on plant life and low-to-the-ground manmade structures.
Hobo spiders are not climbers and they build their non-sticky, funnel-shaped webs on the ground. When any prey wanders into their webs, hobo spiders rush out of hiding and attack quickly, since their prey isn’t truly trapped. The most noticeable sign that you have a hobo spider or two living in or around your house is to come across one of these funnel-shaped webs somewhere on the ground.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Hobo Spiders In Your Home?
As we mentioned earlier, hobo spiders often bear close resemblances to other spiders that aren’t quite as worrisome. Properly identifying a hobo spider is something that takes years of experience.
If you suspect that you have hobo spiders in your home, contact a professional who has experience with hobo spiders. Not only are they hard to identify, but they’re not always the easiest to eradicate. Squishing them is inviting an unpleasant bite and most commercial bug bombs that you can buy at the store aren’t going to knock out this pesky arachnid.
Keep an Eye Out for Hobo Spiders
You asked, “What is a hobo spider?” and we answered. We hope that our guide filled you in on everything you need to know about these potentially aggressive and dangerous critters. Make sure that you call a professional any time you think you have a hobo spider or two on your hands.
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