Hobo spider

Important facts about hobo spiders

There are a lot of spiders on the western coast of the United States. They all have different quirks and behaviors, but it’s hard for the average property owner to know what all of those quirks are. Thus, we often get calls from frantic homeowners convinced they have tarantulas when they have something else. Sometimes people think they’ve found the brown recluse in their home, but they really haven’t.

The hobo spider is the most commonly confused spider with the brown recluse. They share certain similarities, but they are often unfairly maligned as being dangerous. The debate ranges as to just how dangerous a hobo spider’s bite is. When it comes to their size, behaviors, web, and body colors, they are very different from the brown recluse, too.

If you have noticed too many spiders inside your home or building or if your property is infested with spider webs, contact your local Western Exterminator office. We can find out why spiders are finding your property so attractive and help you get rid of them and other pests.

What does a hobo spider look like?

Hobo spiders

There are different types of hobo spiders, but the ones found in the U.S. tend to be between 7-14 millimeters in length. They are brownish in color, with markings on their backs. This is what often causes confusion with the brown recluse spider. However, they are key differences which can be spotted with the naked eye, including:

  • Lack of colored bands. Hobo spiders are also confused with funnel weaving spiders which are far more likely to bite than they are. Hobo spiders do not have the bands around the leg joints the members of the Agelenidae have.
  • Patterns on the body. While the brown recluse spider is famous for having a brown violin-shaped mark on its back, the hobo spider has chevrons. Usually, the points of the V-shaped markings point toward the head and extend down the back of the arachnid.
  • Light colored stripes on the sternum. Many species of hobo spider also have a lightly colored stripe running down the middle of their sternum area. Other species may also just have lightly colored dots on the rear portion of the sternum.
  • No top stripes. Wolf spiders and other spiders which are often confused with hobo spiders have dark stripes which extend down their backs, from the head down to the rear end.

Other than that, the hobo spider shares the same traits as other spiders. Eight legs, fangs for administering venom to prey, jaws for eating, and eyes grouped together on the head.

Do hobo spiders bite?

The simple answer to this question is yes. Nearly every species of spider, if handled or threatened in some way, will use its fangs to defend itself. The quickness of this attack depends on the species. Some spider species are very ill-tempered and will bite very quickly. For others, it takes some prodding.

In general, the risk of a bite from a hobo spider is very small. They are reclusive, preferring to stay within their funnel-shaped webs. They would much rather run and hide than rear up and bite someone they feel is a threat. Therefore, to avoid a hobo spider bite, don’t handle them.

Hobo spiders may find shelter in discarded clothing or shoes, as well. This would not be their preferred area to hide, but they will. If you live in an area with a large number of hobo spiders, shake out shoes and clothing to make sure you don’t have an unwanted visitor.

Are hobo spider bites dangerous?

Unlike the brown recluse spider, which has the potential to bring with it some health risks, the hobo spider bite is usually not dangerous to those who have been bitten. Hobo spiders have gotten a reputation for dangerous bites, but further research has shown this is not very likely. There may be some redness and swelling in the bite area, but the stories of necrosis or rotting flesh are probably from some other spider.

Of course, every person can react to a bite or sting from a pest differently. If a person has a sensitivity to bee stings, they may also have a sensitivity to other bites or stings. If you are bitten by a hobo spider and you experience any kind of serious or alarming symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. 

hobo spiders funnel web

What do hobo spider webs look like?

One of the things that causes confusion, especially in countries such as Australia, is that hobo spiders build webs shaped like funnels. This causes them to be confused with the much more dangerous, and likely to bite, Sydney funnel-web spider. However, hobo spiders and the Sydney funnel-web look very different from one another.

The hobo spider web is usually a funnel where they hide, folded up in the center. There are sheet webs which extend from the center funnel and the spider can sense when potential prey walk on those tendrils or sheet webs. Hobo spiders are content to sit in the center of their funnel and wait for prey to stumble into it.

Contact Western Exterminator for spider removal

If you have been seeing a lot of spider in and around your home or property, there may be an underlying problem around your home. Spiders, including the hobo spider, will build their webs in places they are likely to find food. Since, as you may know, spiders prefer to feed on insects, you may have another pest problem brewing.

Regardless, spiders and discarded webs can make your property unattractive and messy. A trained professional can determine what species of spider is infesting your home and offer solutions to get rid of the arachnids and the webs. Contact your local Western Exterminator office to get rid of spiders around your property.

Ashley Smith

Ashley is a Digital Content Manager with Rentokil. She loves drinking coffee and spending time with her dogs.

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