Spider Bites: Hobo or Brown Recluse?

There’s a common myth among Pacific Northwest residents about spider bites, and it’s this: Many venomous spider bites come from the nasty, dangerous brown recluse.

Recent studies, however, have proven that brown recluse spiders are extremely rare in Oregon and Washington and aren’t to be blamed for the majority of bites. The real culprit? The hobo spider.

The Reality

According to research done by many different organizations, including Washington State University and a number of pest management professionals, almost all bites attributed to brown recluses actually came from hobo spiders.

Why The Mistake?

The main reason most bites are misdiagnosed is because most diagnostic references physicians use to identify spider bites offer only two options: black widow and brown recluse. Since most all spider bite symptoms are similar – localized tissue deterioration, ulceration, complications in the nervous system – it’s difficult to determine just what kind of spider caused the bite. Only recently have hobo spiders – which are common in the Pacific Northwest and are also quite venomous – been included in diagnostic references.

How To Tell The Difference

The only surefire way to determine whether you have a hobo spider is to examine the pest through a microscope. Concerned homeowners who suspect a hobo spider infestation can bring a spider sample to Western Exterminator, whose entomologists will ID it at no cost.

If you believe you have been bitten by one, keep the area elevated and apply ice or cold packs to reduce inflammation. If the reaction worsens, seek medical attention. Once your bite has been treated, contact a pest management professional immediately. A Portland pest control company can accurately determine what type of spiders you have and how to get rid of them.

Mr. Little

He’s represented Western for nearly a century. But he’s no old fogey. Follow Mr. Little’s blog for pest tips and facts!

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