What Is A Hobo Spider Look Like?

Hobo Spiders

Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name Tegenaria agrestis

Appearance

Tegenaria agrestis are known as hobo spiders and aggressive house spiders. Because of its common features and color, they can easily be confused with other spiders.

  • Females: The hobo spider female measures between 11 to 14 mm in body length. Its brown legs are solidly colored and exhibit no markings. Females have slightly larger abdomens than males.
  • Males: The males are rarely longer than 11 mm and have a swollen appendage that appears menacing, but is merely the hobo spider’s reproductive organs.
  • Color: Hobo spiders exhibit varying hues of brown and resemble many other common spiders such as wolf spiders and brown recluse spider.
  • Characteristics: They have eight eyes clustered together, but the best characteristics to identify a hobo spider are difficult to see with the naked eye.

How Did I Get Hobo Spiders?

Hobo spiders prefer dark, damp hiding places and often make garages and basements their homes. In late summer and early fall, males of the species may wander into houses in search of a mate. Crevices in bricks and dark areas are ideal nesting spots for the pests. Homeowners may find them in between boxes, under radiators, and behind furniture.

How Serious Are Hobo Spiders?

Although many people believe otherwise, these spiders only bite when provoked or threatened, and are not aggressive. Hobo spiders are extremely protective of their egg sacs and will bite if they perceive a threat to their young. Oftentimes, humans do not realize that they are encroaching upon one. This often occurs when a spider is residing in dark areas. The pest causes little damage aside from the creation of webs.

Are They Dangerous?

Considered dangerous in the past, an initial study of hobo spider venom reported it to be a medical threat that would produce necrotic lesions. Subsequent research has dispelled this, and the spider is no longer considered a medically threatening spider.

Other Pest Problems

Although the hobo spider is known as a formidable predator, it is also a food source for other predators. Many different animals may prey upon them as they do on other spiders. Possible predators can include:

Signs of a Hobo Spider Infestation

Funnel-shaped webs and sighting the spider are signs of their presence.

How Do I Get Rid of Hobo Spiders?

Your local Orkin technician is trained to help manage hobo spiders and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Orkin technician will design a unique program for your situation.

Orkin can provide the right solution to keep hobo spiders in their place. out of your home, or business.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Hobo spiders belong to the Family Agelenidae, a group of spiders known for their funnel-like web construction. These arachnids spin horizontal layers of entangled silk threads that serve as nests, detection devices and traps for potential prey.

What Do They Eat?

Hobo spiders feed on various insects and may also consume other arachnids. Prey that comes into contact with the web triggers vibrations along the silken structure, alerting the spider. After attacking their prey, they will consume it within the narrow end of their funnel-shaped webs.

Webs

Hobo spiders weave webs in the shape of funnels that also serve as mating grounds. Females generally remain within the perimeter of their nests, while males move about in search of potential mating partners.

Reproduction

Males cautiously approach their female counterparts, mating only after finding that the female is receptive, rather than hostile. Females remain in their nests after mating. Males will either die soon afterward or move on.

Where Do They Live?

As a species of house spider, hobo spiders are most commonly found in and around human dwellings and work spaces. They inhabit lesser-used and dark areas of such places, thriving best in humid conditions. Hobo spiders may also be found beneath rocks and among woodpiles outside.

Geographic Range

Native to Europe, the aggressive house spider, or western hobo spider, was accidentally introduced to the Northwestern United States in the 1980s. They are found primarily in:

  • Colorado
  • Montana
  • Oregon
  • Pacific Northwest United States
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

More InformationHobo Spider vs Brown Recluse

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Hobo Spider

What is a Hobo Spider?

Hobo spiders (often called aggressive house spiders) are a member of the funnel-web spider family.

There is a great deal of argument over how dangerous and aggressive these spiders are. Usually, they bite when pressed against the skin. Hobo spiders are more aggressive than many spiders because of bad eyesight and fear of starvation.

They have a common look that causes confusion with other species, from house spiders to the brown recluse. They are poor climbers and often found outside.

Hobo Spiders are Difficult to Identify

A hobo spider is often mistaken for other types because it is the definition of what a spider looks like.

Brown, with darker brown markings on its thorax. It has yellow markings on the abdomen and small soft hairs that lay against the body. These are hard to see without magnification.

Males and females have small palps near their jaw that look like boxing gloves. The palps on the female are smaller but both are tiny enough to go unnoticed by the naked eye.

The easiest identifier is that they lack rings around their legs and other marks that other species often have.

Where Does the Hobo Spider Call Home?

Hobo spiders are native to Europe. Introduced to the American Northwest, they have hitched rides to other areas where they displace native species.

In the Croach® service area, they are found in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Colorado. In these areas, they build webs around train tracks, in fields, and on the ground floor and in basements of homes.

Behavior

A hobo spider builds a funnel-shaped web. The large end is usually anchored between two solid objects. The smaller end normally leads to an escape into a crack or hole.

A male hobo spider will travel during the day to find females, which is most often when humans encounter them. They build webs in low, out of the way, dark places. The web is not sticky but trips their prey, which they attack and eat.

Hobo spiders are most aggressive when their web is disturbed, mistaking many things for prey. They are protective of egg sacs in the web, adding to their image as being prone to attack. They are fast runners.

In most other cases they are skittish and flee contact with larger creatures.

Hobo Spider Bite and Treatment

The determination on the danger of a hobo spider bite is under debate. While most experts no longer believe it is necrotic, there are many incidents where blisters and skin problems have occurred.

In other cases, it has been no worse than a normal spider bite, becoming red and irritated. The reason is currently unknown. One theory is that due to their habit of living in low, dark, dirty places, an infection may be due to bad sanitation rather than venom.

Treatment for Hobo Spider Bite

A healthy adult can treat a hobo spider bite by gently but thoroughly washing the area and applying an ice pack. If blisters appear, pain increases, nausea, or cognitive issues occur you should seek medical attention.

Small children, elderly people, the chronically or currently ill should seek medical attention as they are more susceptible to danger. Due to inconclusive answers about the bite, Croach® recommends seeing a doctor, to be safe, no matter what.

Croach® Spider Control

We customize our spider control to your home. It always includes:

  • Inspection with individual plan and proposal
  • Initial treatment to remove webs and eliminate existing spiders, including interior
  • First regular treatment thirty days later, breaks egg cycle and eliminates remaining spiders
  • Regular treatments to apply product and remove webs, frequency dependent on severity (critical with exterior arachnids like the hobo spider)
  • Complimentary retreats when necessary
  • Interior treatments upon request

Ready to get rid of hobo spiders in your home?

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Hobo Spiders

The common name for the hobo spider comes from its presumed method of expanding its distribution by hitching rides with humans along major highways in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, the hobo spider was introduced from Europe in the 1930s and has become established in at least 6 states since, displacing many native spider species as it spreads.

Pest Stats

Color

Light to medium brown with dark stripe down center to either side of lighter midline stripes; legs solid light brown with no bands

Shape

Oblong abdomen with longer posterior spinnerets visible from above

1 – 1 and 3/4” (40-50 mm) in diameter, including legs. Body sizes range from 5/16” to 9/16” with females slightly larger than males

Antennae

Region

Common in the northwestern U.S.; appears to be expanding its range

Videos View All Videos

Spider bites can be painful, but a spider’s venom is the real concern. Thankfully, most spiders don’t bite, and 98% are harmless. For more information on spiders, check out the spider pest guides.

Dr. Jim Fredericks from the National Pest Management Association discusses if all spiders bite. Learn more about spider bites.

Most spider bites, as Dr. Parada explains, are accidental and require little treatment. Learn the symptoms of spider bites here.

The common name for the hobo spider comes from its presumed method of expanding its distribution by hitching rides with humans along major highways in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, the hobo spider was introduced from Europe in the 1930s and has become established in at least 6 states since, displacing many native spider species as it spreads.

Pest Stats

Color

Light to medium brown with dark stripe down center to either side of lighter midline stripes; legs solid light brown with no bands

Shape

Oblong abdomen with longer posterior spinnerets visible from above

1 – 1 and 3/4” (40-50 mm) in diameter, including legs. Body sizes range from 5/16” to 9/16” with females slightly larger than males

Antennae

Region

Common in the northwestern U.S.; appears to be expanding its range

Videos View All Videos

Spider bites can be painful, but a spider’s venom is the real concern. Thankfully, most spiders don’t bite, and 98% are harmless. For more information on spiders, check out the spider pest guides.

Dr. Jim Fredericks from the National Pest Management Association discusses if all spiders bite. Learn more about spider bites.

Most spider bites, as Dr. Parada explains, are accidental and require little treatment. Learn the symptoms of spider bites here.

Habits

Hobo spiders build funnel webs that open at both ends with one end expanding outward into a broad, slightly curved sheet. An escape tunnel is commonly built in the back of the web which leads to a deep crack or other protected area. From late June to October, males extensively wander about seeking a mate. Several roving males may in fact enter the ground level of a structure each day during the peak activity period in August and September. Male hobo spiders are responsible for more bites than female hobo spiders because this wandering habit brings them into contact with humans.

Habitat

Hobo spiders may be found in almost any habitat containing holes, cracks or crevices which can support tunnel formation. Since they are poor climbers, they are rarely found above ground level. They frequent dark, moist areas and are most often found in basements, window wells and crawl spaces.

Threats

The hobo spider will bite in defense; however there is debate around the effects of hobo spider bites as these spiders are frequently confused with other species. In fact, misinformation on hobo spiders is so prevalent that it was previously thought that they are capable of producing a necrotic lesion similar to that caused by brown recluse spiders. However, much of the evidence in such cases has been circumstantial. The prevailing thought is that hobo spider bites causes only mild pain and redness.

If you notice hobo spiders, contact a professional immediately to discuss how to get rid of the infestation through a proper course of pest control.

Hobo Spider Prevention

To avoid hobo spiders, seal cracks on the outside of the home, and screen all doors and windows. Reduce clutter in basements and garages to eliminate hiding spots and keep these areas dry. Avoid storing clothing or shoes on the floor and use caution when moving items that have been stored for a long period of time. To get rid of hobo spiders, contact a pest professional.

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Hobo spider bite: What you need to know

The hobo spider is a funnel-building spider. In the past, people believed its bite and venom were dangerous. However, scientists now believe this is not the case.

Confirmed cases of hobo spider bites are rare. When there has been evidence of a hobo bite, the consequences were not serious.

People may believe they have been bitten by a hobo spider when the bite comes from another species, such as a brown recluse spider. However, a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection can cause similar symptoms.

A 2011 study that looked at various ways this spider’s venom might affect a person concluded that the hobo spider “is not a spider of medical concern.”

Some people have interpreted its Latin name — Tegenaria agrestis — to mean that it is aggressive. In fact, agrestis means that it comes from a rural area.

Share on Pinterest Hobo spiders are unlikely to bite unless something provokes them.

Hobo spiders get their common name from the belief that they spread throughout the United States by hitching lifts with people as they traveled along the highways.

The spiders came from Europe in the 1930s and are currently present in around six states in the Pacific Northwest.

  • a light to medium brown back with a dark stripe pattern on it
  • solid light brown legs without bands
  • an oblong abdomen
  • spinnerets that are visible from above

It measures 2.5–4.5 centimeters (cm) across, including its legs. Its body ranges from 0.8 -1.4 cm in length.

Hobo spiders build funnel webs with an escape tunnel at the back that often goes into a crack or other protected area. They are not good climbers, so they usually stay near ground level. They like dark, damp spaces.

Mating season lasts from June to October. At this time, male hobos may enter ground structures of buildings as they roam around and look for a mate. They do not live inside buildings.

A hobo spider is unlikely to bite except when catching prey or in self-defense, for example, if it becomes trapped against a person’s skin.

Very few studies have looked at confirmed hobo spider bites. For this reason, experts are not sure exactly what the symptoms are.

Past studies have linked a range of effects to hobo spider bites. However, experts now believe that most of these effects came from other spiders, notably the brown recluse.

It now seems most likely that the initial bite from a hobo spider will cause a slight prick or sting, and that minor skin irritation may follow.

Not many researchers have focused on an identified hobo bite. In a single study, a person experienced some minor pain and redness with a hobo bite, but these disappeared after 12 hours.

Some people have reported tissue death (necrosis) after a hobo spider bite. However, the authors of this study did not find any evidence to support this.

Some insects and spiders can introduce bacteria into the body when they bite. The hobo does not appear to do this.

What are the symptoms of a dangerous spider? Learn more here.

There is no specific treatment for a hobo spider bite.

However, the following tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) can help a person deal with a spider bite that may be poisonous:

  • Stay calm.
  • Try to identify the spider. If possible, take a photo or capture the spider in a container.
  • Wash the area with soap and water.
  • If swelling occurs, apply ice or a cold, damp cloth.
  • Raise the bite area, if possible.
  • Seek medical help immediately.

The CDC do not include the hobo spider in their information about venomous spiders.

However, various bites and stings can trigger an allergic reaction in some people. If a person experiences a bothersome reaction, a doctor may recommend an antihistamine cream.

If sudden or severe symptoms occur, this may be a sign of an allergic reaction. The person should seek immediate medical attention, especially if they start to have:

  • swelling
  • hives
  • difficulty breathing

These can be signs of anaphylaxis, which is a severe and potentially life-threatening reaction.

Learn more here about how to recognize anaphylaxis and what to do if it happens.

Anyone concerned about changes to their skin, from a spider bite or an unknown cause, should see a doctor.

If a person knows a spider has bitten them, they should take a photo of the spider or collect it in a sealed container to show the doctor.

To enable proper identification, they should bring the spider alive and avoid damaging it.

Hobo spiders rarely bite people. If they do, the effects are unlikely to be severe or long lasting.

To avoid hobo spiders entering the home, people can:

  • seal any cracks around the house
  • keep all rooms — including garages and basements — clean and free of clutter
  • store shoes and other items above ground
  • take care when moving things that have been standing for a long time

Last medically reviewed on October 22, 2019

www.medicalnewstoday.com

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