Unlike most spiders that are harmless, the hobo spider is one of three venomous spiders commonly found in some parts of the United States. The hobo is most commonly found throughout the Pacific Northwest. The other two common venomous spiders are the black widow and the brown recluse.
While the hobo spider's home is in the Pacific Northwest, the brown recluse is most commonly found in the Midwestern and Southern states. The black widow is more prevalent in that it is found throughout North America but is most common in the southern and western areas.
Hobo Spider Appearance
Due to its size, you won't mistake the hobo spider for your everyday house spider—its body is about 1/2-inch long with its legs extending from 1/2 to almost 2 inches total. The brown-colored spider has yellow chevron-shaped markings on the abdomen. It can be differentiated from other spiders because its short-haired legs do not have dark-colored bands.
Outdoors, the hobo spider hides in retaining walls, foundations, window wells, and stacks of firewood and bricks. Indoors, it is found in boxes, piles, or other storage, under baseboard heaters or radiators, behind furniture, and in closets. Whether the hobo spider sets up a home indoors or out, it generally prefers to stay near the ground.
The spider builds funnel webs in holes, cracks, and recesses. A funnel web, as the name implies, resembles a funnel with one end wider than the other flattened end. It is built horizontally on the ground or into piles, or attached to stationary structures near the ground.
Although they do not climb, hobo spiders do run very fast. The chance of being bitten by a hobo spider is rare, but it does occasionally happen, especially if it feels threatened.
How to Control Hobo Spiders
The most effective method for controlling spiders in your home is to control spiders' food sources. Spiders' legs keep their belly off the floor and they don't use their mouths to groom themselves as insects do so pesticides are mostly ineffective. So, ensure your home is protected against other bugs that serve as meals for spiders. If there is no food available, spiders will go elsewhere.
For hobo spiders already in your home, you have a few options, including the tried-and-true method of smashing it with a shoe or rolled-up newspaper. If that seems too barbaric, take the advice of the National Park Service (NPS) and use glue traps placed where you think the spiders are getting in. You can also vacuum spiders and their nests when found. Just be sure to transfer the vacuum bag contents to a sealed plastic bag for disposal. Wear gloves and protective clothing in potentially infested areas.
Also, keep wood, debris, and vegetation away from the house, as deadwood is a natural web and breeding site for hobo spiders. To keep them from entering the home, ensure that all windows and doors are well-sealed and caulk cracks and gaps where the spiders—and other bugs—could enter.
Hobo Spider Bites
A person who has been bitten may not realize it, as it may not immediately cause any symptoms or reactions. However, a bite can be serious and result in a very slow-healing wound and permanent scar.
Although the bite of a hobo spider may be rare, it can be very serious and anyone suspecting a hobo spider bite should seek medical care immediately.