How to Identify Hobo Spiders
Hobo spiders, also known as “the aggressive house spider” can be found in several states. They are primarily found in Colorado, Montana, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and the Pacific Northwest. Identifying them can sometimes be tricky because they look very similar to other spiders such as a wolf spider, or brown recluse. If you have a question about identifying a spider you can contact a pest control specialist or an extension office.
Hobo spiders are brown/light gray with yellow markings on their abdomens. They usually range in size from 3/8 to 9/16 of an inch and have shorter legs than a lot of other spiders. They have two large palpi on each side of their head which people commonly refer to as “boxing gloves.” However, they are not the only spiders that have these palpi, so they cannot be identified strictly by this feature.
The legs on a hobo spider are uniformly tan. This is one of the best ways to help distinguish them from other similar spiders. They do not have any bands/stripes on their lets. They also do not have a violin shape on their heads or spots on their sternum. It can be difficult to see the eyes on a hobo spider, but if you look with a magnifying glass, a hobo spider will have eight equal sized eyes. If a spider has both large and small eyes then it is not a hobo.
Are Hobo Spiders Dangerous
The thought of Hobo spiders often summons thoughts of painful bites and decaying skin (necrosis), but in 2015 the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) actually removed the Hobo spider from its list of venomous spiders in the United States. The only two spiders currently listed on their website are the Brown Recluse and the Black Widow. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/spiders/types.html. While hobo spider bites aren’t going to cause your skin to decay, they can cause a red welt and some discomfort/pain. Most spiders are not naturally aggressive, so if you can reduce the chance of a close encounter you are unlikely to get bitten.
Hobo Spiders’ Habitat
Unlike other spiders, Hobos are not good climbers. They are relatively quick, and can climb some textured surfaces, such as carpet, but they are very unlikely to be seen climbing on a wall or ceiling. While they normally tend to avoid humans, Hobos are very protective of their egg sac, and can become aggressive if you come near it.
They build tunnel shaped webs close to the ground and like to habitat dark, moist areas. Their web differs from that of other spiders in that it is not sticky. They don’t use it to trap insects/spider for prey. Instead they use the web to trip them, and then they run out and catch their prey. From mid-July until the first frost, hobo spiders will begin to move indoors. Once inside, they tend to frequent dark, less inhabited areas.
One of the best ways to control hobo spiders is to limit piles and keep things clean both inside and outside your home. Vacuuming frequently as well as keeping items picked up off the floor will deter them from taking up residence. Try to keep the area around the foundation of your home free from debris and leaves, etc. Sticky traps can also help control spiders when placed along baseboards and in areas indoors where you have seen spiders.
Another way to help prevent spiders from entering your home is to apply a chemical barrier around the foundation. Some common chemicals that are used for controlling spiders are bifenthrin, carbaryl, deltamethrin, imidacloprid and permethrin. These chemicals are the active ingredient, which are found in many different brand name products. When applying the chemical you spray around the foundation and 1-2 feet out from the foundation. This helps deter spiders and insects from entering the home. The chemical’s residual will usually help control spiders for up to a month, depending on the chemical.
We recommend hiring a professional applicator, trained in handling pesticides, to make this application. Click here to learn about the different pest control treatments we offer https://www.goturfco.com/pest-control/. The application for hobos is odorless, and safe for pets and children once it has dried. Reducing clutter and performing regular foundation sprays can reduce/eliminate the need to spray indoors. If you already have spiders inside your home you may choose to do an interior spray initially. You can then follow up with exterior sprays on a regular basis. By keeping spiders at bay you also reduce the likelihood of getting ants, centipedes, mud-dauber wasps and rodents who are their natural predators.