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The Hobo Spider, Eratigena agrestis, is a giant spider that found its way into the USA from Europe in the 1930s. Hobo spiders got their name from the belief that they got into the USA by hitching rides on people who traveled by railway.
These spiders are often thought to be brown recluses because of their size and color. However, they are relatively harmless, and the only time they can bite is when pressed against the skin.
Besides being massive in size, the other reason why people think hobo spiders are aggressive is their ability to quickly sprint across the floor. The creatures can cover a distance 330 times their body length in less than 10 seconds.
One unique thing about hobo spiders is their web. They build a funnel-like web with an escape route that descends into a crack. Let’s look at various ways to differentiate the hobo spider from other spiders.
Identifying Hobo Spiders
Although they are often confused with funnel weaving spiders, hobo spiders don’t have bands around their leg joints that most funnel weavers do. Hobo spiders also have a similar color and body size to the brown recluse, but they lack the famous brown violin-shaped mark. Here are other features that differentiate these spiders from other, similar looking species:
Color: Light to medium brown with a dark stripe pattern on the back.
Size: An adult hobo spider measures between ¼ to ½ of an inch long, with a leg span of 1-2 inches. Males do not have any different coloring or markings than the females, but are smaller in size.
Bodily Features: Hobo spiders have an oblong abdomen and spinnerets visible from above. They have brown legs that don’t have bands at the joints. Many hobo spider species have a light-colored stripe that runs down the middle of the sternum.
Habitat: Hobo spiders love staying in dark, secluded places since they don’t like interacting with humans. Since they are poor climbers, they build their nests near the ground. They can be found in trash cans, storage rooms, basements, and the kitchen near the sink. They build funnel shaped webs with a large opening at the front that, instead of trapping insects, will alert the spider with vibrations to any prey passing over the threads of the web.
Diet: These spiders are opportunistic and will attempt to catch just about anything that passes near their web, but they primarily feed on insects like beetles, flies, and cockroaches.
Are Hobo Spiders Dangerous?
Despite their fierce look and fast sprinting speeds, hobo spiders are not aggressive and will often try to avoid confrontations with humans. They are very reactive when they sense movement near their web, which some may confuse as aggression.
Despite their shy nature, hobo spiders are still able to inflict painful bites when cornered or pressed against the skin. The bites can cause some redness and swelling, but there is no record of them causing severe damage. Regardless, they are still mostly viewed as a nuisance and can spoil various areas of your home, yard or garden with their funnel-like webs.
How to prevent and Control Hobo Spiders
Things you can do at home you can do to keep Hobo Spiders away include:
- Keeping bushes, shrubs, gardens, the area between garden planters and the space around the foundation clear of weeds and debris-free.
- Sealing any cracks and crevices around your home, particularly those close to the ground. Make sure any weep holes around the foundation are stuffed with a sturdy mesh, such as copper or steel wool.
- Keep trash or yard waste cans, as well as any wood piles away from the house.
If you are finding a lot of hobo spiders in your home, or are seeing them regularly, this might indicate an infestation. You’ll need to contact a professional pest exterminator to help you repel them from your home, such as the technicians at Domain Pest Control. Give us a call today for a free quote on our preventative pest control plans!