We’re born with a fear of spiders. The tiny creatures move creepily, they dangle weirdly from webs and they seem dangerous. Most spiders are harmless. They’re focused on eating pests like flies, mosquitoes, roaches and earwigs. And they’re probably frightened when they feel the vibrations of our screams and our feet thundering toward (or away from) them. But the U.S. is home to three spiders with bites worth fearing and one, the hobo spider, is often found in the Pacific Northwest. Read on to learn more and find out how to get rid of hobo spiders along with tips for hobo spider control.
The Hobo Spider’s Story
History suggests the hobo spider made its way from Europe to the U.S. via ship in the late 1920s. It gained the nickname ‘hobo’ because it’s believed to have traveled across the country on railway cars.
Hobo spiders belong to a family of spiders who spin funnel-shaped webs and were named eratigena agrestis by scientists. Someone struggling to read Latin mistakenly called them ‘aggressive’ house spiders, but they’re not. Like most spiders, the hobo spider has very poor eyesight – it can only see about three to six feet and is generally non-aggressive. They’re more likely to run away from you than toward you.
Recognizing a Hobo Spider
Hobo spiders are large, with females about 1 ¾ inch long (including legs) and males about 1-inch long. Their size and brown color leads some people to mistake hobo spiders for the more dangerous brown recluse spider. Hobo spiders have herringbone striping on their abdomen, while brown recluse spiders have a distinctive violin-shaped marking on their backs. And brown recluse spiders are more likely to be found in the Midwest and Southeast.
If a hobo spider is caught in a threatening situation, they will bite, leaving a painful, red, sometimes blistery or twitchy bruise. Unlike the poisonous brown recluse, the hobo spider’s venom isn’t toxic, but this isn’t a guest you want wandering into your home.
When Hobo Spiders Wander
Most hobo spiders stay in dark, secluded areas outdoors where they can trap their prey without being disturbed. They like holes, cracks and recessed areas. During mating season in late summer-early fall, male hobo spiders may venture into your garage, first floor or your basement looking for a date. They’re poor climbers, so won’t wander far.
How to Get Rid of Hobo Spiders
If you see a hobo spider, call a professional exterminator who has the skills to find and treat an infestation. Steps the exterminator may use to get rid of hobo spiders include:
- Using a vacuum to remove any spiderwebs inside or outside your home.
- Installing sticky glue traps in closets or basements to catch those wandering males.
- Applying an insecticide around baseboards, windows, doorways, cracks and crevices to kill both the hobo spiders and other insects the hobo spider may feed on.
Tips for Hobo Spider Control
After your unwelcome visitors are removed, you can keep them out by doing the following:
Papers, magazines, cardboard, clothes and blankets all provide a welcome environment for hobo spider ‘date night.’ Dispose of unnecessary material and use plastic containers for storage. Keeping areas clean also eliminates the insects hobo spiders like to eat.
Repair screens, and caulk crevices around windows and doors. Seal around spigots and where wires or cables enter your home. Window weather stripping and door sweeps will also close possible entryways.
Keeping faucets and pipes leak-free and adding dehumidifiers will remove a hobo spider’s water source.
Manage Perimeter Areas
If possible, try to keep vegetation and equipment like hoses about one foot away from the outside of your house. Yard debris, mulch, wood piles or large rocks can provide nesting spots and should be monitored or removed.
Hobo Spider Control Portland, Oregon
If you think you may have an infestation, call the Bug Man in Portland, Oregon for help getting rid of hobo spiders in the home.