Nothing to fear from hobo spiders
Hobo spiders come out of hiding this time of year, and for many people like me, it’s comforting to know that although the male spiders leave their webs in search of mates, after mating, the males die.
Here are highlights from an OSU news release with even more reassuring words.
Most of the time these big European spiders stay secluded in dark, dry places such as overgrown shrubs or the dark corners of a basement, wood pile or garage. In the fall, the adult males wander more openly As they come out of hiding, you might see them scurrying across the kitchen floor or attempting to scale the slick walls of your bathtub. They are among the fastest spiders known, but they’re poor climbers.
Adult hobo spiders are relatively large, dark brown and, including their long legs, about the size of a silver dollar. The males have two swollen appendages (actually the male genitalia) up front that look like a pair of boxing gloves.
The hobo spider weaves a layered, flat web with a funnel-shaped lair at the back. There the spider resides and waits for its prey. The web is not sticky but trips up unsuspecting prey unable to navigate the layered surface.
The hobo will bite when tormented or pressed against your skin, however it is no more aggressive than other spiders, according to OSU entomologist Amy Dreves. Venom from the hobo spider bite can cause local tissue blistering and lesion scarring damage, and may take months to heal, but confirmed incidence of spider bites in humans is very low.
Want to know what kind of spider you found wandering your home? Take a clear, close photo and submit it to Ask an Expert.
To reduce spider encounters, try the following:
• Wear gloves, pants and a long-sleeved shirt when handling firewood or stored boxes where spiders may have built funnel-shaped nests.
• Seal holes around doors, windows and outlets for plumbing and wiring where spiders can find entry into the house.
• Sweep webs from corners, rock walls, under eaves and around shrubs.
• Place simple cardboard sticky traps (without the use of insecticide sprays) along baseboards and bed frames where wandering spiders tend to move.
• Keep the premises free of debris such as boxes, papers, clothing and lumber. Keep wood piles a distance from the house.
• Keep vegetation mowed or trimmed to reduce contact with the structure.
For more information about spiders in Oregon, contact the OSU urban entomology website. Emphasis is always on the least toxic approach to control.
~by April Beckwith