The Hobo spider, also known as the aggressive house spider, is a common species in the Northwestern United States, Western Canada, and throughout many parts of Europe. It prefers warm, dry climates and will often find indoor living a suitable atmosphere. Hobo spiders are fairly large in size at twelve to eighteen millimeters and can be identified by their brown coloration and short hairs across their body. They also create large, highly visible funnel shaped webs and wait within them for prey to enter. Males are normally spotted running across floors during the summer months as they seek out a suitable mate. While rarely aggressive as their name implies, the Hobo spider tends to avoid humans and will often flee unless in proximity of their egg sacs. The vast majority of bites occur when the spider in accidentally trampled within hiding places such as clothing or shoes, and if venom is delivered medical attention is often necessary.
Although the Hobo’s spiders bite is often not painful at the outset, a small hard lump at the strike point will begin to develop over the following twenty to thirty minutes. During the ensuing hours a bright red welt will gradually form outside the bump ranging from two to six inches in diameter. Within twelve to forty-eight hours a painful blister will form and eventually scab over. The venom will continue to break down the skin in a process called necrosis and in extreme cases surgery may be required to prevent further tissue loss. Other common symptoms include severe headaches, nausea, fatigue, short term memory loss, and blurred vision. Many of these wounds will heal naturally over a period of months and will result in deep scarring of the area tissue. Although Hobo spiders do not always inject their prey with venom, it is highly recommended to seek medical attention immediately to have the highest possible chances of avoiding any permanent damage and to avoid possible allergic reactions.
Ridding a home or property of Hobo spiders can become a difficult, time consuming task but fortunately homeowners have several handy tools on their side. Hobo spiders will only remain within an area if there is an abundance of insects to feed on; an elimination or large reduction of this food source will cause the spider to move on. Consider reducing the amount of lighting outside your home during the evening hours and destroy any cobweb or egg sacs found immediately. You can also perform a community service by visiting your local humane society and adopting a cat; not only do they actively seek out spiders and other insects but they are naturally immune to the Hobo spider’s venom. Other common methods include removing firewood or other debris from around your home’s perimeter to reduce hiding places, trim back shrubs and trees away from your home, and ensure your window screens are properly installed and not in need of repair. Applying slow release insecticides around the perimeter of your home has also proven to be very effective since it kills both the Hobo spiders and their food source simultaneously.
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