The hobo spider is one of the many arachnid species that has found its home in the Pacific Northwest. The hobo, Tegenaria agrestis, is a European immigrant species that has earned a bad reputation for being a potentially poisonous spider in the United States since the 1980s. These spiders are often misidentified, and many people as “is hobo spider brown recluse the same?”
The name “hobo” is linked to the spiders presumed to spread to distant cities by way of the railroads..
While generally fearful of humans, the hobo (like most spiders) will defend itself if threatened.
It’s feared that the venom can be strong enough to cause necrosis – killing flesh and causing infections around the bite. However, don’t fear or kill every spider you see. The giant house spider is a competitor of the hobo spider and actually keeps it out of our homes.
The house spider does not cause harm to humans or animals and it is a great natural pest control agent. That said, it is nearly impossible to determine the difference between a hobo spider and the giant house spider with the naked eye.
The two spiders are related; both are indigenous to North Western Europe and were introduced to our area in the early 1900s. Hobos build funnel-shaped webs to capture insects. The webs are not sticky and they are usually low to the ground.
Woodpiles, yard waste, and home foundations are very appealing places for hobo spiders to build webs.
However, there are many closely related species of spiders that make similar webs in similar places, so if you see funnel webs on your property that does not necessarily mean there are hobo spiders in them.
The hobo spider, also known as Tegenaria agrestis, has 2 other close kin spiders which are:
- The domestic house spider or barn funnel weaving spider (Tegenaria domestica), and
- the giant house spider, Tegenaria duellica (or Tegenaria gigantea)
All three of these spiders originally came from in Europe. Other related spiders (Agelenopsis potteri, Agelenopsis pennsylvanica, and Hololena nedra ) are often mistaken as hobo spiders.
All of these are usually common and are found in Washington that belong to the Agelinidae family.
If you think you have hobo spiders, use caution like you should around all spiders. It is not necessary to panic; they are not interested in biting you. Wear gloves when you work in the garden or move wood.
By utilizing a monthly maintenance pest program you will keep the food source of the spiders to a minimum. With no source of sustenance, t many spiders will leave in search of food.
This tactic will not completely eliminate your problem because spiders aren’t the smartest creatures in the world. They will follow instincts and build a web where they see a good place.
If you notice many funnel-shaped webs in your residence, treat them with care. Standard pest control techniques may not affect arachnids, but there are methods that can help.
The easiest treatments are removing the web and food supply (insects), but excessive populations require more advanced treatment plans.