Hobo Spiders

APPEARANCE & IDENTIFICATION

The hobo spider is light brown with yellowish markings on the top of its body and is about ½ to ⅝-long. It does not have sections of dark bands on its legs. Unless identified by a trained spider expert who uses a microscope to help determine anatomical characteristics, identification is likely to be inaccurate.

BEHAVIOR (ACTIVITY)

Hobo spiders are nocturnal, are fast runners compared to many other spiders, and tend to build their webs under objects whether inside or outside. Interestingly, hobo spiders do not construct webs that distinctly resemble the typical funnel-shape webs of most other funnel web spiders. Indoors, the hobo spider is usually found only in the basement or ground-floor level of buildings.  Hobo spiders may move inside structures and homes while searching for mates in the summer and fall and when looking for sites to build their webs in the spring.

About 20 years ago, reports became available that said the hobo spider was a spider of serious medical importance, perhaps third in line behind only the black widow and brown recluse spiders.  However, in more recent research, the hobo spider’s venom was shown to be unable to produce tissue necrosis as previously believed.

DIET

Like many other spiders, hobo spiders feed upon small insects and other Arthropods they trap in their web.

HABITAT

Preferred outdoor habitats include logs, piles of wood and rocks, tall grass, flower beds, crevices in the soil, and in storage sheds and garages. Indoors, hobo spiders can be found in hidden, seldom-disturbed places such as between or inside cardboard boxes and storage containers, in seldom-used piles of clothing or debris, and clutter that is not cleaned up or discarded.

REPRODUCTION & LIFE CYCLE

The female hobo produces 1-4 egg cases, with each egg case containing from 50-100 eggs. Unlike many other spiders that attach the egg cases to their web, adult female hobo spiders search out objects under which they attach egg cases. Eggs deposited in the fall overwinter, and spiderlings hatch in the late spring or early summer. They continue to grow and become adults that mate, and the females lay new egg cases to start a new life cycle. However, there is some debate among entomologists as to the precise time it takes to complete their life cycle, and it seems that while a one year life cycle is likely in the warmer coastal populations, the cooler inland populations may take two or perhaps three years to complete one life cycle.

SIGNS OF THEIR PRESENCE

Evidence of the spiders and their webs.

PREVENTION TIPS

Prevention of hobo spiders includes:

  • Eliminating or reducing trash, rubble, and other preferred habitat sources around the home.
  • Keeping grass and other vegetation closely mowed.
  • Exclusion that involves sealing windows, doors, cracks and crevices in the foundation, plus sealing any holes or gaps where plumbing pipes and electrical conduits enter inside the structure.
  • Not storing clothes or other items on the floor level of basements, closets, or other out of the way places.
  • Placing adhesive glue boards to trap spiders.
  • Vacuuming spiders.
  • Using a rolled up newspaper or some other object to mechanically kill spiders.
  • Replacing regular lights that attract night flying and crawling insects with less attractive sodium vapor lights.

HOW TO CONTROL

Always apply control products in accordance with the product label instructions. Product control may involve:

  • Applying insecticide products as a barrier treatment to the home or building perimeter.
  • Applying dust or liquid formulations in cracks, crevices, holes, and other gaps.
  • Applying a direct contact aerosol formulation to spiders.