How to Get Rid of Hobo Spiders
Are hobo spiders as dangerous as you think?
Lots of people have questions about hobo spiders. What are they? Are hobo spiders aggressive? Dangerous? Even deadly? And perhaps most important, how do you get rid of them? Let's take a moment to separate fact from fiction.
What Are Hobo Spiders?
Mostly found in the northwestern United States (especially the Pacific Northwest), hobo spiders are a species of funnel-web spiders that can live inside or outside your home. A funnel web is, simply, a layered, flat web that features a funnel-like lair or den at the rear of the web where the spider can lie in wait for its prey. Hobo spiders build funnel webs that open at both ends, with one end expanding outward into a broad, slightly curved sheet. An escape tunnel, leading to a deep crack or other protected area, is commonly built in the back of the web.
Hobo spiders move extremely fast, running upwards of 2.2 miles per hour. Despite its nickname, "the aggressive house spider," a hobo spider will only move toward a human when it has been threatened. The truth is, hobo spiders are neither aggressive nor people-attackers.
Peak season for hobo spiders is early September to early October. Males typically die after mating, while females outlive their male counterparts by 4 to 6 weeks, giving them time to give birth to their young.
What Do Hobo Spiders Look Like?
Hobo spiders are light to medium brown, with darker stripes and a mottled chevron pattern on the combined head and thorax, and solid brown legs. (If you see any sort of pattern on the legs, it's not a hobo spider.) They range from 1 to almost 2 inches in length—larger than most other funnel-web spider species. Because hobo spiders don't climb, a spider on the ceiling or a vertical surface is most likely a different type of spider.
Are Hobo Spiders Dangerous?
While it used to be thought that hobo spiders' bites could cause slow-healing lesions, researchers no longer consider that to be the case—though a bite can leave skin red and irritated. It's important to know, too, most hobo spiders will only bite humans if provoked. Regardless, if you are bit by a hobo (or other) spider, keep an eye on the site and see your doctor if you develop complications.
Where Do Hobo Spiders Hide?
Hobo spiders can be found at ground level, living in their funnel webs or moving swiftly across the floor. Indoors, they may land in sinks and tubs while looking for moisture then find themselves unable to crawl up and out. Occasionally, hobo spiders may become trapped in objects on the floor, such as laundry, bedding, shoes, or toys.
How to Get Rid of Hobo Spiders in Your Home
Hobo spiders are most likely to be found inside your home from mid-July through the first frost. Here's how to get rid of them and keep them from coming back.
1. Declutter inside and out.
Hobo spiders love places they can hide, so don a pair of gloves and clean up clutter and clear away debris. Pay special attention to stacks of cardboard and piles of boxes, papers, and recyclables indoors, and dense window vines and rocks outdoors. Consider restacking firewood away from your home or any outbuildings, such as sheds, garages, and barns.
2. Remove webs, eggs, and food sources.
Regularly vacuum or sweep inside and around your home to get rid of hobo spider webs and egg sacs, as well as other pests that hobo spiders feed on. Give extra attention to floor-level areas in closets, along baseboards, and behind furniture, plus in garage, shed, and basement corners. Check ground-level windows, too. Empty vacuum bag contents or sweepings into a zip-top bag and dispose of it in an outdoor trash receptacle.
3. Seal gaps, holes, and other entry points.
Hobo spiders and other pests come into your home through small cracks and crevices. Repair or install weather stripping, replace or repair torn window and door screens, and caulk or fill gaps, holes, and spaces.
4. Create a long-lasting bug barrier.
Not only will a bug barrier help keep hobo spiders from getting inside, but it can also help keep their prey—including insects and other spiders—out. Non-staining, odor-free Ortho® Home Defense Insect Killer for Indoor and Perimeter2 with Comfort Wand® targets listed bugs indoors for up to 12 months on non-porous surfaces. Apply around both the interior of your home (including storage areas, pantries, basements, and bedrooms) and the exterior foundation, following label directions. This will also kill hobo spiders already in your home, because when they (or any other listed insects) cross the barrier, they die.
5. Treat your lawn and landscape.
Hobo spiders go where the food is, and that includes your lawn and landscape. Apply Ortho® Home Defense® Insect Killer for Lawn & Landscape Ready-To-Spray to trees, shrubs, and ornamentals, as well as around the porch and patio and any stored wood, for 3 months' worth of protection. Again, be sure to read and heed all directions.
Here's the bottom line: Hobo spiders aren't deadly, but that doesn't mean you necessarily want to live with them. Stay calm, act fast, and follow these tips to get them out and keep them out.