Factoid Fridays: Hobo Spiders (A Most startling discovery in your bathtub!)
- The hobo spider (Tegenaria agrestis) is part of a group of spiders known as funnel web spiders.
- Their funnel shaped web appears smooth as silk and the spider waits at the narrow end for food to fall into the wider end where it gets tangled in intricate threads and cannot get free.
- Its aggressiveness is mostly reported because of mistranslations of the agrestis part of its name which actually means “of the fields”. They avoid human contact as much as possible.
- The bite causes considerable pain, but it is unknown as to whether or not it also causes tissue death (necrosis) and takes 6 – 8 months to heal, because not enough spiders that have bitten have come into the hospitals for identification. If you get a spider bite you should capture the culprit and take it immediately to the hospital with you. The bite is not fatal. May actually be the bite of the Brown Recluse Spider, which does cause necrosis?
- Prey includes household pests such as roaches, houseflies, earwigs, silverfish, and carpet beetles.
- The hobo spider is indigenous to western and central Europe and is now also found in parts of Denmark. It has recently packed itself into someone’s luggage and immigrated to the northwestern parts of the US and southwestern Canada; even more recently discovered in Alaska.
- Often confused for the Giant house spider, Hobo spiders are consumed by the Giant house spider so they usually do not share space and they prey on the same sources of food.
- The male spiders of both Giant house spiders and Hobo spiders are more active August and September.
- The Giant house spider has hairy legs and abdomen and makes a nest which is a messy funnel. It is muddy brown to slightly yellow in coloration.
- The Hobo female span is 11-15 mm. The Hobo male span is 8-11 mm.
- The Giant house spider leg span female is 55mm with a smaller body size than the hobo, and the male GHS leg span varies between 25mm -75mm being the most common.
- Dust often with a damp cloth and clean your attic, storage areas, and book cases often to avoid heavy infestations. There are spider traps available now if you get an infestation and you will not have to spray the area with harmful toxins to clear. Remember if you destroy them all, you will have lots of their prey in your space because you disrupted the environment.
These factoids brought to you by:
Wikipedia, Google search, Burke Museum Educational Bulletin No.1, University of California at Riverside, and a number of encounters in my house with these huge fast disconcerting critters.