Most varieties of house spider are not aggressive and do not pose a threat to people. However, the aggressive house spider, also called the hobo spider, is among the few types of spiders in this country that can be harmful to humans, along with the black widow and brown recluse. In spite of its name, this variety of house spider is actually not considered to be aggressive, but it will bite if it is disturbed or feels threatened. People often receive these spider bites by unknowingly crushing or pinning down one of these spiders.
Reactions to the aggressive house spider’s bite are similar to those that result from the bite of a brown recluse. Both of these spiders can cause tissue damage, known as necrosis, although the tissue damage from an aggressive house spider is thought to be less severe than that from a brown recluse. Nonetheless, seeking medical treatment is important if a bite occurs.
Besides tissue damage, a bite victim may notice a blister at the bite location and experience other symptoms. These can include joint pain, nausea, fatigue, headache, or impaired vision. It may take 24 to 36 hours for these symptoms to materialize after a bite.
If bitten, a victim should get medical attention and, if possible, take the spider along for identification. These bites have not been known to be fatal in healthy people.
The best course of action is to avoid spider bites altogether. Wear protective clothing and gloves when working in places that spiders may inhabit. Outside, this may include such areas as sheds, barns, wood piles, or dense vegetation; indoors, spiders are often encountered in crawl spaces, garages, basements, or attics. They tend to seek low-traffic and cluttered areas where they can find prey and will not be disturbed. Always use caution and good judgment in these areas.