Hobo Spider Facts
The hobo spider, also known as the aggressive house spider, predominantly inhabits the northwest area of the United States. It has been known to hitch rides in cargo shipments or with people, hence the “hobo” name, and thereby has begun to establish its presence in other regions.
Hobo spiders are sometimes confused with brown recluse spiders, in part due to their appearance, but also because their bites are believed to cause similar symptoms, most notably, necrosis, or tissue death. However, the bite of a hobo spider has not proved fatal in healthy people. Both of these spiders will only bite if they feel threatened.
Adult female hobo spiders reach approximately 0.5″ in body length, while the males are closer to ¼” or so. They are light to medium brown with a lighter stripe down the center of the cephalothorax and darker stripe to either side.
Hobo spiders build funnel-shaped webs to ensnare prey. The webs have a wider end and then narrow into a crevice or other protected area. The spider will hide at the narrow end of the web to await an unsuspecting invader. They eat insects and some species of spiders as well.
Their webs, also called nests, can be located in woodpiles, gardens, under sheds or rocks, or next to a building’s foundation. Nests are usually constructed near the ground. Indoors, hobo spiders can be found in damp areas likes crawl spaces or basements.
For many insects and spiders, the hobo spider is feared predator, but it also has some natural enemies that will prey upon it. In fact, some of these predators include other types of spiders, such as wolf spiders, jumping spiders, and European house spiders. Not only do these spiders prey upon the hobo spider, but they also serve as competition for food.
The praying mantis is also a fairly significant enemy of the hobo spider. However, praying mantises are active in the daytime, while hobo spiders are nocturnal, so this can sometimes be a factor in the mantises’ success rate.
The hobo spider also is preyed upon by black and yellow mud dauber wasps. Once they catch hobo spiders, they take them back to the nest to feed to their young.