There are three types of hobo spiders — Tegenaria agrestis, T. gigantic, and T. domestica. These spiders are also known as “aggressive house spiders” and they do bite! Hobo spiders may be found outside homes in rock piles or beneath logs or lumber. They find garages, barns and other exterior buildings the perfect hiding places.
Inside your homes, be careful when rummaging through your closets or walking in the dark basements. Hobo spiders can breed even in the crawl spaces, attics, duct work and registers. Your shoe boxes and racks can be a good place for hobo spiders to live including old clothing, storage boxes and under the furniture.
Hobo spiders are considered hunting spiders and have external features that may be similar to common harmless spiders.They are distinguished through the distinct yellow chevron shaped markings on their abdomens.
What are the symptoms of hobo spider bites?
A hobo spider bite is initially painless but it can be serious. Dry hobo spider bites, which constitute about 50 percent of all hobo spider bites, do not cause a serious threat to the victim since the biting spider does not release venom. However, in general hobo spider is poisonous. When hobo spider poisoning (also known as “tegenarism”) is severe, it will take time to heal and may leave scarring.
When a hobo spider injects venom (envenomation) on a victim, the following symptoms may be observed:
- Immediate redness around the bitten body portion but the redness disappears after a few hours.
- Temporary memory loss
- Vision problems
What to do when bitten by a hobo spider?
Like mentioned earlier, a hobo spider bite can be painless but serious. When a person complains of being bitten by a hobo spider, keep calm and apply first aid.
- Don’t panic: A person bitten by a hobo spider should stay calm.
- Wash the affected area and bandage it: A clean bandage can be placed on the bite wound after washing the spider bite area using either soap, alcohol or any other astringent.
- Take a pain reliever: A pain reliever such as benzocaine can be applied to the wound when pain is severe.
- Apply cold compress: You can also apply ice to the hobo spider bite area to delay absorption of the venom.
One thing that you must not forget- catch the spider for proper identification. Catch the biting spider since the wound may not give clear indications of what kind of spider has bitten you. If it’s a hobo spider that has bitten you, your doctor or a health provider can give the right medication.
How to distinguish a hobo spider bite from another insect bite?
The hobo spider bite can also feel warm for a few hours and the first 24 hours of the bite is similar to the effects of a mosquito bite. To distinguish it from other insect bites, be aware of some changes in the area bitten by a hobo spider.
- The blister caused by the bite breaks open within one to two days after the bite has taken place and forms an oozing open ulceration.
- Most hobo spider bites are minor but some can cause an erupting lesion or a flesh hole which is a result of a dead tissue.
- The size of the lesion ranges from a pea size to that of a half dollar size and sometimes bigger.
- Underlying tissues of the bite can be seen after the dead tissue gradually peels.
- The sunken wound caused by the hobo bite may take weeks and even months to recover. An ugly scar is a reminder that the bite is healed.
How to treat hobo spider bites?
Treatment for hobo bites is the same as that for brown recluse spider as they have almost the same nature of envenomation.
- Remove the venom: Surgical removal of the venom by a physician or a health carer should be immediately done after the bite has been identified as hobo bite. You must not attempt to remove it yourself.
- Apply or take corticosteroids: This can be done within 24 hours of being bitten. Corticosteroids can be oral, topical or injectables; they relieve inflammation of the wound.
- Inject with phentolamine: For severe cases, a phentolamine injection may be advised to relieve pain.
- Take antibiotics: To prevent bacterial infection of the affected area, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics and antihistamines. This is given in order to speed up or avoid complication during the healing process.
Healing from hobo spider poisoning can take as short as two weeks or as long as two years, depending on the person’s age, physical and psychological disposition to healing.