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How To Tell If You Have Hobo Spiders

Giant house spider Spiders are seemingly everywhere this year in Portland and Vancouver.  Many homes will not need to go all out in their Halloween decorating because of all the creepy spider webs that are now covering their porches.  There really has been a lot of spiders this year and people are always pretty creeped out, but they are particularly so when it comes to Hobo spiders.

We get calls all the time from customers wanting help in identifying if they actually have hobo spiders or just a spider that looks similar.  Let me put your mind at ease a little.  Hobo spiders are probably more rare than you think and other poisonous spiders like a Black Widow or Brown Recluse are even more rare.  However, we do see Hobo spiders occasionally, so it is important to know what they look like.

Is It A Hobo?

If you were to find a big brown spider in your home and start to do some research, you might have already come to the conclusion that you have Hobo Spiders in your home.  But, wait!  Hold off on that conclusion for just a minute.  You might have a Hobo Spider doppelganger called a “Giant House Spider” (I know, they really had to get creative to come up with that name, huh?).  These Giant House Spiders look so similar to a Hobo Spider, that you have to look under a magnifying glass to tell the difference.  Look at the two pictures to the right.  Can you tell the difference?  FYI, the one on the bottom is the Hobo Spider and the one on the top is a harmless Giant House Spider.

A Couple Of Spider Identification TipsPortland Oregon hobo spider

Like I said, these two spiders are similar and the differences between them are very subtle.  Here are a few:

1-Hobo Spiders do not have darker color bands on their leg joints as most spiders (like the Giant House Spider) do.

2-If you are brave enough to turn it around and look at its sternum, a Giant House Spider has round markings on it and a Hobo Spider does not.

3-A Hobo Spider does not have distinct stripes on its back (technically called the cephalothorax).  A Giant House Spider has very distinct markings.

4-If the back and legs are a dark, almost orange coloring and is slightly shiny, this would not be a Hobo Spider.

5-Hobo spiders do make a funnel web, but so do a lot of spiders.  However, if you are seeing a spider that fits the description above and has a funnel web, you might be on to something.

Still Cannot Tell What It Is?

If you are still not able to identify whether or not you have a Hobo Spider, you have a few options.  First, most entomologists (people who study insects) would love to help you.  Anytime I have a tough pest case to solve, I have a few contacts that really love to be challenged and get all “geeky” with insects and spiders.  These contacts do not charge for this and usually get an answer within a few days or so.

Secondly, if you not only want to identify them, but also want to get rid of them, we can totally help you with that.  Even if you have a Giant House Spider, they can be pretty intimidating.  They are also called “Aggressive House Spiders” and you can probably guess how they got that name.  Anyway, if we can help you get rid of your spiders in the Portland Metro area, please do not hesitate to call.

For a more complete guide to hobo spider identification, please click here.


Photo credit: Danni Alexandria / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo credit:   Dr. Lee Ostrom’s Hobo Spider Images

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