A relatively large spider, the Hobo is assumed to have come to the United States around the 1920's or 30's from western Europe. The most distinctive feature on both male and female Hobo spiders is the chevron markings on the abdomen, however, there are differences between males and females. Male Hobos have two large palps that jut out from the front of the spider that look a lot like boxing gloves. Although some may incorrectly assume that these palps are venomous sacs, they are actually male genitalia. While females also have palps in the same area, they are far less prominent than in the males.
Despite the fact that Hobos are becoming increasingly more prominent particularly in the western part of the United States, public awareness is relatively low. In many cases, the Brown Recluse spider has been incorrectly blamed for many Hobo bites since the end result can appear relatively similar. For the most part, Hobos are most active during mating seasons, which for them is between July and September.
Hobo Spider Bites
About half of all Hobo spider bites are dry, meaning no venom is actually injected into the victim. Since nothing happens to the person who has been bitten in this case, more often than not the person doesn't even know they have encountered the spider at all. The severity of a Hobo bite that involves venom depends on the age and sex of the spider, and usually feels and looks no worse than a mosquito bite for the first 24 hours or so. At that point a blister will form in the middle of the reddened bite area, and once it breaks open it leaves a seeping ulceration on the skin.
Within a few days of the ulceration, a scab will usually form. Within three weeks, the scab will slough off, and eventually leave a permanent scar on the area. In cases where the bite is in a fattier tissue, lesions can take as much as three years to heal. In nearly half of reported venomous Hobo spider bites, victims experience headaches that do not respond readily to over the counter pain medication, dizziness, nausea, dry mouth, weakness, joint pain and even hallucinations.
Spider Bite Prevention
Most experts say that the prevention of Hobo spider bites, and any other venomous spider bite largely involves common sense. When indoors, use caution when moving boxes from storage areas and basements. Shake out clothing and bedding that has been laid down or stored in an area that may be infested or is within range of Hobos. The best way to prevent Hobo spiders from entering a home or dwelling is to eliminate the habitat that they flourish most in. Hobo spider webs are usually found low to the ground beneath rocks, in stacked fire wood, in leaf piles and on lawn ornaments and other debris.
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