How to Treat Hobo Spider Bite?
A hobo spider belongs to the Eratigena agrestis family, which is also known as funnel spiders (1). They are called the funnel family because they weave webs in the shape of a funnel. Hobo spiders are poisonous, and hobo spider bite causes severe damage to the skin.
This article gives more information on the hobo spider bites as well as their identification, symptoms, treatments, and prevention tips.
What is Hobo Spider and a Hobo Spider Bite?
A hobo spider is a hunting spider found in the Pacific Northwest region, which consists of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah. The hobo spider has this name because they are often found on railroad tracks; however, they are also found in holes, cracks, under debris, construction supplies, and around building foundations.
Hobo spider measures between 12 and 18 mm in length. They are brown with distinct yellow chevron markings on the abdomen.
People do call it an aggressive house spider, but this name is misleading. Hobo spiders are found inside homes, but houses are not their natural habitat. These spiders are also not aggressive unless they are catching a prey or trapped against the skin.
These two instances prompt a hobo spider to bite. It is important to take into consideration that spiders would rather run than bite. These spiders are often confused with the brown recluse spider. Also, these spiders share similar characteristics of other common spiders.
Is Hobo Spider Bite Dangerous?
As stated in the previous section, the only time a hobo spider will bite is when it is provoked. Certain scenarios would promote aggressiveness in hobo spiders.
One of such scenario is protecting their egg sacs. A US laboratory studied the effect of hobo spider bites on rabbits. The study concluded that hobo spider venom is very dangerous.
The hobo spider bites left lesions on the rabbits, and the venom could result in necrosis in humans.
What does Hobo Spider Bite Look Like?
Even though the hobo spiders do contain venom, another set of studies show that half of hobo spider bites are dry. Dry bites mean poison didn’t enter the skin. The usual symptoms of a venomous bite do not occur in the event of a dry bite. One may not even notice a dry bite.
On the other hand in a venomous bite, the area will turn red and get inflamed. The bite will look like a mosquito bite within the first 24 hours. Then, a blister will form at the center of the bite.
The blister will entirely or partially break open with liquid oozing out. The last stage is an ulceration, which can last up to three weeks and leaves a scar.
Hobo Spider Bite Vs. Other Insect Bite
Hobo spider bites have similar characteristics like other insect bites, but you can distinguish a hobo spider bite from other insect bites.
Hobo spider bites feel warm and look like mosquito bites within the first 24 hours. You can see the below characteristics 24 hours after being bitten by the hobo spider:
- A blister occurs at the location of the bite. It breaks open and liquid comes out of the area. The breaking of the blister turns into an ulceration.
- Even though hobo spider bites are minor, some of these bites result in an erupted lesion or flesh hole. A flesh hole is due to dead tissue.
- The size of the flesh hole ranges from a pea to a half-dollar. It can be bigger in some cases.
- The dead tissue will eventually peel to reveal the underlying tissues of the bite.
- The sunken area of the skin can take between three weeks to months to recover. It tends to leave a scar too.
Symptoms Associated with Hobo Spider Bite
Hobo spider bites are painless, yet they are dangerous. Majority of bites from these spiders are dry and do not produce acute symptoms. It is best to keep in mind that these spiders are poisonous.
Hobo spider poisoning is also called tegenarism, and it could lead to scarring of the skin. There are other symptoms that show when venom is injected into the skin.
The symptoms of hobo spider bite are listed below:
- Immediate redness of the area (it goes away after a few hours)
- Temporary memory loss
- Vision issues
Treatments for Hobo Spider Bite
To treat a hobo spider bites, you can initially opt for first aid and then take medical treatment. First aid can be done by any individual to help relieve pain and delay the spread of venom.
Treatments are administered by medical professionals to avoid further complications.
1. First Aid
If someone is bitten by a hobo spider, the first step is to keep calm and apply first aid. Here are some of the first aid methods:
- Remind the person to stay calm and not panic.
- Wash the area and bandage it. Place a bandage on the bitten area after washing it with soap, alcohol, or other astringent.
- Take a pain reliever, such as ibuprofen. Topical pain relievers, such as benzocaine, can relieve severe pain.
- Place a cold compress on the area. A cold compress can delay the absorption of venom.
Another important step to try is catching the spider. This action helps identify the spider bite. If the spider is identified as a hobo, a doctor can recommend the treatment accordingly
2. Other Treatments
Treatments for a hobo spider bites are the same as a brown recluse spider since they almost have the same envenomation. Here are some standard treatments for these spider bites:
- Remove the venom from bite area. This treatment should be done by a medical professional immediately after the bite. The medical professional will remove the venom surgically after determining that it is a hobo spider bite. Do not attempt to remove the venom yourself.
- Take or apply corticosteroids. Corticosteroids can be taken orally or used topically within the 24 hour period of the bite. They can relieve inflammation.
- Take antibiotics. Antibiotics prevent bacterial infection of the bitten area. A doctor will prescribe antibiotics to speed up the healing process and avoid further complications.
How to Prevent Hobo Spider Bite?
Like any other spiders, hobo spiders bite to defend themselves. A typical scenario is when a hobo spider is trapped against a person’s skin and another object. They do not purposely bite humans. Here are some prevention tips for hobo spider bites:
- Clean up rubbish or piles around your home. These piles are ideal hiding places for hobo spiders.
- Learn to identify poisonous spiders to avoid them easily.
- If tools are kept in sheds and garages, seal the tools in plastic bags to prevent an encounter.
- When working in attics, basements, crawl spaces, garages, and sheds, wear protective clothing. Protective clothing includes long sleeved shirts, gloves, and pants tucked into boots.
- Trap the spider under a jar and slid a paper under the opening. The process helps identify the spider and remove it safely from home.
- Seal up cracks in windows and make sure window screens fit snugly into the frame.
It is always better to take precautions rather than getting bit by a hobo spider. In case you identify a hobo spider bite, seek medical advice to avoid further complications.