Black Widows are reclusive and can be found outdoors in fences, rock piles, wood piles, sheds and outdoor furniture. Indoor they are usually found in dark areas such as basements, crawlspaces and crevices.
Black Widows are very distinct in appearance. Females are about an 1 1/2 inches long and are known for their shiny black bodies with an hourglass-shaped red marking on their stomachs. Males are half the size, lighter in color, and have pink or red spots on their backs. Black Widows have slick legs that help them avoid getting caught in their own webs.
Black Widows can be further identified by their webs. They spin webs that are irregular and funnel-shaped. They are known to bite humans and their venom is 15 times more potent than a rattlesnake's. See Spider Services.
Hobo Spiders appeared in the Pacific Northwest at the port of Seattle during the 1930's.
Hobo Spiders are generally under 2 " long in leg span. They have two zigzag patterns down the side of their abdomens and have evenly colored legs.
Their webs are funnel-shaped but more regular in appearance than Black Widow webs. The webs are often built in or around human habitation. Hobos will lie in wait for their prey at the smaller end of the funnel.
Hobo Spider bites will feel like a pin prick. Redness will occur within 48 hours and then turn into a blister. The blister will burst and then scab up (see above photo). The bites will take months to heal and will often leave a scar. See Spider Services.
Giant House Spiders
Giant House Spiders are related to Hobo Spiders. Unlike the Hobo, the Giant House Spider does not have venom that affects humans. These spiders live up to their name - they are among the largest spiders that you can find in the Seattle / Puget Sound region. They are also one of the fastest spiders known to man; they can traverse 1.7 feet per second.
Giant House Spider bodies are about 3/4 of an inch in length and their leg span can reach over 3". They are somewhat hairy in appearance and are mostly brown in color.
Like the Hobo Spider, the Giant House Spider spins webs that are funnel-shaped, but they are flat and messy with a funnel only at the end. These spiders build their webs indoor and most often in corners such as floor and ceilings, behind cupboards, in attics and basements, or in any other area of the house that is infrequently disturbed. For more information see Spiders.
The Puget Sound region is host to many other species of spiders. The most common include many different types of House Spiders, Daddy Long Legs (pictured above), Wolf Spiders, Cross Spiders and Crab Spiders.
These spiders are harmless to humans and are only considered a pest because they and their webs are unsightly and a nuisance.
Wolf Spiders, House Spiders, and Daddy Long Legs usually can be found indoors, the Crab and Cross Spiders live outdoors. Crab Spiders are unusual in that they do not spin webs, they live inside flowers. For more information see Spiders.
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