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Possible Hobo Spider Bite

Discussion in 'True Spiders & Other Arachnids' started by Koshkot, Jul 5, 2019.

  1. Koshkot

    Koshkot Arachnopeon

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    My apologies if this is in the wrong forum, I'm new here.

    I had a recent encounter that I thought was interesting and thought I'd share. Three days ago I felt something itchy and found a bite similar to a mosquito bite but slightly more painful than itchy. I'd compare it to brushing up against a thorn. The pain subsided quickly and the itchiness stuck around. I didn't think much of it and thought it was probably a mosquito bite. My roommate mentioned seeing a hobo spider out and about though.

    Later the bite developed a very small ulcer with a crusty yellow scab on top. I discovered this while at work and thought it was atypical of a mosquito bite. I scratched off the scab and it oozed a little. As time pressed on the bite developed an odd rash around it and the skin became slightly raised and rough/hard. No swelling though.

    The next day lo and behold I find the hobo spider in my bedroom. I think I must have rolled on top of it while I was sleeping. I have no recollection of the actual bite.

    The reaction I had to the venom was minimal. The itchiness was less than a mosquito bite and if ignored and not scratched it responded well to icing. Incidentally the reaction may have been less as I am taking the prescription drug quetiapine (antipsychotic) which is also a strong antihistamine (significantly stronger than Benadryl). At this time it is only itchy if I scratch it.

    I took a picture of the bite for you guys. By the way, the rash is not likely an exacerbation of scratching as I have barely touched it. Sorry, I don't have a picture of the spider.
     

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  2. NYAN

    NYAN Arachnoking Active Member

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    Ok.

    Which state do you live in first off. Next, how did your roommate identify it? Did he flip the spider over and examine the reproductive structures with a microscope? This species of spider is mostly misidentified as many other species look like it.

    Sounds like something that may, or more likely may not be spider caused. Perhaps your mystery lesion became infected. The redness around it can be attributed to you scratching and picking at it, perhaps.

    Seeing a spider after experiencing something like this does not equal being bitten by it. This is exactly what Darwin Vest concluded with his pseudoscientific studies on hobo spiders.

    I experience the exact same thing personally. There are many spiders where I sleep also. They are not biting me multiple times a month though.

    One cannot diagnose a mystery skin lesion as a spider bite. It’s just not possible.

    Anyway, my thoughts on these types of situations are as follows:

    Spiders are not liked, and often feared by people. Spiders are also very common in homes. The average person will likely experience lesions and skin issues with an unknown cause. People hear about certain types of spiders in the news and from friends (recluses, hobo spiders, etc.). People decide to blame a spider, because why not? These people may go to a doctor and complain of a spider bite. The doctor may not know any better and agree with them. These tell their friends and such about their case of being ‘bitten’. The cycle continues.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
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  3. chanda

    chanda Arachnoprince Active Member

    Without catching the spider in the act of biting you, there is no way to know for certain that you were bit by a spider at all. There are a great many things - including a variety of insect bites, allergic reactions, hives, contact dermatitis, and bacterial or fungal skin infections - that can resemble a spider bite. Just because you saw a spider later (or because your roommate saw one earlier) does not mean that spider bit you.

    Anecdotal stories like yours are one of the main reasons that spiders (particularly spiders like the brown recluse) have such a bad reputation. Most spiders prefer to run away and/or hide, and will bite only as a last resort, so actual spider bites are rare - but reports of spider bites are very common. What happens is that someone develops a mysterious lump, bump, lesion, or ulcerating sore. They later see a spider (or remember having seen spiders in the past) and assume that spider is the culprit - then go telling their friends and family - or the internet community at large - about the "spider bite" they suffered, spreading misinformation. Just do a quick Google search on "recluse bite" and you'll see dozens of pictures of horrible open wounds - most of which are misdiagnosed staph infections or other bacterial infections with no demonstrable link to an actual spider.

    My mom spent years complaining about the hobo spiders in her house - and the bites she would suffer. We pretty much accepted what she said because it was an old farm house with a very healthy spider population - particularly in the basement - which did include hobo spiders. Then came the year she cleaned out the basement - and was complaining about the dozens of "hobo spider bites" she received in the process. Fair enough. If she's digging through a spider-infested basement, carrying old boxes - and armloads of old firewood that my grandfather had stored down there decades ago - it is not unreasonable to think that she might be bit by some of the displaced spiders, particularly if they were trapped between her skin and whatever it was she was carrying. Then she started describing her symptoms: red, painful bumps that would ooze fluid and scab over. So far, so good. But then she started mentioning how the "venom" would go dormant - a bite would heal, then spontaneously recur, with a new "bite" popping up - and how the venom was spreading under her skin, with new bites popping up in proximity to the original bite. Wait, what?!? Venom doesn't do that! The final piece clicked in when she started telling us how she could see little red lines where the "venom" was traveling under her skin. My sister and I had to basically bully her into seeing an actual doctor, because her thought was "It's just a spider bite - the doctor isn't going to do anything anyway." Of course, what she actually had was a staph infection. A round of antibiotics cleared it right up! Yet - a few years later, when she was visiting me and developed similar symptoms - she was once again absolutely convinced that a spider had been trapped under her clothing and given her dozens of bites. It was, of course, another staph infection - and responded immediately to antibiotics. Turns out, not only were the majority of her "spider bites" most likely other skin infections - but the "hobo spiders" she was sure were infesting her house weren't even hobo spiders! (At least not all of them.) She was using the enlarged pedipalps of the mature male spiders to identify hobo spiders - because they looked like the bindles that were carried by the stereotypical hobos in old movies or tv shows - and identifying pretty much all male spiders as hobos!
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2019
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  4. korg

    korg Arachnobaron

    Like others are saying, there's no real reason to think you were bitten by a spider here... many of the claims you see about hobo spiders, being bitten while sleeping, etc are just alarmist. Check out this video if you want to see how incredibly difficult it is to get a hobo spider to bite defensively, even when specifically provoking it to the maximum:

     
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  5. NYAN

    NYAN Arachnoking Active Member

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    Heresy!


    Just a few (in the context of loxoscelism):
    7D47A82D-722A-4027-89A5-01425D45245E.jpeg
     
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  6. NYAN

    NYAN Arachnoking Active Member

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    Also, for the record, HOBO SPIDERS ARE HARMLESS. There’s no evidence to suggest they can cause necrotic lesions.
     
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  7. Koshkot

    Koshkot Arachnopeon

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    Woah guys calm down. That's why I said "possible" bite. If this was a true bite, it would have been the only spider bite I've had in my entire life. I like spiders and don't fear them. I haven't ruled out other causes, but I did look up what the typical progression/timeline of a possible bite was and found it congruent. That doesn't mean it is an absolute diagnosis. I agree that it is unlikely and looked up recent research saying that hobo spiders are likely harmless and their PR is mostly fear induced hype.

    But I also can't conclude that it is impossible for it to be true. Rare yes, but possible. I understand the concern for having good PR for spiders as the are frequently unnecessarily killed. I have kept giant constrictors for years and despite raising gentle snakes from birth I cannot deny that my rosy boas (as an example), which are very difficult to provoke, are able to bite me. Accidents happen.

    That being said I thought posting this would actually help hobo spiders because I DID NOT have a major reaction to a bite. It was very minor and I wanted to emphasize that if indeed this was a hobo spider bite the discomfort I felt was less than a mosquito bite. I didn't mean to upset anyone.

    Fyi, I live in eastern Washington.
     
  8. RTTB

    RTTB Arachnoprince

    I hope you heal up ok and thanks for coming here to share and get advice.
     
  9. Garetyl

    Garetyl Arachnoknight Active Member

    That looks more like an infected horsefly or mosquito bite. My brother's allergic, and he tends to get rashes just like that when bitten.
     
  10. The Snark

    The Snark هرج و مرج مهندس Old Timer

    Here is an oddity. A co-worker of my Sis had recurrent injury's like the initial post described after going to the shooting range. I'm trying to find a pic she sent me. Anyway, another cop at their station by chance had a wonky idea and did a nitrate test on him. Positive of course. A follow up with a dermatologist and an immunologist tentatively determined hypersensivity to nitrates or a chemical compound created by the high pressure ignition of one of the chemicals in common smokeless gun powder. Only took a few micro-particles on his skin to trigger the reaction.

    So it seems the moral of the story is the immune system can throw a huge variable into the equation in determining the initial MOI.

    I'll second that.
     
  11. Smokehound714

    Smokehound714 Arachnoking Active Member

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    that's a secondary infection and it's obvious you've been picking at it.