About Oregon spiders
- Oregon has at least 500 species of spiders.
- Black widow spiders may be the only potentially harmful spider in Oregon.
- Spider bites are not common.
- Spiders help people by eating the insects that eat our food, invade our homes, and are vectors for disease.
- The most common spiders submitted for identification at the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) are the hobo spider (Eratigena agrestis) and giant house spider (Eratigena atrica).
In late summer and fall it is common to see large brown spiders and orb web weavers in Oregon homes and gardens. These spiders are not harmful and will become less noticeable when cold temperatures return. Please check our photo album and resources below before submitting a spider for identification.
How to send in a spider specimen for identification:
- Kill the spider: Place it in a container and put it in the freezer, or submerge the spider in rubbing alcohol in a small leak-proof container.
- Prepare a frozen spider for the mail: Place a tissue in the container with the spider to prevent it from breaking. Allow for airflow in the container if the spider is not completely dry (e.g. poke some holes in the container).
- Prepare a submerged spider for the mail: Spiders mailed in rubbing alcohol need to be in leak-proof containers.
- Package the spider: Use a crush-proof container (e.g. film canisters or pill bottles). Do not send live spiders.
- Mail the spider to ODA using the contact information on this page.
Spider bites are not common
Spiders bite people in
self-defense, but otherwise have no interest in biting something they cannot
eat. Very few spiders are capable of causing injuries to people. You are
not likely to receive more than one or two bites in a lifetime.
- If you didn’t see a spider bite you, then the mark, bite, or lesion is most likely from another source.
- If a spider did bite you, it may be a dry bite, meaning there is no venom.
- If it is a venomous bite, the amount of toxin will vary from spider to spider, even within the same species.
- Rarely, serious allergic reactions can occur.
- Spider identification may help to determine what type of treatment is needed, primarily if the spider is identified as a black widow.
How to reduce contact with spiders in your home
Myths, misconceptions, and superstitions about spiders
Oregon Spiders: Facts and Fiction
Basic information on Oregon spiders (including the hobo) with photos. Oregon spiders handout
Oregon Spiders: Hobo, Giant House, Black Widow, and Yellow Sac Spiders
Information on these four Oregon spiders (with photos). Document
General information about spider bites Website
University of California IPM Online - How to manage pests: Hobo spider
Hobo spider identification, medical aspects, management Website