We get many spiders around here this time of year. I'm worried about specific large brown ones like in enclosed picture. Among other places, they love our hot tub. Is this a Hobo spider or a harmless giant house spider? And, how can you tell the difference? Thank you.
Many spiders are out and about during late summer and fall. Often they are males looking for females. Your spider is neither a hobo or a giant spider, which are both Tegenaria species. It is a grass spider and may be either a Hololena species (legs are banded) or Agelenopsis species (legs are brown).
You can find a discussion of the differences among these spiders, along with excellent photos, in “How to identify (or misidentify) the hobo spider” http://pep.wsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/7/2015/05/PLS116_1.pdf. The final differentiation between a hobo and a giant spider is made by examining the enlarged palps with either a 10X hand lens or a dissecting microscope.
Oh, thank you so much! This relieves my mind. I was afraid it was a Hobo spider.