Spider Question

So in the Seattle area we have our annual spider fun times. Every fall we tend to have thousands of new spider webs all over outdoors. I often get up in the morning and there will be a web between my truck and the adjacent bush for example. For about 3 or 4 weeks there are tons of webs.

Then the seem to disappear. There will be a few but it seems overnight thousands of spider disappear. My question is where do they go?

Do the majority die off? Eaten by other spiders? Birds? I thought maybe the webs in bad spots those spider got killed, but there doesn’t seem to be any common thread (heh) between those spiders that survive and those that disappear.

Any spider experts here with an explanation of where the missing spiders went? UFO’s?

This may be totally off topic but in the Spokane area we have a caterpillar that makes a web, it looks like it uses the web to descend from the trees resulting in long single threads covering everything. (The descending thing is just a guess from observation)

Some spider species, like the orb weavers that conquer Seattle, die out at the end of the summer/fall and their egg sacs provide the following year’s spawn. Others hibernate. Still others take part time jobs in banks or other financial institutions for reasons not fully understood.

They migrate to Portland where they grow even larger, and then my wife swats them. She’s the original “Crazy-Eyes Killah”.

Basically, some male spiders have been very busy and the females are ready to lay.

You description does sound like the garden orb weavers - the females’ webs get bigger and bigger towards the end of summer as the females mature. There are lots of similar species all over the world, but the best known is the barn spider, of *Charlotte’s Web *fame.

At the end of her life, the female will start leaving up the web more. During the rest of her life, she probably took it down quite often in the morning, and then rebuilt at night, so all that is left is the main thread across a path. But I have noticed mine get quite slack about this in the last few days or weeks of their lives. Then, the female will go off to lay the egg sac; she stays with it for a while and dies. The young hatch out, and if they survive the winter, they grow and it all goes on again. Less than 1% of spiders make it to breeding, so your webs are made by real survivers.

Absolutely stunning spiders to watch spin their webs each night.

thanks! I figured they either died or got eaten. I mean we had on our back porch/deck at least 40-50 spiders and now there are maybe 4-5 of them. I wasn’t sure if they attacked each other and only the strong survived. Or if birds or other predators got them. It just surprises me that every year there are tons of them mid September and by Oct 1 the vast majority disappear.

I love spider webs–from a distance. I think they are fantastically beautiful. I loathe walking through one though!

Obligatory cobweb joke.

No kidding about it being “spider season”. It’s autumn, and here on Vancouver Island, that means really big brown spiders and prominent webs everywhere. And man–those beasts are big. We currently have one hanging around the front of the carport that has almost become a member of the family. I call her “Roberta”. I feel like I should be inviting her in for dinner each night. I wander around outside, pre-emptively flailing my arms in front of me. I’d rather find the web with my arms than my face, thank you very much.

Here she is.

Roberta looks very nice! The more you watch her, the more you will discover how fascinating she is. Everyone should name and adopt their spiders. Incredible free entertainment. It’s the way I got over my arachophobia. I just overdid the cure. I spend hours every day and night with a torch in hand, watching the large numbers of web builders and burrowers I have located, named and got to know individually. Got so obsessed by spiders, I wrote a book about them.

Our spider season is just starting as spring is springing. A god few months until my tiny little orb weavers get to Roberta’s size, though.

You have my sincere admiration, lynne-42. Anyone who lives in Australia and appreciates spiders… I’ve seen pictures of huntsman spiders, and they’ve haunted my dreams ever since…

Why, oh, why do we feel such revulsion towards spiders, but not, say, moths, ladybugs, caterpillers, and so on? Or is it just me?

My husband once flung back the bedcovers and there was a wolf spider. He screamed like a little girl.

Me, I do my best to live and let live, and realise that spiders have a valued place in the ecosystem and eat lots of other bugs. But they still make me shudder. I fear Roberta, even as I let her live her life.

look, spiders perform a very important role in the environment. That role, of course, is “Boonga the Demon Creature.”*

I’d say it’s fairly common to be jumpy around critters that can bite or sting you before you know they’re there. Even though most spider bites aren’t dangerous, they can still be unpleasant. I’m just as jumpy around bees and wasps.

*shamelessly stolen from Dave Barry

It is interesting that huntsman are the most feared spiders here, yet harmless. We have many who can do a much more nasty bite. I think it is because huntsmen are unpredictable. One minute there’s an empty wall. Next minute, there’s a large huntsman on it. So where else are they? They also move rapidly and unpredictably. Plus, unlike other invertebrates, they really seem to be aware of us. They are. Being low down in the food chain, they need to be aware of predators. Of the hundreds of black house spiders I monitor on the webs which are never touched right along the back verandah, the vast majority are eaten by the wrens, who seem to think I am providing them with a smorgasbord.

Thank you for your admiration, Savannah. It is much appreciated because it was hard earned. I was an out-of-control arachnophobe waking the family with screams every night after nightmares about spiders. Living in Australia, you can’t avoid them. And we live in the bush, so my increasing arachnophobia was really interfering with my life. As a science writer, it’s a bit of a worry having an irrational fear of nature! So I started studying spiders - the little ones on the OTHER side of the window. Eventually the fear grew to fascination, and then to obsession. I MUCH prefer being obsessed than scared.

I dunno, I like spiders. I was out riding yesterday and saw 2 tarantulas. The boys of California are making their annual roam for the hot SpiderBabes. I had to stop and help one out of the road before he got splatted.

I am drop dead jealous, outlierrn. We don’t have your nice gentle tarantulas over here. Up north, they have some aggressive types, but not often seen and not very dangerous. Down here in Victoria, we don’t have any.

May I say, it is lovely to have a spider thread without endless, “shriek, kill 'em” type comments. The Dope is living up to its ‘fighting ignorance’ logo.

I got to do a little spiderphobe first aid in the ER last week. I was helping the doc splint a little girl’s arm and started working my usual magic of humor and distraction technique to finesse her through the process and I asked her what happened. She told me about the ‘giant,’ that is dimed sized, spider that caused her to fall and I spent a little time explaining the we’re the scary giants to them and a spider would never go looking for a little girl to hurt. I gave a similar speech to a little girl with a rattlesnake bite last summer. You never know if that sort of thing will stick, but a man can dream.

I just Stumbled Upon this very pretty iron(?) ode to spiders: perfect October gate.

The world needs more of you, outlierrn.

I want one!

Here’s a few photos I took today, Lynne-42, hope you enjoy. I put the shoe in for scale.

Spider Phobes might wanna pass, but honestly, California tarantulas are mostly harmless.


Thank you so much, outlierrn. I am even more jealous now. We have lot of spiders, but none with the slow majesty of the New World tarantulas. Thank you again.

spiders don’t bother me, surprisingly enough. i’ve held tarantulas in my hands. the only spiders I do tread carefully around are brown recluses, which are common here in indiana. those can be a serious problem if they bite you. i only see them occasionally, lucky for me, and not in the house.

in fact, i moved in to my new place the other day ago and met up with the resident wolf spider, after which i went about my business and so did she. she *was *there first. :stuck_out_tongue:

i’m not worried about her, despite her rather impressive size. wolf spiders keep the bug population down and they’re harmless to us bipeds. i can live with that. i also have cats. how long do you think it’ll be before my mighty hunting beasts find her? :smiley: