The orb weavers are out in force

Earlier today, the SO wanted to go to the back yard. She thought she’d go out the back door and walk around, since the back screen door is a bit balky. She changed her mind, though.

The gnats are abundant this year. Actually, I don’t think I’ve seen so many gnats here. Also abundant are the orb weaver spiders. These guys, at rest, are between the size of a nickel and the size of a quarter. Their webs are between most of the bushes, and I can see them high in the trees. They’re all over the place. And they’re full of dead gnats. The insects seem too small for the arachnids to bother with, but many nibbles make a meal. (Is that a saying?)

The SO said the spiders are eating so many gnats, she doesn’t want to knock down their webs. She wants them to eat as many gnats as they can.

The biggest concentration of orb weavers I’ve ever seen was at the Saltair marina on the south shore of Great Salt Lake. Hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands and thousands of them. Creepy and cool at the same time.

nm … posted about cone-shaped webs, which I’m now horrified to learn belong to some not-so-nice species of spider…

Normally, my wife heads out with Raid and a broom and takes them down. :mad:

She won’t listen to reason. Now, I have one right on a window on the deck, and she has laid eggs. I have forbidden her to damage the egg sac, but I’m thinking I may move it to the shed for safekeeping. They won’t hatch until spring, and I’m not sure I can keep her from spraying it until then!

Oh, go and change it after I go out and find a Wiki article on funnel web spiders! Harumph!


So what are the spiders that build these huge 3-4 foot in diameter cocoon-like webs in the trees here in Maryland that kill off the branches on which they sit?

There was a decent sized golden orb weaver next to my house earlier this season. I’ve seen a few cat’s head ones too. Plenty of orchard spiders. I haven’t seen too many black widows yet this year, but they don’t build out in plain sight.

Terr, they’re probably caterpillars, not spiders.

I am talking 3-4 feet size, not inches. Those would be some BIG butterflies.

I like Orb-weavers. They will look at a tree branch, a chain-link fence and a gutter that form an 8 foot by 8 foot tunnel, and decide to build a web there. It’s cool to see a bug with that kind of ambition.

Many, many caterpillars. BTW, there’s only one group of butterflies that spin silk, and they live in Asia. Therefore, you’re seeing moth caterpillars.

The spiders around here (north side Chicago) seem prolific this summer. I always have one who likes a certain kitchen window, but this is my fourth summer in this apartment and this year there are about 5 of them in the same window. I also found a couple webs across the back door frame. I keep telling them I won’t bother them as long as they stay outside. Come inside, or even on the inside side of the window (where the sill is raised due to air conditioner), and they get the vacuum. They seem to be listening so far, but I’m not particularly thrilled with so many out there.

I was walking home the other night and spotted a web inside the awning of a nearby building, the kind of awning with built-in recessed lighting on the inside. I started to frame the web with my camera to see if I could get any kind of pic with it backlit like that, before I realized there were a few other webs right next to it. Then I took a step back and realized there were HUNDREDS of webs all along the awning, along two sides of the building. It kinda freaked me out and I went on my way without pictures.

I don’t know what kind of spiders they are, the same as what hangs in my one kitchen window (and now another window, plus the back door). Bulbous body, dark in color, weaves lovely orb webs every night, seems to dismantle it at or before dawn, and hides all day. People who visit in daytime have no idea what kind of spider population is around!

“If we pull this off, we’ll eat like kings.”

I keep trying to get the people I live with not to be afraid of garden spiders. There is nothing in Oregon that is going to hurt you that makes a “typical” spider web…but still, sadly, only one niece has come around.

Half my grapes ripened alot earlier than the other half so had a lot of flying stuff hanging around the split and getting rotten ones, I may have to take one of the overstuffed spiders I found in, some of the biggest I have seen.

Your yards look anything like this? It came from this thread last year.

I’m ok with discussing this topic as long as I don’t have to see them! I’ve seen orb-weavers and they seem pretty cool, as far as spiders go. But they still creep me out.

How do the eggs survive the winter?

Probably the gypsy moth caterpillar.

I used to see hundreds of these things all over the trees growing up on Long Island.

That looks right. Disgusting stuff.

My wife is in the nuke 'em from orbit school of thought. She really hates spiders. I only do them in if they’re inside the house, which isn’t often, but if they venture onto the porch, she’ll take them out. I think it stems from the day she saw a honey bee get caught in a web, and the spider came racing out and had it wrapped in silk in a matter of seconds.