Orb Weavers: What You Need to Know

Orb Weavers: What You Need to Know

Orb weaver spiders, or orb weavers, are a group of spiders named for their ability to produce round, orb-like webs. They make up the family Araneidae, one of the most diverse groups of arachnids in terms of both size and appearance. Despite their differences, they all have one thing in common: their ability to create large, majestic webs. These webs are circular in shape with grids similar to the spokes of a wheel. Some webs can even measure up to 3 feet in diameter. Let’s take an in depth look to learn all you need to know about orb weavers.

Appearance

Orb weavers have body types similar to other spiders with 8 legs; 2 body parts (a cephalothorax and abdomen), and chelicera (mouthparts that look like fangs). They range in size from 1.5 to 3 cm. Some are brightly colored, while others are brown or gray. They have large abdomens and hairy legs.

Behavior

Orb weavers are typically nocturnal and will often build or repair their webs at night. They do not hunt or wander for their food. Instead, they utilize their expansive web making skills to catch their prey. They will usually sit in their webs after they are built waiting for prey to become ensnared. Sometimes they will hide nearby and leave a trigger line of silk connected to the web. The vibrations from the prey run down the line and alert them. They will then bite and paralyze their prey and wrap it in silk to save for dinner later. Orb weavers are most commonly seen in late summer and early fall.

Diet

An orb weaver’s diet usually consists of small insects like moths, wasps, beetles, flies, and mosquitoes. Larger spiders will also eat small frogs and hummingbirds.

Habitat

Orb weavers will take up residence where there is an abundance of prey for them to eat. They can often be found around outdoor lights, tall grass, weeds, fences, bushes, and walls. They can be found in any environment including gardens, grasslands, and cities. Orb weavers are found on every continent except Antarctica and in the Arctic. There are 2800 species worldwide and 180 species in North America.

Prevention is not necessary with orb weavers unless their web is constructed in an inconvenient area or an area with high human traffic. In fact, they can be beneficial to have around as they help keep other pests under control around your home. They don’t cause structural damage and they rarely bite (only if threatened and they cannot escape). Their bite has been compared to a bee sting. You can reduce the chances of having orb weavers around by:

  • Eliminating their food sources by keeping other pest populations under control around your home
  • Sealing any cracks, gaps, and crevices in the exterior of your home
  • Removing ground litter
  • Keeping grass and bushes trimmed

If you have a problem with orb weavers or any other pests, contact your local pest control company for an evaluation and treatment plan.

 

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What Is A Joro Spider?

What Is A Joro Spider?

The Joro spider, also known as Trichonephila clavata, is a member of the recognizable orb weaver family. These particular spiders are characterized by their large size (up to 3 inches in length with their legs extended) and yellow and blue-black striped backs with red undersides. Joro spiders are known for constructing large, wagon-wheel shaped webs that are a golden color. These webs can be several feet in length.

Joro spiders are native to Asia, particularly Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan. In 2014, the first instance of the Joro spider in North America was confirmed in North Georgia. Subsequent sightings have been confirmed as far away as Greenville, South Carolina. It is unclear how and when these spiders first arrived here in Georgia but researchers believe they are here to stay. In fact, researchers have confirmed their presence in at least 25 counties in the state.

Joro spiders are not considered harmful to humans or pets. They will bite when provoked but are not considered a threat. Joros are beneficial to have around as they are one of the only species known to eat adult brown marmorated stinkbugs. They also help keep mosquito and other nuisance pest populations in check. Joro spiders do have predators in our area; both birds and wasps will eat them.

The jury is still out on whether or not there will be any long-term ramifications on local ecosystems. One thing all the researchers agree on is that the Joro spider is likely here to stay.

 

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Are Orb Weaver Spiders Venomous?

Are Orb Weaver Spiders Venomous?

Orb weaver spider is the collective name for a group of spiders in the family Araneidae. This diverse group of arachnids are famous for the large, Halloween-inspired webs they create. Are orb weavers venomous? Should we be concerned when we encounter one in our yard or garden? The short answer to these questions is yes, they are venomous but no, they aren’t dangerous to humans. Let’s take a closer look at this fascinating species of spider.

Orb weavers are large spiders that are most commonly seen in late summer and early fall. They eat small insects like flies, moths, wasps, mosquitoes, and beetles. Around your home, orb weavers can often be found near outdoor lights, in tall grass and weeds, on tree branches, fences, walls, and bushes. There are 180 species of orb weaver spiders in North America alone. They are found throughout the world on every continent except Antarctica. Many species of orb weavers are bright yellow or orange in color while others are a dull gray or brown.

Orb weavers are not hunters or wanderers. They are typically nocturnal spiders and will build or repair their webs at night. Many species will tear down and eat their webs at dawn to both consume the dew that catches on them for hydration and to keep larger animals like birds from tearing down their webs. Orb weaver webs are large, circular grid webs that look like the spokes of a wagon wheel connected by concentric circular strands. These webs can measure up to 3 feet in diameter. These spiders will sit in their webs and wait for prey. Once captured, they will bite and paralyze their victim and warp them in silk to consume later.

While orb weaver spiders can bite and are venomous, they are not considered a threat to humans. In fact, they are beneficial to have around your home as they eat other nuisance pests and help keep their populations under control. These spiders are very docile and non-aggressive. They will usually flee when threatened but will bite if necessary. The bite of an orb weaver has been compared to a bee sting.

While they don’t threaten humans or structures, they can be unsightly and their webs can be a hindrance if built in a high traffic area. If you have a problem with spiders or any other pests, contact your local pest control company for assistance with pest control and prevention.

 

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10 Common Spiders in Georgia

10 Common Spiders in Georgia

The climate of Georgia (and the southern United States in general) provide the ideal environment for several species of spiders. The humidity and subtropical conditions provide just the right setting for these pests to thrive. Almost all species of spiders found in the United States pose no threat to humans. In fact, of the 38 known species of spiders in Georgia, only 2 are harmful to humans. Here are 10 of the most common spiders found in Georgia and the threat they may pose to you and your family.

Black Widow

Black widow
Black widow spiders are black and shiny in color with a prominent red hourglass shape on their back. They are most often found around woodpiles and can easily access your home by hitching a ride inside on your firewood. They are also found in common places around your home where they can be undisturbed like eaves, empty boxes, and even shoes that are stored away and never worn. Black widows can be harmful to humans if bitten. While males rarely bite, females have been known to be aggressive especially when they are guarding their eggs. Black widow bite symptoms include fever, elevated blood pressure, nausea, and sweats. Death is uncommon after a black widow bite, especially if treatment is received quickly. In fact, there has not been a black widow related death in the United States in over 10 years.

Brown Recluse


Brown recluse spiders are light to dark brown in color (hence their name) with a signature dark brown violin shape on their backs. They are commonly found outdoors in debris and woodpiles. If they are found indoors, they are usually found underneath furniture, inside storage bins, and in dark recesses like baseboards. They are often found hiding out in closets, attics, and crawlspaces. Brown recluse spiders will bite when on the defensive. These bites are very painful and often leave an open, ulcerating sore that must be treated by a medical professional. Other symptoms include fever, restlessness, and difficulty sleeping.

Common House Spider

House Spider
House spiders vary in color but most are yellow to brown in color with elongated abdomens. They are most often found inside homes (hence their name) usually in ceiling corners, under furniture, and inside closets, basements, garages, and crawlspaces. When outdoors, they are often found around windows, under eaves, and near light sources. While they can be a nuisance to have in your home, they don’t pose any threat to humans. Because of the low humidity and fewer insects in modern homes, house spiders are becoming less common in houses and more likely to be found in garages, sheds, barns, and warehouses.

Wolf Spider

Wolf spider
Wolf spiders are typically dark brown in color with pale markings or stripes. Their legs are long and spiny and most have hair on their bodies. When indoors, wolf spiders typically stay on or near the floor, especially along walls and under furniture. They often come inside on firewood. When found outside they are usually found under firewood piles, leaves, yard debris, and stones and will often hide in these places during the day. While wolf spiders can bite, these incidents are rare and they don’t pose a significant threat to humans. Wolf spiders are unique in that they don’t capture their prey in webs but rather by chasing them down using their speed.

Crevice Spider

Crevice Spider
Crevice spiders have similar shapes and coloring as brown recluse spiders and are, in fact, often mistaken for them. While they do have the same light to dark brown coloring and similar body shape, they do not have the signature violin-shaped markings that the brown recluse has. They are often found in corners and crevices which is where their name comes from, typically located in ceiling corners, along baseboards, and in window frames. They can be beneficial to homeowners as they eat common household pests like flies, roaches, beetles, and wasps. While they can bite if threatened, this is very rare and they do not pose a significant threat to humans.

Yellow Garden Spider

Yellow Garden Spider
The yellow garden spider is a large, black and yellow spider that is known for spinning large circular webs. Females are black with bright yellow patches on their abdomens. Males are smaller with less yellow coloring on their abdomens. They are typically found outdoors in sunny areas with plants on which they can anchor their webs (hence their name). Garden spiders don’t pose a threat to humans (other than the chance of walking through their sometimes significantly large webs) but they do produce venom that is harmless to humans, but helps to immobilize prey like flies, bees, and other flying insects that are caught in the web.

Orb Weaver Spider

Orb Weaver Spider
Orb weaver spiders can vary in size and coloring but are often mistaken for brown recluse spiders. They are known for creating distinctive sheet webs with an escape tunnel at the rear. These webs can be up to 3 feet in diameter. Many orb weavers are brightly colored, have hairy or spiny legs and a relatively large abdomen. Orb weavers are typically nocturnal spiders and many species will build or do repair work on their webs at night. Orb weavers do not pose a threat to humans. They will bite if cornered but the bite is comparable to a bee sting.

Lynx Spider

Lynx Spider
The lynx spider is bright green in color, resembling the color of a plant leaf. They will also sometimes have orange on their legs and black dots, as well. Their legs are covered in long black spines. They are very quick in movement and are able to jump large distances to capture their prey. They are often found in open fields, especially those with tall grass surroundings. The lynx spider can be quite useful in agricultural management. They will bite if on the defensive but they do not pose a significant threat to humans.

Trapdoor Spider

Trapdoor Spider
The trapdoor spider is a large, hairy spider that can range in color from yellowish brown to reddish brown to black. They have powerful jaws and sharp fangs. Trapdoor spiders get their name from the burrows they construct with a cork-like trapdoor made of soil, vegetation and silk. They spend most of their lives underground and usually hunt at night. Trapdoor spiders are not aggressive and, in fact, are often timid when confronted. They can bite but this is rare. They do not pose a significant threat to humans.

Hobo Spider

Hobo Spider
The hobo spider is light to medium brown in color with a down the center with an oblong abdomen. Hobo spiders build funnel webs that open at both ends with one end expanding outward into a broad, slightly curved sheet. Mating season is from June to October and the wandering of males in search of a mate brings them in to much more contact with humans than females. Therefore, male hobo spiders are responsible for more bites than females because of this increased contact with humans. Their bites, however, do not pose a significant threat to humans. Hobo spiders can be found in almost any habitat. They are commonly found in places with holes, cracks, or crevices. They are terrible climbers and are rarely found above ground level. They prefer dark, moist environments like basements, crawlspaces, and window wells.

Granddaddy Longlegs

Granddaddy Longlegs
Contrary to popular belief, Granddaddy Longlegs are not, in fact, spiders; they actually belong to a group of arachnids known as harvesters or harvestmen. The predominant feature of harvesters including the granddaddy longlegs is legs that are exceptionally long in relation to their body size. Harvesters are usually seen around harvest time – hence their name. Just in North America alone there are about 150 species of granddaddy longlegs. They use their extremely long legs to catch their prey rather than building webs. Granddaddy longlegs are not poisonous or venomous and do not pose any threat to humans.

Whether they are dangerous to humans or not, most people would prefer to keep spiders out of their homes as much as possible. The best way to prevent spiders from taking up residence in your house is to get rid of any areas where they can hide. Spiders are more common in the fall and winter as they make their way indoors in search of food and warmth. Keep your garage, attic, and basement clear and decluttered. Try not to leave shoes and clothing on the floor. Seal any cracks and crevices around your home. Consider enclosing your crawlspace and sweep down any cobwebs that appear. As always, if you suspect you have a spider problem, contact a professional pest control company who can help identify the type of spiders you have and provide you with a thorough evaluation and treatment and prevention plan.

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