If you’ve ever wandered through a forested area or searched through a dusty, cluttered attic, odds are you’ve run straight into a spider web. These sticky traps are meant to help some spiders catch the small prey that make up a spider’s diet, like flies, moths and mosquitoes; but the open, transparent nature of spider webs also makes them an easy obstacle for preoccupied homeowners. Whether you’re terrified of spider webs or fascinated by them, how spiders build their webs is just one of many interesting facts about these pests.
Types of Spider Webs
Just like the 35,000 different species of spiders in the world, not all types of spider webs were created equal. The most recognizable type of spider web is the orb-weaver spider’s web, which often resembles a spiral or a wheel. Made from silk dragline threads, orb-weavers spin their webs by placing symmetrical spokes around the diameter of their web. Then, they weave individual strands between the spokes until the web resembles a complex spiral. This type of web ha s been used in popular culture for decades; most notably, Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web is an orb-weaver spider that spins a symmetrical, spiral web.
Another common type of spider web frequently seen around the home is the cobweb. Often built by black widows, American house spiders, and other species of small- to medium-sized cobweb spiders, cobwebs are sticky, messy masses of silk that can often be found in tall corners and within dark, cluttered rooms. Because most cobweb spiders are reclusive and wait on their webs to catch prey, it can be rare to find a cobweb spider wandering through your home.
Funnel webs are another type of web that is aptly named: funnel-web spiders build cone-like webs that help these spiders catch their prey. A large, dense entrance of non-sticky webbing invites potential prey in, and the funnel-web spider emerges from the “throat” of the web to bite its prey and bring it down to its retreat to feed on. Unlike orb-weaver spiders, who painstakingly build detailed and orderly webs, funnel-web spiders weave disorganized masses of silk.
Do Spiders Eat Their Webs?
Not all spiders approach building or inhabiting their webs in the same ways. While some spiders are known to build intricate webs, others craft their webs from disorganized collections of silk. Additionally, some species of orb-weaver spiders build new webs every day and dismantle it at the end of each night. However, there is no evidence that spiders also consume their own webs.
Web Construction and More
Because orb-weaver spiders build large webs that can measure up to three feet in diameter, these creatures spend less time on the construction of the web. Instead, hundreds of eggs laid inside them, these egg sacs can become very large, especially for spiders located in tropical areas. Each year, adult orb-weaver spiders die out and leave their egg sac behind, leaving the spiderlings to hatch in the spring and leave the web on their own.
While orb-weavers clean up their own webs, the same cannot be said for all spiders. Be it cobwebs or funnel webs, many species of spiders can leave behind a messy, sticky web that is difficult to clean up.
Fortunately, the professionals at Terminix can help. From common house spiders to black widows, our service technicians at Terminix are trained to identify the common hiding spots of spiders and provide a comprehensive treatment plan to treat all infested rooms of your home. To help protect your home from spiders, whether they’re web-eating spiders or not, contact Terminix.