Color: reddish-brown, gray, plum, brightly colored, or multicolored.
If you notice a large, circular web in your yard or home in Austin, Texas, or Charlotte, North Carolina, you probably have an orb-weaver spider infestation. While they’re usually harmless, these spiders may be unwelcome because of their unsightly appearance and the webs they create. Check out this detailed guide to learn how to get rid of orb-weaver spiders.
What Is an Orb-Weaver Spider?
The orb-weaver spider group consists of more than 2,800 species, making them difficult to distinguish from one another and other spider groups. Similar to other spiders, an orb-weaver spider features a cephalothorax, which is the fusion of the head and thorax, as well as fang-like mouthparts, an abdomen, and eight legs. Many species have spiny or hairy legs and a sizable abdomen that overlaps the rear end of the cephalothorax. Nocturnal species are generally gray, tan, or brown, while diurnal ones may exhibit bright colors such as yellow, orange, or red.
However, the most recognizable characteristic of an orb-weaver spider isn’t its appearance but rather its webs. Typically, this type of spider constructs neat, circular-grid webs that resemble the webs commonly depicted in Halloween decorations. These webs comprise radial silk strands that are similar to the spokes of a wheel and concentric circular strands that connect the spokes. The web of an orb-weaver is very large, measuring up to 3 feet across.
What Are the Common Types of Orb-Weaver Spiders?
As mentioned, there are thousands of species of orb-weaver spiders. Nonetheless, some of them exist in larger numbers in the United States. Below are a few of the most common orb-weavers:
Garden orb-weaver spiders: Garden orb-weavers are the most commonly seen orb-weaver spiders in the country. Females measure 0.8 inch-1.2 inches in length, while males are 0.6-0.8 inch long. Reddish-brown or gray, most of these spiders have a stout body and a fat, roughly triangular abdomen with a leaf-shaped pattern and two noticeable bumps. Sometimes, they may feature a dorsal stripe that’s entirely white or white with brown edges.
Golden orb-weaver spiders: With a length of 0.8 inch-1.6 inches, female golden orb-weaver spiders are larger than most other species of orb-weavers. They have silvery gray or plum bodies and brownish-black and often yellow-banded legs. Males are much smaller than females, measuring only 0.2 inch in length. They’re reddish-brown or brown.
Humped orb-weaver spiders: Also known as silver orb-weaver spiders, these orb-weavers get their name from the rounded “shoulder” humps on their abdomens. They’re easy to identify, thanks to their silvery bodies with black and yellow or green markings. They have a body length of about 0.4 inch and long legs.
How Do Orb-Weaver Spiders Get Inside Your Home?
Orb-weaver spiders can accidentally get inside your home through windows or doors. If you reside in a wooded area, you’re more likely to get an orb-weaver infestation because you’re located in an ideal spider habitat. Adult orb-weavers are more commonly seen from midsummer to the beginning of freezing weather.
Some species of orb-weaver spiders prefer to live in tall grass, shrubs, and trees. As such, they may hide in the yards of apartments and hotels and sometimes wander indoors. These spiders also tend to construct webs in outdoor stairwells or close to buildings or structures with outdoor lighting. Orb-weavers often stay near a well-lit place so that they can conveniently feed on insects that are attracted to light.
How To Detect an Orb-Weaver Spider Infestation
If you want to know for sure if orb-weaver spiders have invaded your home, you should keep an eye out for the following signs:
Webs: As mentioned earlier, orb-weaver spiders create distinctive webs that are large and circular. Some species, such as yellow garden spiders, construct webs with a zigzag stripe. If you find any such webs around your home, there may be orb-weavers nearby.
Adult orb-weavers: Adult orb-weaver spiders are often seen resting in the middle of their webs facing downward. They’re relatively easy to recognize because of their size.
Spiderlings: Baby orb-weavers remain in egg sacs throughout winter and then emerge at the beginning of spring. They’re really tiny, so they often go unnoticed.
Egg sacs: Female orb-weaver spiders lay teardrop-shaped eggs on webs, in cracks or crevices, and under the bark of dead trees. If you live near nature, you may come across them in fall.
What Problems Do Orb-Weaver Spiders Cause?
Although they may look somewhat intimidating, orb-weaver spiders are actually beneficial. These spiders feed on a variety of insects that are regarded as pests, so they serve as a natural form of pest control. However, some species have the habit of weaving webs at face level, which can be unpleasant for people who walk into them.
Orb-weavers very rarely bite, but they may attack you if you handle them roughly or walk close to their egg sacs. Bites from these arachnids are technically venomous, but they’re actually quite harmless. Nevertheless, they can cause severe symptoms for people with allergies.
How To Keep Orb-Weaver Spiders Out of Your Home
Orb-weaver spiders can move indoors through openings around your home. Therefore, you have to make sure your doors and windows are properly sealed and that your screens are in good condition. Regularly maintaining the landscaping near entryways can deter orb-weavers from creating webs in high-traffic areas.
In addition, you may want to consider replacing your outdoor lighting with anti-insect bulbs. By switching to these bulbs, you can reduce the number of insect prey for orb-weavers, causing them to move to another location.