Currently viewing the category: "Orb Weavers"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Invasive Argentine Ants
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
August 27, 2016
Dating back to our relocation to Los Angeles in 1980, the editorial staff of What’s That Bug? has been plagued by colonies of invasive Argentine Ants, Iridomyrmex humilis.  If we had the time to devote ourselves to the elimination of one invasive species in California, it would be the Argentine Ant.  They are a pervasive pest species that we have always believed are the same Ants that play such an important role in the magnificent 20th Century novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez when they carry off a newborn baby.  Argentine Ants are most troublesome in the summer, during the hottest days when they enter homes to find water, but swarm around cat food, any sweets or fatty foods left out, or any dead bugs that ended their lives as cat toys.  We believe they are one of the biggest threats to native species wherever they proliferate.  According to Clemson University:  “Argentine ants are not native to the United States.  They were introduced to the US probably on coffee ships from Brazil and Argentina through the port of New Orleans sometime before 1891. They spread rapidly on commercial shipments of plants and other materials.  Now Argentine ants are found throughout most of the southern states and California, with isolated infestations in a few other areas.  Argentine ants have been very successful.  They are common in urban areas and can nest in diverse types of habitats. They can produce large numbers of offspring and survive on a wide variety of food. They often live on friendly terms with other neighboring colonies of the same species, but may eliminate some other ant species.”  Argentine Ants farm Aphids and move them from plant to plant.  We have also found Argentine Ants associated with other pestiferous Hemipterans that secrete honeydew.  We would love to hear any control methods our readers can provide.  Wayne’s Word also has some interesting information, including:  “Best Method Of Argentine Ant Eradication  Place outdoor ant bait stations such as Terro® along major ant trails in your yard. This is probably better than using insecticidal sprays. Smaller, indoor bait stations are also effective placed along ant trails in your home (out of the reach of children and pets). The active ingredients of Terro® is 5.40 percent sodium tetraborate decahydrate (Borax) which is lethal to ants. This salt upsets their digestive system and causes death due to dehydration and starvation. According to Jonathan Hatch (“How to Get Rid of Argentine Ants” ), dehydration and recrystallization of the ‘boric acic’ (borax?) lacerates the digestive system of ants and their larvae. There are many recipes on the Internet that include mixing borax with a sugary solution. Terro bait stations contain this mixture in convenient disposable plastic trays. It is important for the ants to carry the liquid back to their nest. Borax recipes only contain about 5 percent borax so that ants are not killed immediately. One tablespoon of borax in a cup of water is approximately a 5% solution. You must be patient–this treatment may take several days to a week. In fact, you may need to replenish you bait stations! Some websites state that boric acid is a more effective ant insecticide, but this is debatable. Boric acid is made by reacting borax (sodium tetraborate decahydrate) with an inorganic acid, such as hydrochloric acid (HCl).”

Argentine Ants eat Orbweaver

Argentine Ants eat Orbweaver

WE cannot say for certain if the Argentine Ants played a role in the death of this Orbweaver, but since Orbweavers are somewhat helpless when they are not in their webs, it is possible that this large spider was overcome by marauding Argentine Ants and killed.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Kefalonia
Location: Kefalonia Greece
August 5, 2016 11:52 pm
We saw this on our balcony
Signature: Rf

Orbweaver

Orbweaver

Dear Rf,
This is a harmless Orbweaver spider in the family Araneidae, but we are not certain of the species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Spider with yellow triangle
Location: Woods/ around house, Junior, West Virginia
August 3, 2016 6:11 pm
This was hanging form my AC outside my window. As long as it won’t kill me it can stay. Let me please
Signature: Jennifer

Arrowhead Spider

Arrowhead Spider

Dear Jennifer,
The Arrowhead Spider,
Verrucosa arenata, is a harmless species.  You may verify that on BugGuide where it states:  “Like other orb weavers, it is not dangerous to humans.”  Can you please provide a state or city for the location?

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What big spider is this?
Location: Wrightsville
July 31, 2016 4:08 am
I saw this spider this morning on Wrightsville Beach, NC. It’s thorax is about 1.5 to 1.75 inches and the legs extend another 1.5 inches.
A multicolored thorax (brown with white spots) and legs with dark fur on the joints.
Love to tell the kiddos here at the beach house what kinds of spider they found.
Thanks!
Signature: Curious Beach Bum

Golden Silk Spider

Golden Silk Spider

Dear Curious Beach Bum,
This Golden Silk Spider,
Nephila clavipes, gets its common name from the color of its incredibly strong silk.  North Carolina is the northernmost point of its range, according to BugGuide, which continues as far south as Argentina.  More information is available on BugGuide where it states:  “Like other spiders, this one will bite in self-defense, especially if you go out of your way to provoke it (in particular, by handling or picking it up). Spiders have venom which enables them to incapacitate their prey. However, the bite of most species is described as much less severe than a bee sting.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Spiderlings…hatching? Or a communal web???
Location: Montrose, CO
June 16, 2016 10:58 pm
Dear Bugman,
I’m a longtime fan of the site, though I haven’t had much cause to send any id requests in between your wonderful archives and my trusty field guide. But this one was both interesting and perplexing: while visiting family in western Colorado, I walked out the front door and spotted what looked like a lot of large grains of sand caught on a small three-dimensional web spreading from the front step to the post of the railing (perhaps 10 cm long and the same height). When I looked closer, I saw that the “grains” were hundreds of little yellow balls about 1-2 mm in diameter, stuck all over the cobweb structure, with here and there a few very tiny yellow spiders moving around. In the 30 seconds it took to get my camera, ALL of the “grains” had turned to the same spiders–hundreds of them!
The only explanation I can think of is that the balls were eggs and the spiders were hatching from them en masse (though they had all hatched by the time I got the camera), but I’ve never heard of a spider laying eggs all over a web like that rather than making an egg sac. Any ideas?
Signature: Susan

Orbweaver Hatchlings

Orbweaver Hatchlings

Dear Susan,
We believe these are hatchling Orbweaver Spiderlings, and that they have just emerged from a traditional egg sac like you have described.  Even immediately upon hatching, Spiderlings are able to spin silk, so what you witnessed can be described as a communal web, though not a web in the traditional sense.  Orbweavers disperse using a technique known as Ballooning.  The spiderling releases a strand of silk that catches the wind and transports the individual to a new location far from its siblings that would compete for food as well as pose the potential threat of cannibalism.  We believe the Spiderlings in your image are just waiting to catch the breeze.

Orbweaver Hatchlings

Orbweaver Hatchlings

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Name That Nope!
Location: Chesapeake, Virginia
May 20, 2016 2:26 pm
I found this neat little guy running around my smoker 2 days ago (May 18, 2016). I live in Chesapeake, VA. I’ve reached out to the internet via Facebook and Imgur as well as searched through a spider database i found with no matches. Suggestions were a Juvenile Orb Weaver (which we’ve had a few of over the years) or theridion grallator.
Signature: -Anthony T.

"Blind Eyed" Orbweaver

“Blind Eyed” Orbweaver

Dear Anthony,
Orbweaver is a general name for a Spider from the family Araneidae and according to BugGuide:  “There are approximately 3,500 species worldwide, with 180 occurring north of Mexico.”  But for the eerie pair of blind eyespots on your individual, we thought it resembled, especially in the true eye arrangement,
Araneus alboventris pictured on BugGuide and described on BugGuide as “Carapace, sternum, legs greenish yellow. Bright yellow rings around posterior median eyes. Abdomen dorsum with black patch bordered by crimson red border on golden yellow background.”  Then on BugGuide we found a male, recognizable because of the enlarged pedipalps, the first pair of appendages that are used to transfer sperm to the female.  A comment compares this individual to Araneus alboventris.  We suspect this is a white spotted color variation of Araneus alboventris and we propose the common name Blind Eyed Orbweaver.  We love the many views you provided, including the lateral view that reveals the spinnerets.

"Blind Eyed" Orbweaver

“Blind Eyed” Orbweaver

"Blind Eyed" Orbweaver

“Blind Eyed” Orbweaver

"Blind Eyed" Orbweaver revealing spinnerets

“Blind Eyed” Orbweaver revealing spinnerets

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination