Do Orb Weavers Bite? Unraveling the Truth About These Spiders

Orb weaver spiders are often found in gardens, fields, and forests, creating distinctive and large, spiral-shaped webs. As their population increases in the fall, people tend to notice these spiders and their webs more often, leading to curiosity and concerns about whether they bite humans.

While orb weavers might look intimidating due to their size and appearance, they are mostly harmless creatures. Although they do possess venom to subdue their prey, it is not typically harmful to humans. In extremely rare cases, an orb weaver might bite if it feels threatened, but the resulting pain and irritation are usually mild and short-lived.

It’s essential to understand that orb weavers play a crucial role in the ecosystem by controlling insect populations. These beneficial spiders should be appreciated and, when possible, left undisturbed in their habitats.

Orb Weaver Spiders: Species and Characteristics

Size, Color, and Shape

Orb weaver spiders exhibit considerable variation in size, color, and shape. Adult females typically range between 9 to 20 millimeters in length, while males are usually smaller. Some orb weavers, like the Black and Yellow Argiope, can be almost 3 inches long from leg tip to leg tip. Colors can range from yellow to burnt-orange, and even brown to purple.

  • Example: Marbled orbweaver spider has a mostly orange abdomen with brown to purple markings
  • Example: Cephalothorax of Marbled orbweaver is yellow to burnt-orange with dark lines

Habitat and Distribution

Orb weaver spiders can be found all around the world, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii. They are commonly found in gardens, tall grass, and trees. They are known to build webs near exterior lighting, overhanging structures, and ornamental plantings.

Webs and Silk Production

Orb weavers construct intricate spiral-shaped webs to capture their prey. The silk they produce is incredibly strong and elastic. Their webs also act as auditory arrays, capturing sounds that may alert them to incoming prey or predators. This adaptation helps these spiders thrive in various environments.

Comparison Table of Orb Weaver Species

Species Size Color
Marbled Orbweaver 9-20mm (females) Orange, brown, purple
Black and Yellow Argiope Up to 3 inches Black and Yellow

Orb Weaver Spider Bites and Human Interactions

Do Orb Weavers Bite?

Orb weaver spiders are generally non-aggressive and rarely bite humans. They are more likely to flee than bite when disturbed. However, if cornered or provoked, they may bite in self-defense.

Venom and Symptoms

Orb weaver venom is usually mild and rarely causes significant symptoms in humans. In most cases, a person who has been bitten by an orb weaver spider can expect:

  • Pain at the site of the bite
  • Swelling
  • Mild numbness

These symptoms typically resolve without any complications.

Risk for Humans and Pets

Orb weaver spiders are not considered dangerous to humans or pets. Their bites are far less severe than those of black widows or brown recluses.

Comparing Orb Weaver Bites to Other Arachnids:

Spider Bite Severity Venom Impact
Orb Weaver Mild Low
Black Widow Severe High
Brown Recluse Severe High

Orb Weaver Characteristics:

  • Non-aggressive
  • Rarely bite humans or pets
  • Bite symptoms usually mild
  • Low risk compared to other venomous arachnids

Orb weavers and their webs play a beneficial role in controlling insect populations. It is essential to respect and appreciate these creatures for their valuable contributions to our ecosystem.

Orb Weavers in the Ecosystem

Prey and Hunting Mechanisms

Orb weavers are skilled hunters that primarily prey on various insects. They create intricate, circular webs to catch their prey, which mainly consist of:

  • Flies
  • Beetles
  • Moths

These spiders rely on vibrations in their webs to detect trapped insects. As nocturnal creatures, orb weavers are most active during the night.

Predators and Defenses

Orb weaver spiders have their share of predators, some of which include:

  • Wasps
  • Garden spiders

To protect themselves, orb weavers employ various defense mechanisms, such as:

  • Camouflage
  • Quick escape by cutting their webs’ anchor lines

Notable orb weaver species, like the golden orb weaver, may have additional defenses, such as spiky hairs on their abdomen.

Benefits to Humans and Nature

Orb weavers are beneficial to humans and the environment for numerous reasons, including:

  • Acting as natural pest control by consuming insects that damage crops
  • Contributing to pollination indirectly when prey insects transfer pollen between flowers

Here’s a comparison table to further highlight the characteristics of orb weaver spiders:

Attribute Orb Weaver Spiders
Prey Insects, primarily flies, beetles, and moths
Web Structure Circular, intricate design
Activity Time Nocturnal
Predators Wasps, garden spiders
Benefits Natural pest control, pollination assistance

In summary, orb weavers play an important role in the ecosystem through their hunting mechanisms, their natural defenses against predators, and the numerous benefits they provide to both humans and nature.

Reproduction and Life Cycle

Mating Behavior

Orb weavers, part of the family Araneidae, have unique mating practices. Male spiders court females by plucking and vibrating their webs, which entices the female. Once the female accepts, the male cautiously approaches her, avoiding her abdomen as this could trigger an aggressive response.

Eggs and Incubation Period

Females lay their eggs in silk-wrapped egg sacs, which can contain hundreds to thousands of eggs. The incubation period varies between species, but usually lasts a few weeks. For example, the banana spider (Nephila clavipes), a type of orb-weaver, deposits its eggs in multiple sacs that are then hidden among foliage.

  • Egg sacs: Silk-wrapped, contain hundreds to thousands of eggs
  • Incubation period: Several weeks (species-dependent)

Life Cycle Stages

The life cycle of orb-weaver spiders can be divided into several stages:

  1. Egg: Eggs are laid within silk-wrapped sacs, protected from predators.
  2. Spiderlings: Hatch from eggs, often dispersing by ballooning (using silk threads to catch the wind).
  3. Juvenile: Spiders molt several times as they grow, consuming their exoskeletons after each molt.
  4. Adult: Reproduction occurs in this stage, with females usually being larger than males.
Life Cycle Stage Description
Egg Eggs in silk-wrapped sacs, protect from predators
Spiderling Hatch, disperse by ballooning
Juvenile Molt, consume exoskeletons
Adult Reproduce, females generally larger than males

Remember not to make any exaggerated or false claims and to always check your sources for accurate information.

Orb Weaver Spider Identification and Prevention

Common Orb Weaver Species

Orb weaver spiders come in various species, such as:

  • Garden Orb Weaver Spider: Commonly found in gardens, known for their large, circular webs
  • Spiny Orb Weaver Spider: Recognizable by their spiny abdomen and unique web patterns

Signs of Orb Weaver Infestations

Orb weaver infestations can be recognized by:

  • Circular webs: Most orb weavers create spiral, orb-like webs
  • Webs in specific areas: Homes, fences, and tree branches are common orb weaver habitats

Preventing Infestations and Bites

To prevent orb weaver infestations, you can:

  • Remove webs: Regularly clean webs from the exterior of your home and surrounding areas
  • Clear debris: Consistently remove weeds, clutter, and leaf piles to reduce suitable habitats
Garden Orb Weaver Spider Spiny Orb Weaver Spider
Large, circular webs Unique web patterns
Mostly found in gardens Spiny abdomen

To prevent bites, follow these precautions:

  • Be cautious: Avoid disturbing webs or spiders in their habitats
  • Wear gloves: Use hand protection when working in areas spiders may inhabit

Orb weaver bites are generally not dangerous, with symptoms similar to a bee sting such as pain, redness, and swelling. However, some individuals may experience more severe reactions, like dizziness or difficulty breathing.

Identifying Orb Weaver Spiders

Orb weaver spiders can be identified by several characteristics:

  • Eight legs: As arachnids, they possess eight legs
  • Bulbous abdomen: They typically have a large, rounded abdomen
  • Orb-shaped webs: They usually construct spiral, circular webs

If you suspect an orb weaver infestation and are unable to handle it yourself, consider contacting a professional pest control company for assistance.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Orbweaver

 

Huntsman Spider?
December 7, 2009
My sister found this in her house in Topanga Canyon Southern California. I can’t find a picture that matches the back side “shield” though-almost looks like an orb weaver lost in the house?
Conshimfee
Southern California

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Hi Conshimfee,
This is an Orbweaver in the genus Araneus, probably Araneus gemma according to images posted to BugGuide.  It is described as: “Female: carapace and abdomen vary in color from gray to brownish purple. The abdomen has anterior paired humps and may have a medial light stripe that varies in length.
Male: similar in color and pattern to the female.
We often have problems identifying the Orbweavers to the species level.  Interestingly, Charles Hogue, in his book Insects of the Los Angeles Basin, describes a species Araneus gemmus and it is called the Jeweled Araneus.   We believe A. gemma and A. gemmus are probably the same species, though BugGuide does not recognize Hogue’s taxonomy.  This species builds webs in trees and shrubs around homes.  Hogue indicates the spiders are active at night and that the webs may be 6 to 8 feet across.

Letter 2 – Orbweaver

 

This is George
Location:  Northeast Ohio
September 15, 2010 7:21 pm
This guy has spent the summer vacationing in the upper left corner of our bedroom window. I dubbed him George and told him as long as he stays outside he can be my friend. I do believe he is an orb weaver, although I’ve been unable to find any orb weaver that looks quite like him.
Signature:  Lisa Insana

Orbweaver

Hi Lisa,
While we may not be able to identify this member of the genus
Araneus to the species level, we can tell you for certain that you might want to consider renaming her Georgina or Georgette.

Letter 3 – Orbweaver

 

Some kind of argiope?
Location: California
November 9, 2010 11:25 pm
I looked at several photos online, and did not see anything with this dark abdomen. I did not take this photo, a friend posted it on facebook.
Signature: John

Orbweaver

Hi John,
We wish your photo had more detail, but even then we often have difficulty identifying many Orbweavers to the species level.  We do not believe this is an
Argiope species, but rather, a member of the genus Araneus.  Interestingly, BugGuide has a category under Araneus entitled “Dark California and Oregon with much white” and we would include your spider there.

Letter 4 – Orbweaver

 

Orange brain bum spider
Location: Ottawa, ON
October 26, 2011 11:17 pm
Hi! I’m in Ottawa, Ontario and found this spider lolly-gagging out my front door. It’s about 3 degrees celsius tonight and it was moving incredibly slow, so I scooped it up and took some photos.
I’ve never seen a spider like this around my house. He has a bright vibrant orange spot on his abdomen, and i.m.o. the whole back end looks vaguely brain like. It was biggish (about the size of a toonie). Even though winter will be settling in, I let him go in my front garden.
Please help me identify, I haven’t had much luck searching myself!
Signature: Finnegan

Orbweaver

Hi Finnegan,
This is a harmless Orbweaver in the genus
Araneus.

Oh wow, thanks for the quick reply! Although spiders sometimes give me the willies, they can be rather beautiful in their own creepy crawly kind of way. Will look up more info on orb weavers just for fun. Great website, love it!

Letter 5 – Orbweaver

 

Dead Garden Spider on her Egg Sac?
Location: Santa Maria, California USA
December 5, 2011 3:41 pm
Hello, I have enjoyed several days and nights watching this spider in her web and have even thrown a few bugs in the web to feed it. About 5 days ago it stopped making/repairing the web and has been in this same position day and night, is it dead? It looks like it is on top of a brown egg sac too. I don’t want to poke at it but was wondering if it is dead and if it is a garden spider?
Signature: Maggs

Orbweaver

Dear Maggs,
This is an Orbweaver in the genus
Araneus, and we believe it might be Araneus gemma which BugGuide describes as:  “Female: carapace and abdomen vary in color from gray to brownish purple. The abdomen has anterior paired humps and may have a medial light stripe that varies in length.  She does not look dead to us, and your theory that she may be protecting her egg sac is sound.

Letter 6 – Orbweaver

 

Subject: New Year’s Spider 2013
Location: San Diego, CA
January 5, 2013 4:44 pm
I saw this guy hanging on the outside of our sliding glass door frame. The douglas fir needle next to him is about one and a quarter inches long.
It looked like he had several strands of silk coming from him when I put him on a leaf to transfer him elsewhere. Is this a Western Spotted Orbweaver?
Signature: Scott

Orbweaver

Hi Scott,
This is one of the harmless Orbweavers, but we cannot say for certain which species it is.

Letter 7 – Orbweaver

 

Subject: Huge Beautiful Spider
Location: Sandy, Oregon
September 6, 2013 2:37 pm
This spider was photographed in Oct. 2011 up on Mt Hood(NW OR). The pix really don’t do it justice… the abdomon was huge (about the size of a small grape) & its markings were gorgeous. What the heck is this thing???
Signature: juniper

Female Orbweaver
Female Orbweaver

Dear Juniper,
This is a female Orbweaver in the genus
Araneus, and it very closely resembles the Shamrock Orbweaver, Araneus trifolium, which according to BugGuide:  “occurs in a variety of colors.”  This individual on BugGuide looks very much like your spider.

Letter 8 – Orbweaver

 

Subject: HELP! Evil looking Spider on my porch.
Location: hanging out on the ceiling of my back porch in Anna, Texas
October 14, 2013 6:48 pm
I have never seen a spider like this ever. It is hanging on the eve of our porch and I swear it is looking at me, contemplating on how tasty I might be. We live in North Texas and have lots of creepy crawlies that bite. just wondering what it is.
Signature: Not a fan of spiers

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae.  They are not considered dangerous.

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Thanks!! That is great news and saved a spider’s life.

 

Letter 9 – Orbweaver

 

Subject: What is kind is this?
Location: Palm Harbor, Florida
October 28, 2013 2:47 am
This spider would build a web from a tree in my front yard to my daughters SUV in the drive way every night. The tree and SUV are approximately 15 to 20 feet apart. Yet every night it would rebuild its web. It took some doing but I was able to get it in the bag and take a photo of this big spider. Can you tell me what this is.
Signature: ?

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear ?,
This is a harmless Orbweaver in the family Araneidae.  We searched bugGuide to try to provide a species name for you, and this image on BugGuide of
Eriophora ravilla looks very similar, but it is apparently an uncommon color variation. She does not look happy in that bag.  We hope you released her after the photos were taken.  Orbweavers build a classic web and they await prey that becomes ensnared.  Though they gracefully maneuver within their webs, Orbweavers are rather clumsy on their own.  As you noticed, Orbweavers will build a web in the same location day after day unless they are disturbed, so we expect that relocation might be somewhat traumatic for them. We wish our maid wouldn’t sweep the webs on our front porch away, but as long as the spiders are unharmed, they can usually find a new place to spin.

Letter 10 – Orbweaver

 

Subject: Lovely Ontario Spider
Location: South Mountain, Ontario, Canada
November 21, 2013 1:42 pm
Hello,
I’ve been watching a lovely (I’m assuming) mama spider all summer/fall as she made a magnificent web on my front porch. She always hung out by the ceiling, so I let her be. She was/is huge and I am quite impressed with her. I wondered if she was a Sac Spider, but that’s just based on Google Image, which also showed pictures of snakes when I typed in ”Spiders of Ontario”… About a month ago, I noticed that she disappeared so I wished her well and hoped she survived the winter. I’m in South Mountain, Ontario, Canada – half an hour north of the St. Lawrence River and the NY border. I got home from shopping today and she was back, climbing up my front door frame. So I grabbed my camera and caught her magnificence. Her body & head are about an inch long and when walking, her legs stretch out to be about 3 inches. She has four spots on her back, but they are also little indents, almost like someone used a pin in dough. Three of t hem can be seen in the photo, the one that is hard to see is a smaller one on the top left corner of her pattern.
To give you an idea of our climate, right now it is hovering around 0 degrees (Celsius) and going below zero at night. Do you know what kind of spider she is? Will she survive the winter? I think she’s lovely, so I do hope so.
Thanks for any info.
Signature: Fiona

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Hi Fiona,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae.  The spiders in this family build a classic orb web and they remain in the web to snare prey.  They are not considered dangerous, though large individuals might bite.  Female Orbweavers are often much larger than their mates.  Orbweavers live a single season, and they mature in the autumn, when they are largest and most visible.  We apologize, but we do not feel comfortable taking the identification of your spider to the species level.

Letter 11 – Orbweaver

 

Subject: A spider species numbering in thousands on side of a water dam
Location: Whiteshell region, Manitoba, Canada
November 13, 2014 5:42 pm
Hi guys. Here’s the underside of a spider that has taken over one wall of the Seven Sisters Hydro Dam, in Manitoba. Its a feat of the mind walking past thousands of them and their webs when visiting the dam. 🙂
Signature: m. m.

Possibly Western Spotted Orbweaver
Possibly Western Spotted Orbweaver

Dear M.M.,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, possibly a Western Spotted Orbweaver,
Neoscona oaxacensis, a highly variably colored species.  Orbweavers only survive for a single season, and they are most visible in the fall when they mature and grow in size.  They can be quite plentiful at times.

Letter 12 – Orbweaver

 

Subject: spider identification
Location: BIllings, MT USA
August 16, 2015 11:53 am
I just took a pic of a spider at my workplace and I have no idea what kind it is or if it’s venomous or not. I have included a clear picture of it
Signature: Laura

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Laura,
This is an Orbweaver or Writing Spider in the genus
Argiope, most likely the Banded Argiope, Argiope trifasciata.  It looks like an immature individual and that is its exuvia or cast off exoskeleton at the top of the image, indicating that it has recently molted.  Most spiders have venom, but that of the Orbweavers is not considered dangerous to humans.  They are reluctant to bite people, though a large individual might bite if carelessly handled.

Letter 13 – Orbweaver

 

Subject: My Pumpkin (orb weaving??) Spider
Location: Northern Arizona, inside my house
September 11, 2015 8:45 am
In the warm beginning of September in Northern Arizona:
He came into the night…
Weaving a thick web the size of our T.V. in the shape of the superman symbol…but instead of a ‘S’ in the center it was multiple circles- until he rested in the center of his creation.
I went, unknowingly, over to our TV to check it’s measurements when I felt a thick cord about the size of the smallest string on a guitar.
Panic and adrenaline began to pulse through my veins as I jumped back and followed the string to the cause of my fear.
There ,looking as though he was just floating in space, was a bright orange spider. I had never seen one like him before.
“Was it even a spider?”
Because it had all it’s legs pulled around it at the time.
Shortly after I thought that it HAD to be a spider since it was sitting in a web! I trembled as I tried to get close enough to the spider to take it’s picture. As I got closer I noticed his body was round with a white stripe down the center of what I previously thought was a completely round body. As I got closer I was able to see it was round with two points in the front of his body. His legs are long and striped intermittently with brown and white.
As long as he stayed where he was until my husband got home than we could live peacefully together.
But for now I will constantly glance in his direction, making sure he doesn’t disappear, in the warm beginning of September in Northern Arizona.
Signature: Megan

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Megan,
We are charmed by your prose.  This is most definitely an Orbweaver, but we are relatively certain it is not a Pumpkin Spider.  We are favoring it being a Cat Faced Spider,
Araneus gemmoides, and you can compare your image to this BugGuide image.

Letter 14 – Orbweaver

 

Subject: Spider
Location: Rochester, NY
September 15, 2015 5:26 pm
Hello Bugman!
Help me identify this spider! He is getting bigger and bigger, what is he?
Signature: Much appreciated!

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

This is a harmless Orbweaver in the genus Araneus, and we will attempt a species ID when time permits.

Letter 15 – Orbweaver

 

Subject: type of spider
Location: Pearland Texas
October 16, 2015 10:54 am
On my neighbor’s back porch, do not know what kind of spider it is?
Signature: Travis Duke

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Travis,
There isn’t enough detail in your image to be certain, but we believe this is a Spotted Orbweaver or Common Orbweaver,
Neoscona crucifera,  based on an image posted to Spiders.us where it states:  “Web is often constructed on buildings and other man-made structures, especially near outdoor lights. You can also find this orbweaver in shrubs and open woodland areas, though they are not common among tall grasses.”  There is a light in your image.  Orbweavers are harmless, and they mature in the fall, so most of our identification requests for Orbweavers come at this time of year.  

Letter 16 – Orbweaver

 

Subject: Cute orange spider
Location: Seattle, WA
October 23, 2015 10:11 pm
Found this cute little guy on my wall in the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a spider that looks quite like this. An orbweaver of some kind?
Signature: Nick

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Hi Nick,
You are correct that this is an Orbweaver, and we believe it may be a Cat Faced Spider.

Letter 17 – Orbweaver

 

Subject: Spider face!
Location: Los Angeles, CA USA
November 9, 2015 12:57 am
Dear Bugman,
Thank you again for your patience and help with another unknown and interesting subject.
I witnessed this little guy crawling away from me near my apartment in Los Feliz, CA (basically east Hollywood). I couldn’t get a great shot nor was I able to add a scale but he was approximately 2.5cm in diameter. I was really curious about the markings on his abdomen which appear, to me, like a face!
By any chance is he Spider Man?
P.S. Your bio lists you living in Mt. Washington: is that the Mt. Washington here in Los Angeles?
If so, Howdy Neighbor!
Signature: Tomas Arceo

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Tomas,
This is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, but we are reluctant to attempt a species identification based on your image.  Many spiders and insects have markings that can be likened to a human face, including the Man Faced Bug from Southeast Asia.  The offices of What’s That Bug? are indeed in Mount Washington, Los Angeles.

Letter 18 – Orbweaver

 

Subject: Yellowish Orange Spider with stripes on legs
Location: Garden in Portland, OR in September
September 20, 2016 10:16 am
I have a picture of a spider which I would like to identify in case it bites or is otherwise dangerous.
Signature: Thanks Ilze Choi

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Dear Ilze,
This is a harmless Orbweaver in the family Araneidae.  Large Orbweavers might bite, but they are not aggressive, and the bite will cause nothing more than local swelling and tenderness.

Letter 19 – Orbweaver

 

Subject: Strange Spider
Location: South Dakota
September 14, 2017 7:40 pm
We found this spider in our garage. Any idea of what it could be? We live in Mitchell, South Dakota.
Signature: Sincerely, The Pospisil Family

Orbweaver

Dear Pospisil Family,
This is a harmless Orbweaver Spider.  As autumn approaches, Orbweaver Spiders mature and reach adult size, when they begin to attract attention.

Letter 20 – Orbweaver

 

Subject:  spider webbed over succulents
Geographic location of the bug:  Camarillo, Ca
Date: 09/27/2017
Time: 12:48 AM EDT
Hello Bugman,
I saw this beauty posing on a web over a succulent garden in my mother’s backyard. It seemed quite large in person and I’m just curious what type of spider you think it may be. I was too nervous about disturbing the web to snap a pic from the other side, I hope you can see enough to determine what it is.
How you want your letter signed:  Melanie on the English Chain

Orbweaver

Dear Melanie on the English Chain,
This is a harmless Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, but we are not that proficient at identifying species with only a ventral view.  A dorsal view makes identifications much easier for us, though many species do look quite similar.  This might be a Western Spotted Orbweaver,
Neoscona oaxacensis, based on this BugGuide image.  Often spinning very large webs, Orbweavers are sedentary predators that wait for prey rather than to aggressively hunt.  Irish Chain is a quilt pattern, but we are not familiar with English Chain.

Letter 21 – Orbweaver

 

Subject:  Spider BIG!
Geographic location of the bug:  North east Pennsylvania
Date: 10/04/2017
Time: 03:04 PM EDT
Any idea what this little guy is?  It’s almost the size of a quarter. ..maybe it’s pregnant?
How you want your letter signed:  From the bug man

Orbweaver

This is a harmless Orbweaver in the genus Araneus.  This is a female, and they mature in the fall.

Letter 22 – Orbweaver

 

Subject:  spider
Geographic location of the bug:  Central Arizona, USA
Date: 10/14/2017
Time: 03:46 PM EDT
Please identify this spider for me  I’ve moved into the mountains from the desert and finding a while new world of insects
How you want your letter signed:  John Anderson

Orbweaver

Dear John,
This is a harmless Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, and based on images posted to BugGuide and Spiders.Us where it states:  “Habitat:  Web is often constructed on buildings and other man-made structures, especially near outdoor lights. You can also find this orbweaver in shrubs and open woodland areas, though they are not common among tall grasses.  Web:  Large, vertical, orb-shaped web is usually built at least a few feet off the ground amid shrubs, trees, fences, buildings, etc; they are opportunistic and will use whatever ‘framework’ they can. Moulder (1992) notes that the web can be as much as six to eight feet off the ground. The diameter of the web is about 2 feet or less; it has about 27 radii and 63 spiral threads, as reported by Kaston (1977). Web may be attached to buildings or fences in urban and suburban areas. The spider occupies the hub (center) of the web, hanging head down, during the night; it usually hides during the day, though in the summer or fall when they are full-grown, they may spend some daylight hours in the web, as well. Like many orbweavers, this species takes down its web each morning by eating it, thus recycling the proteins within it and using them to re-build a fresh web for the night.”

Letter 23 – Orbweaver

 

Subject:  Spider
Geographic location of the bug:  Austin texas
Date: 07/05/2018
Time: 11:03 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello! I’ve seen this spider on my patio 3 nights in a row. The web must be set up quickly (it’s established sometime between when the sun goes down and when i go to bed) and the webs are gone the next morning when i get up. The webs are huge.  I have small children so i just want to make sure i don’t need to be concerned! I’ve had black widows on my patio in the past, so i am paranoid. 🙂
How you want your letter signed:  Bug man? 🙂

Orbweaver

This is a harmless Orbweaver.  You have no reason for concern.

Letter 24 – Orbweaver

 

Subject:  Orb weaver spider
Geographic location of the bug:  Southwestern pa. South of Pittsburgh
Date: 09/28/2021
Time: 07:00 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I love this site… Your amazing… We have had this little lady living on our front window for a whole now. We named her Muffet. I’m pretty sure it’s a furrow orb weaver… Just wanted to get your opinion. Thanks again
How you want your letter signed:  Robert

Orbweaver

Dear Robert,
Thanks so much for your kind letter.  Alas, we do not feel confident that we are able to conclusively identify your Orbweaver accurately to the species level.

Letter 25 – Orbweaver

 

Subject:  Boris the spider
Geographic location of the bug:  Central Austin Texas
Date: 10/21/2021
Time: 10:18 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This guy, who we named Boris, is on our front porch. What kind of spider is Boris?
How you want your letter signed:  LeeAnn

Orbweaver

Dear LeeAnn,
Boris is an Orbweaver in the family Araneidae, but we are not certain of the species.  You may want to consider giving Boris a more femine name as Boris is a female Orbweaver.  Orbweavers mature in the fall and the adults with their large webs are quite visible at that time.

Letter 26 – Orbweaver

 

Subject:  Spider
Geographic location of the bug:  Western New York
Date: 10/21/2021
Time: 08:41 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, saw this crawling on the ground October 21 in western  New York. I have never seen a spider of this color here in New York and I was hoping to get it identified! Thank you for the wonderful site as well!
How you want your letter signed:  Scott Szafranski

Orbweaver

Dear Scott,
This is a harmless Orbweaver, probably in the genus
Araneus.  Orbweavers rarely leave their classic orb webs, so we suspect this lady was dislodged from her web or perhaps her web was destroyed.

Letter 27 – Orbweaver at the offices of What’s That Bug?

 

Subject: Orbweaver builds web by porch light
Location: Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
September 5, 2013 2:00 AM
Late every summer, it seems a large female Orbweaver constructs a web near the porch light to take advantage of the insects attracted by the light.  Here is our 2013 resident.

Orbweaver
Orbweaver

Letter 28 – Orbweaver Carnage

 

Subject: BIG and it took 20 minutes to kill!!!
Location: Las Vegas, NV
November 6, 2012 8:16 pm
This spider was found in a corner above the front door of a house in Las Vegas, NV. It took 20 minutes to kill with pesticide. Didn’t dare kill it with my foot for fear of the ”crunch”. What is it??
Signature: Freaked out Frieda

Harmless Orbweaver dies a tortured death

Dear Freaked out Frieda,
Educating folks that have a history of fear of insects and spiders is a constant uphill battle.  This harmless Orbweaver posed no threat to you, your family or your pets, unless you have a fondness for domesticated flies and other invertebrates.  We hope you learn a bit of tolerance for the lower beasts that leads to peaceful and respectful cohabitation instead of Unnecessary Carnage.

Letter 29 – Orbweaver eats her mate

 

What Spider is this
October 27, 2009
This spider eated his mate.
mr
Costa Mesa, CA

Orbweavers Mating
Orbweavers Mating

Dear mr,
We are uncertain what species of Orbweaver you have sent our way.  We couldn’t even say for sure if this is an Araneus.  Perhaps one of our readers can tell.  Your photos are amazing.  It isn’t unusual for female spiders to eat their mates.

Orbweaver eats her Mate
Orbweaver eats her Mate

Letter 30 – Orbweaver and Prey

 

Subject: Marbled Orb Weaver and Wasp Lunch
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
August 17, 2014 9:00 am
Caught this beautiful girl preparing lunch in a Toronto, Ontario park the other day. I’m guessing that she is an Araneus diadematus. I don’t know who lunch was.
Signature: Vanessa – Photographer and friend of all spiders

Orbweaver eats Prey
Orbweaver eats Prey

Dear Vanessa – Photographer and friend of all spiders,
This certainly is an Orbweaver, and the prey might be a Sand Wasp.  We believe you have correctly identified the scientific name of this Orbweaver, Araneus diadematus, however the common name is Cross Spider or European Orbweaver, not Marbled Orbweaver.  See BugGuide for other images of Cross Spiders.  See BugGuide for some examples of Sand Wasps.
 

Authors

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  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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11 thoughts on “Do Orb Weavers Bite? Unraveling the Truth About These Spiders”

  1. We are looking at almost the exact same spider who has made a web on the outside of our kitchen window and has been comfortable there for a couple days now. In the light, it looks like a halloween spider, and kinda like a mild version of the tarnatuals that have orange striped legs. But when my daughter and I looked at the markings right now, we noticed they are almost identical to this one. We’re in North East Tennessee Tri-Cities area. Love to know Thanks!

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  2. Thank you! I come across lots of orb weavers and love to photograph them. This was a bonus to catch her mid lunch. They are an impressive lot and usually very cooperative with the camera.

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  3. Very similar spider to the female or weaver pictured except darker, less-hairy, longer legs. Saratoga Springs, New York, 3 hours south of Canadian border. Would like to post photos but cannot here.

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