Orb Spiders

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What do orb weaver spiders look like?

orb weaver spider in web outside tucson az home

There are many species of orb weaver spiders and their color and markings vary. Female orb spiders are larger than males, 3/4 to 1 1/8 inches compared to 1/4 to 3/8 inches.  Orb spiders have three claws per foot to handle threads in their intricate webs.  They also have egg shaped abdomens.

Life cycle of orb spiders

Gradual metamorphosis

Males will seek a female during the fall.  Breeding once a year, the female will produce 300-1400 eggs wrapped in one or more egg sacs attached near the center of the web.  The newly hatched spiders will overwinter and become active the next spring.  The male and female often die after mating, but the female can live for several years in warmer climates, however, typical life span is one year.

Habits of orb weaver spiders

  • Diet: Eat small insects captured in their webs.
  • Activity: Active day and night but typically spin webs in evening then eat the web in the morning. New web constructed each day usually in same place.
  • Preferred Climate: Humid, warm environments.
  • Defense: Vibrations on web signal to spider something nearby.
  • Cautions: May bite if disturbed but the venom is not known to cause major problems to humans unless allergic. Bite can be painful.
  • Home Invasion: Typically an outdoor pest often seen in gardens or trees. If found inside, this spider was probably transported accidentally.

Are orb weaver spiders dangerous?

Most spiders do not pose a threat to people and are generally helpful by keeping insects in check. However, all spiders do have venom which can be harmful. If a spider bite is suspected fever, nausea, and abdominal pain may also occur, in which case immediate medical attention is needed.

Where do orb weaver spiders build webs

Orb weaver spiders often construct nests above the ground, approximately four feet in the air and the plane of the web is usually perpendicular to the ground. 

Helpful hints about orb spiders

Although they are helpful in controlling insects on your property, spiders aren't necessarily welcome in and around homes. To keep them away from your Arizona home, try these spider prevention tips:

  • Prune landscape regularly
  • Maintain low lighting in order to keep their food/prey sources to a minimum
  • Prevent new spider and pest activity with ongoing home pest control service

Interesting facts about orb spiders

Orb weavers are considered to be beneficial pests since they eat disease bearing insects like mosquitoes and flies.

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