Spinning a Web around Short Term Forecasting
Mary Fredericks came across this lovely spider web in her yard this morning, in East Jordan, Shelburne county NS.
Published Friday, August 11, 2017 11:55AM ADT
Last Updated Friday, August 11, 2017 12:08PM ADT
I can’t say that I love spiders … or snakes for that matter, but I am in awe of their intricate work and the delicate webs they spin. Did you ever have a close look?
I’m not an expert, but garden spiders I’m told are orb-web builders, like the one in the photo. They put their abdomen to the night air and emit webbing into the air until it attaches to something. They strengthen the first strand several times, then use it as a highway between points, building a framework of sticky silk.
Keeping this process in mind, it stands to reason that you’ll find more spider webs on a clear, calm morning. Spider webs are very sensitive to moisture in the air. When humidity is high, their webs can absorb that water, making them heavy to the point of breaking. Spiders are aware of this, so when they sense high humidity, they are more likely to stay in their hiding places. When they sense dry air, which is a sign of fair weather, they’ll come out and spin their webs, knowing they have a couple days of happy hunting.
Over time, this observation has led to this popular weather folklore: “If spiders are many and spinning their webs, the spell will soon be dry.”
Now regardless of the atmospheric conditions, you might feel like you're running into more spider webs or cobwebs right now. You probably are and there’s a good reason for that:
Garden spiders have a seasonal timetable. They hatch in the spring, reproduce and die in the fall. So while they lie low in the early summer, trying to keep from being eaten, by now the survivors are large enough to start spinning webs.
And time is of the essence. Female spiders need to lay their eggs before, you know ... that "die" part.
We’ve all passed through our share of webs on our morning walks and might have been tempted to squish the spiders, but…try to resist! The itsy bitsy spider is handy to have around. I bet you didn’t know that spiders are excellent insect predators, even more efficient than birds.
So I can’t make you like spiders, but it’s hard not to admire the work they do!