Spider webs are some of the most intricate creations of nature in existence. The way they are made and they way that spiders utilize them, is absolutely incredible. Today, we are going to talk about how spider silk is made and how they use it. It should be known, that all spiders make silk, but not all spiders use that silk to make webs. Other uses of silk include: climbing, building walls for burrows, protection for egg sacs, transportation, and catching prey. Spiders transport by attaching an end of the silk to one side of a tree branch and dangling off the other, then letting go and moving with the wind; this is known as kiting. They also use the silk to “fish” in rivers and such “throwing a line” and catching what sticks. The use of the silk, completely depends upon the type of spider and their role in the wild. Different silks have different uses depending on the niche of the spider as well, some are sticky while others are impeccably strong. Now that we have some semblance of the who, what and why, we can gain a better understanding of how spiders create this stuff! Spider silk is made within the spider through glands in it’s abdomen. The silk starts as a liquid made out of proteins and as the spider releases the silk out of its abdomen it becomes the fiber that is visible to us, the web. Spiders are so much more complex than the “scary” arachnid we see on the outside.
When we think of spiders, we usually think of them as hunters, the top of the food chain, the “Big Kahuna” if you will. Well, believe it or not, there are many types of creatures that go after these bad boys, and today we identify who can size up against the eight-legged menace.
Astonishingly, spiders have a lot of enemies aside from humans. Spiders seem to be at the top because of how many types of insects they dominate, but in reality many creatures stalk spiders as prey, as is the circle of life.
There is a niche group of creatures called insectivores that mainly hunt insects and spiders. A few insectivores around us include, bats, lizards, frogs, rats, and birds. Spiders stand little to no chance with these animals, and thus the above insectivores are some of the biggest predators of spiders!
Now, when it comes to invertebrates, spiders are the boss. In fact, they are ranked one of the top predators ever. The only small creatures that are known to eat spiders are other spiders and wasps. Though spiders rarely eat one another due to the hunt, the most common time another spider will eat its own kind is because a female spider eats its mate in order to aid their young. Though this is the most common occurrence of spider eating spider action, it doesn’t happen all that often. The real killer in this category is the wasp! Wasps are well known to stalk, kill and eat spiders. They do so by stinging and paralyzing the spider, and then burying the spider with its eggs and once the baby wasps hatch, it’s dinner time and they chow down on the spider.
For any of you who have seen any Spider Man movie *cough* Spider-Man: Homecoming *cough* which recently came out, you’ll notice that Spider-Man makes his own webbing! Let’s look into what a spider’s web is actually made of, and is it possible to recreate our web slinging friends antics?
When people think about the structure of a web they often think about the rumor that states that they’re stronger than steel… Well, not only is that true, but a spider’s web is actually stronger than steel! This is because of something called tensile strength, which refers to the tension of which the material can withstand, and why a web is more elastic than steel. Without that elasticity, people would be hurting themselves left and right as they try to clear webs. The spider’s web is made of spider silk, which is an extremely elastic material constructed of lots of protein fibers. That being said, spider silk can bare more weight than steel, however it is much less dense. A spider creates its silk within a very specialized organ, called the spinneret. Another benefit of this silk, is that it contains glue like properties which aid in catching its prey. When an insect comes in contact with the web, they are likely stuck until their demise. Spider silk is also conductive to electricity, and the spider actually uses this to its advantage. They use this conductivity to build up a static charge, and like a sock sticks to a towel if there is too much static in the dryer, an insect with any static charge clinging to it will stick to the web as well, and they are unable to escape. At first glance, a spider web may seem like an intricate design for spiders to lounge on, but the underlying properties are absolutely fascinating.
A few days ago, we tried feeding our Giant Huntsman Spider, one of the largest species of spider in the world, a cockroach. Upon first glance, one would think, “oh the spider won of course!” however in this crazy turn of events the roach won the battle. While filming the attack, the spider missed its prey and ended up tangling its font two legs within its own webbing! Overtime we thought it might get free and try again, but a few days later we noticed that the spider no longer had a face and the cockroach was completely unscathed. A few more days passed, and the spiders entire body was soon missing. After close examination, we realized that there were indeed a few remains of the spider’s legs, and with that it was decided that the cockroach decided to make a meal out of its predator. Huntsman Spiders are known to catch on average, 90% of their prey, and after some research we have not been able to find a similar event in an enclosure or captured in the wild. We are completely awestruck because roaches don’t generally win, and if they do they certainly don’t eat the predator!
What do you get when you put spiders on the big screen? Movie magic! Whether you are petrified of these eight-legged creepy crawlies, or marvel at their ingenuity and abilities; Hollywood has capitalized on the raw emotion spiders evoke in audiences young and old. This has led to some of the most memorable, must watch spider scenes in the history of cinema.
Here are the top ten must watch spider scenes from movies:
#17. Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)
One of the most brilliant movies of my childhood was Raiders of the Lost Ark; with one of the most memorable movie scenes as well. It’s one of many that just stick with you. This scene will make you almost lose consciousness for a few reasons. To begin with, how do that many tarantulas end up on both of their backs? They did walk through a giant web, but tarantulas don’t live in webs. How’d they get on their backs? Secondly, the spiders on Indy’s back are terrifying, but when the guide turns around and seems to have twice the amount that Indy did… Oh my!
#16. Arachnophobia-Slipper Scene (1990)
#15. The Amazing Spiderman (2012)
When it comes to memorable spider scenes, how could we leave out the scene in which Spiderman actually becomes the web-slinging hero we know him to be!?! The tougher decision was choosing between the 2002 version with Tobey Maguire, or the more recent 2012 installment with Andrew Garfield.
#14. Coraline (2009)
#13. 8 Legged Freaks (2002)
Sticking with the theme of eight, like eight legs, what’s more fitting for our next selection than 8 Legged Freaks? Giant spiders attack a small Arizona town. Assortments of horrific venomous spiders get exposed to a toxic chemical that causes them to develop and grow to mammoth proportions. Really bad CGI, and blood and guts galore, make this a cult classic. Since there are just too many spider kill scenes to recount, enjoy this very bloody compilation of spider scenes from the film.
#12. Megamind (2010)
I had to throw in this particular spider scene in, just because I remember it made me literally laugh-out-loud the first time I saw it!
#11. Spiderman (2002)
#10. Charlotte’s Web (1973)
Not every spider scene on our list has to be creepy! How many of you have ever had a spider tug at your heart strings?
#9. Krull (1983)
Have you ever had that nightmare where you’re trapped in a spiderweb, as a giant spider creeps slowly toward you? Well, the spider scene in Krull is your nightmare personified!
#8. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug- Spider Forest (2013)
#7. Jungle 2 Jungle (1997)
This spider scene is always good for a laugh!
#6. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets (2002)
In one of the most memorable scenes in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets, or perhaps a scene you wish you could forget if you happen to be petrified of spiders, Harry goes to Aragog (the giant talking spider) to prove Hagrid didn’t open the chamber of secrets. Aragog tells his kids (the hoards of other spiders) that he will not deny them fresh meat, and to indulge! Watch as the spiders rain down on Harry and Ron.
#5. Arachnaphobia- Shower Scene (1990)
#4. Stephen King’s The Mist (2007)
*Warning- Language Not Suitable For Work. One of the most horrific spider scenes ever shot, and a favorite of horror enthusiasts everywhere, is the spider pharmacy scene in Stephen King’s The Mist. Watch as a trapped group of survivalists stumble upon a huge web. Inside the web, they discover a poor schmuck trapped in the web with baby spiders hatching and ripping him apart from the inside. It gets worse! Hoards of spiders, which act more like and hungry pack of wolves, unleash hell on the group. The scene truly is something out of a nightmare!
#3. Lords of the Rings: Return Of The King (2003)
Meet Shelob, the giant spider! Movie makers can sure make one creepy, hellacious, giant spider… The kind that moves fast, has foot-long fangs, plenty of eyes, hair, and even a stinger. Watch the spider get the best of Frodo, only to have Sam save the day!
#2. Home Alone (1990)
Just when you thought Harry and Marv have had enough in Home Alone; chasing Kevin through his torturous “funhouse,” Kevin still has one more surprise for the two wet bandits… A giant spider! Watch as Harry (Joe Pesci) takes a spider to the face and Marv (Daniel Stern) takes a crowbar to the chest, all while Kevin makes his final escape!
#1. Arachnophobia- Final Scene (1990)
The number one most memorable must watch spider scenes in all of cinema is from none other than Arachnophobia. Truthfully, you could probably select the whole movie as a memorable spider scene, as movie stole the heart of millions of film lovers when it got released in 1990. The movie is an accurate depiction of what truly makes spiders scary to so many.
A recently discovered spider from Venezuela is accidentally brought to a small American town, breeding with local spiders. This creates a new race of poisonous spiders that begin killing off town residents one at a time. Jeff Daniels overcomes his fear of spiders as he battles them to their death. John Goodman makes for one heck of an exterminator.
The creep-you-out-of-your-pants scene is at the end, when all the spiders leave the nest and infest Jeff Daniels’ house– spreading all over the walls, the door, the TV, spewing out of the sink drain, up under the doorknobs, under the doors, hanging down from the ceiling. In the film, they’re so poisonous that one bite will kill you in five seconds. Daniels pitches over the stairs and crashes into the basement, where Big Mama and Daddy are nesting. I also included a few other very memorable scenes.
Well there you have it! The top ten must watch spider scenes from movies. There were so many memorable scenes to choose from. Some honorable mentions include: Arachnid, Coraline, Kingdom of the Spiders, The Thing, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Nothing to Lose, Son of Godzilla, James and the Giant Peach, The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Beyond, Dr. No, Tarantula, and This Night I Will Possess Your Corpse.
What did you think of the top ten must watch spider scenes from movies?
Mike Bonds is the technology director for NYC Pest Pros, a NYC based pest control company that focuses on education, awareness and green sustainability.
There are literally thousands of spider species in North America, all of which are important parts of a healthy ecosystem. While most pose no threat to humans and pets, there are a handful of species that are considered pests and can cause serious health problems or death. Here are some of the most common dangerous spiders and what to do about them.
Widow spiders (Latrodectus) are members of the comb-footed spider family and can be identified by their messy, tangled webs. The black widow is the most familiar widow species and is typically found in the American South and Southwest. However, there are also other varieties of the black widow that can be found in Northern states. Two other widow species, the false widow and the brown widow, are also located in many portions of the country.
All but the false widow posses the characteristic hourglass pattern on their undersides. Interestingly, only the females are dangerous. The small, drab-colored males are harmless. That said, any pest control company will tell you that the female widows bite can cause serious problems. These include severe pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches and severe muscle cramps. In small children, the elderly and those with compromised immunity, the bite can be fatal.
The most well-known species in this group (Loxosceles) can be identified by the telltale violin pattern on its head, or cephalothorax. These spiders are mainly restricted to the Southern states. However, there are other recluse varieties in many portion of the US that pose little or no threat. True to their name, recluses prefer to stay hidden and aren’t aggressive.
They’re wandering hunters, which means that they don’t spin webs. The danger of these spiders, while real, is dramatically over-blown. It’s common for people to mistake insect bites, MRSA and certain skin conditions as recluse bites, even when these cases occur outside of the spiders’ natural range.
Even if you live in an area where the recluse population is abundant, few actual bites occur. In one case, exterminators found more than 2,000 brown recluses in a family’s home. In the eight years the family had been living there, not a single bite occurred. Even if someone is bitten, the bite doesn’t always result in infection and necrosis. In healthy individuals, little more than time and an ice pack may be all that’s needed.
The hobo spider (Tegenaria) is restricted to the Pacific Northwest and is part of the funnel-web family, not to be confused with Australia’s Sydney Funnel Web. They look strikingly similar to the average wolf spider, with the exception that they build and inhabitsheet-like webs with a funnel at the end. There are many other types of funnel-web builders that are harmless, however, so learning to properly distinguish them is important.
Asking a pest control company how to distinguish them is a good start. With hobo spiders, the males are more toxic than females, particularly the subadults. Bite symptoms can include pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, swelling and necrosis.
If these spiders or any of their variants are in your area, it’s important to be cautious. Never put your hands in places you can’t see into, and always wear thick leather gloves when handling wood or debris. Keeping clutter out of corners and eliminating entry points is also recommended. It’s also a good idea to call in a pest control service to spray your home against this pest problem.
It’s best to take preventative measures instead of having to deal with one of these intimidating creatures in person. Avoid having piles of junk or clutter in your house or garage. Never stick your hand into boxes or anywhere where you can not see into the space. These are prime places where spiders take up residence. It’s best advised to not deal with these types of spiders on your own as they are no easy feat for the average homeowner.
Seek out professional help from a local company. If you are dealing with a spider situation in an outdoor garden, there are some excellent eco-friendly pest control techniques that you may employ. Additionally, there is no shortage of excellent resources online where you can find more helpful information on dealing with these dangerous spiders and other pests.
Halloween is just days away, and for many people there is nothing scarier than a creepy, crawling spider. In fact, arachnophobia affects two out of every ten males, and six out of every ten females. Some 31 percent of people that suffer from the fear of spiders, report having severe symptoms.
For some more interesting facts and tidbits about arachnophobia, check out this informative infographic put together by the spider control professionals at Bulwark Exterminating:
If you have a fear of spiders, you definitely don’t want them infesting your home. If you are seeing house spiders, black widow spiders, brown recluses spiders, or any other type of spider in your home or on your property, make sure you call a spider control professional today!
A 10-year-old Billings, Montana boy passed away this week after suffering from an infection caused by a Brown Recluse spider bite. The boy, one Keith Pierce, was brought to St. Vincent Hospital on September 30, 2014 after his mother noticed his legs began to swell. At first, the doctors were worried the swelling in the legs might be cancer; that was until a spot on the boy’s leg was discovered. In extreme pain, doctors performed emergency surgery, in which Keith never awoke from. The boys family ended resuscitation efforts, and the cause of death was determined to be caused by an infection from a Brown Recluse spider bite.
Brown Recluse Spider Bites
Brown Recluse spiders are extremely venomous spiders, and it will bite humans. Bites generally happens by accident when someone is moving boxes, putting on clothing that has been left on the floor, or digging around in a seldom used basement or closet. When a Brown Recluse spider gets unintentionally trapped against a person’s body, it feels threatened and will bite. Use caution while putting on clothes, getting into bed, and when handling cardboard boxes.
Brown Recluse venom kills the living tissue near the bite site. Once bitten, the infected are will turn a red and bluish-white or bluish-grey in color. The wound may fester and linger when it becomes infected.
The Brown Recluse bite can be quite painful, and the pain will last for several days. If bitten by a Brown Recluse spider, seek medical attention as symptoms can become life threatening. Untreated bites have been associated with the loss of appendages.
With Halloween just around the corner, the above description seems like something pulled straight out of an upcoming horror movie; but this nightmare happened to be reality for a Missouri family who was sharing their newly purchased home with some 6,000 plus Brown Recluse spiders.
6000 Brown Recluse Spiders Invade Family Home
Imagine moving into your dream home, only to find out that you’re not the only resident living inside; in fact, you’re currently have about 6000 roommates. These aren’t any normal roommates either. These roommates are dangerous, and even deadly. You discover your home is infested with 6000 Brown Recluse spiders.
This is exactly what happened to Brian and Susan Trost when the bought a Weldon Spring, Missouri house, that we will refer to as â€œHell House.â€
After moving in, the Trost’s began seeing a few Brown Recluse spiders here and there, behind loose wallpaper, or one crawling on the wall.
In the following days, she saw spiders and their webs every day. They were in the mini blinds, the air registers, the pantry ceiling, the fireplace. Their exoskeletons were falling from the can lights. Once when she was showering, she dodged a spider as it fell from the ceiling and washed down the drain.
Shortly after this, the Trost’s described the â€œwalls bleeding with spiders.â€ Spiders began falling from the ceiling. Spiders began showing up behind every mini blind. They even found spiders in the fireplace.
After battling their insurance company, and a few unsuccessful attempts to exterminate the spiders from a few pest control companies, the Trost’s decided to abandon all hope and ditch the spider infested home.
The Missouri family is currently in a lawsuit against the home’s former owners who allegedly failed to report the spider infestation. Hell House is currently owned by the back, and the Brown Recluse spiders.
Brown Recluse Spiders
The Brown Recluse spider is a hunter by nature. It does not use its web to catch insects. The Brown Recluse is usually found living inside idle or vacant structures. They also hide in attics, basements, wall voids, and can occasionally be found hiding in discarded clothing inside your home. They favor areas of low activity because they are actually quite shy in nature. Brown Recluse spiders are not aggressive, biting only when provoked and threatened.
The Brown Recluse will live about two years, but can survive without food or water for about six months. They are most common in the Southeast United States, and the lower Midwest. Cities like Tulsa, OK have serious Brown Recluse problems.
According to the last U.S. Census, 80.7 percent of this County’s population live in urban areas. As Americans, many of us love the energy of a big city; the abundance and variety of restaurants, jobs, stores, and even people.
New research from the University of Sydney suggests, that we’re not the only ones who prefer city living. Spiders that live in urban areas are showing to be healthier, and even more fertile.
Spiders Thrive In Cities
A new study suggests that spiders in the city seem to thrive in comparison to their counterparts in more rural areas. Australian scientists examined golden orb weaver spiders living in cities near the coast, and discovered that these spiders grow larger and reproduce more frequently in urban city environments.
What’s even more fascinating is that female orb weaver spiders living in the city have bigger ovaries for hosting bigger eggs, and lots more of them. This increases the success of producing more, and healthier, offspring.
Spiders And The City: Advantages Of City Living
There are several reasons researches believe spiders not only prefer living in the city, but thrive in these areas:
Cities are warmer. With all the asphalt and concrete within a city, it’s scientifically proven that they tend to be warmer. Asphalt and concrete have the ability to absorb and retain the heat from the sun more effectively. In these higher temperature areas, the spiders have more energy to put toward feeding and reproduction.
Urban affluence. One thing scientists found fascinating is that the more upscale a neighborhood, the more the spiders thrived. These more affluent areas, that had city parks and suburbs, were better taken care of. These areas had healthier patches of vegetation which increased the abundance of prey. More food equates to healthier, fatter spiders.
Cities have more artificial lights. Artificial lights attract bugs. Anybody with a porch light can attest to that. City lights attract more bugs for spiders to feast on in a concentrated area.
Less competition. Spiders found in rural areas tend to build larger webs. This allows for other spider species to zip in and steal and captured insect more easily. In cities, you don’t see this thievery as often because the thieves have fewer places to hide.
Spiders are very common pests. There are 40,000 different species of spiders in the world, and some 3,000 are found in North America. They are found on all continents except Antarctica, and scientists predict that only half of the world’s spiders have been discovered.