I have noticed a lot of spider webs hanging from everything imaginable.
If you ride down the road on your way to work or school, look at the power lines. You will see dew-covered spider webs strung between the lines.
You probably encountered a web in the face as you walked out your front door this week as well. That is a great way to wake up, isn’t it?
The first hard frost will kill them off, but for right now they are mating and producing egg sacs. So their eggs can overwinter and re-establish the population next spring.
Two orb-weaver spiders with large webs are most commonly seen.
Barn spiders (Araneus cavaticus) can be found on porches, where flying insects attracted to porch lights get trapped in their webs. These spiders are nocturnal, constructing a new web every evening and taking it down before dawn.
This rusty brown spider has legs extending about two inches, making it look large and noticeable. These spiders hide during the day, but at night are found in the middle of the web, waiting for insects to be trapped.
The yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia) is one of the longest spiders we have in Georgia. It is frequently found in gardens and around shrubbery where it constructs large webs to entrap flying insects. The abdomen has distinctive yellow and black markings while the front part of the body, the cephalothorax, is covered in white.
The female yellow garden spider typically remains in one spot throughout her life, repairing and reconstructing her web as it is damaged and ages. Her web may have a distinctive zigzag of silk through the middle, explaining its other common name, “writing spider.”
Unlike the nocturnal barn spider, the yellow garden spider can be found in its web anytime. Sometimes a smaller spider will be found in the web with her; this is the male garden spider.
These spiders have been present all summer, eating pest insects and growing. By late summer, they are large enough that people start noticing them.
Georgia has more than 800 species of spiders, all of which are harmless if you leave them alone. All spiders are more afraid of you than you are of them.
Michael Wheeler is county extension coordinator for the UGA Cooperative Extension office in Hall County. You can contact him at 770-535-8293, www.hallcounty.org/extension. His column appears weekly and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.