Zoology

Spiders in Winter



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What happens to spiders during winter

Did you ever wonder where all the spiders go in the winter?  (Excluding those little rascals you still find occasionally in your house!)  Do they die?  Do they hibernate? Do they just hide somewhere where you don’t see all of them?

Different types of spiders handle the winter months differently.  There are those spiders that like to come on in and dwell with us in our nice warm homes.  Others, however, will die in the winter but leave their egg sacs well protected to hatch out the next spring.  Some actually do prepare for winter by weaving a web under loose bark or building overhangs where they are insulated from the cold. 

Spiders are cold blooded.  Though some spiders like to live in our homes all year round, there are those that dwell in your home only in the winter months and are looking for warmth. They don’t really want your company any more than you do theirs.  A good example of a spider type that moves into a lot of our homes is the brown recluse spider whose bite is very dangerous to human beings.  Along with other warmth hunter species, the brown recluse will build his home in boxes of papers, cracks, crevices.  Usually they will find somewhere that is not often disturbed.  But, sometimes, they find their way into a coat sleeve, in the linings of couches, etc.  Then, without meaning to, we disturb their homes and, because they don’t know what else to do, they bite!

Jumping spiders and others do make their own sac-like nests to pass the winter in.  These may be found in places like garages, sheds, etc., as well as in attics and other, close to people areas.  A lot of these sac nesters may die themselves when the winter months come, but supply their eggs a nice warm sac to survive in until spring.

There are some spiders who do hibernate in winter, usually in rock piles or piles of leaves.  These don’t sleep continuously, though, so they can go about in search of food on those days when winter is less cold.  They like to prey on other insects who may be moving sluggishly or hibernating themselves.

So where do spiders go in the winter?  If they don’t outright die in winter months, we can find them nearly everywhere:  Inside our homes where they can remain warm and active, outside in their silk sacs buried under eaves or in small crevices, or even hibernating in piles of loose leaves or bark.  And, don’t forget, not all spiders are outdoor spiders to begin with.  Many live with us all year round in the warm, soft comfort of our homes.  Not a very comforting thought to those of us with a touch of arachnophobia!

Following are some sources to look up more information on spiders and winter:

http://www.naturenet.net/ask/index.php#spiders

http://www.farmersalmanac.com/blog/2007/08/17/spiders-and-winter-weather/

http://zoology.suite101.com/article.cfm/halloween_nature_myths

http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/2005-11/1132072798.Zo.r.html

http://www.brown-recluse-spider-trap.com/how-to-get-rid-of-spiders/brown-recluse-spider-70.htm

More about this author: Sylvia Harrison

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