Identifying Spiders by Their Webs

spider on a spider web

Spiders are one of the most common household pests. Most homeowners cannot easily decode the type of spiders infesting their home. One way of identifying a spider is to closely study its webs. Although this isn't the most accurate method for spider identification, it can provide important clues that help in planning the appropriate spider control measures. This includes handy pointers about the feeding habit and probable host sites of the spiders. Following are the common types of spider webs and their respective interpretations:

1. Orb-shaped Spider Webs

spider web

These webs are woven by spiders belonging to the Araneidae family. These spiders are also called banded spiders or orb spiders. The golden orb spiders, humped orb weaver, and the silver orb spiders are the common type of orb spiders. They are commonly found in domestic spaces having ventilation in contact with the moisture-laden garden air. The orb web-weaving spiders tend to multiply very quickly. Hence, the very first signs of orb webs should be a warning of a potential spider infestation. Although, orb spiders are supposed to be garden-infesting spiders, they are known to become endemic to damp households.

Identifying Features

These spider webs are often called Wagon Wheel Webs because of the wheel-like appearance of the web. The web appears to have spokes with a pronounced, thick outer web layering and smaller, inner chambers. Orb spider webs are difficult-to-detect in daylight or in household lighting. The web strands are very thin. Hence, you should check for these spider webs during the morning time. During the early hours, the webs become visible as they sparkle in the settled, morning dew.

2. Funnel-shaped Spider Webs

These are amongst the largest of the household variety of spider webs. These webs are woven by the Hunting Spiders, also called Grass Spiders. Funnel webs are commonly found around the base of garden shrubs. Grass spiders have a tendency to invade household spaces in vicinity of the garden/yard. Funnel web-weaving spiders belong to the Agelenidae spider family. These are nocturnal feeders. Often garden pots placed along the outer wall of the house are the source of garden spiders. From here, the spiders edge inside the house through cracked window/door edgings. If you find funnel spider webs inside your house, all crevices and nooks between the main household and the garden space should be sealed.

Identifying Features

The entire web is in the shape of a large funnel that has an easy-to-observe opening. The silk of the web is much drier than usual spider webs. The web is usually spread, horizontally. Older funnel spider webs can be easily identified due to their flat, thick strands and a dried cone-like structure at one end.

3. Tangled Spider Webs

brown spider in a web

These spider webs are commonly found in neglected parts of the home like the attic, older ceilings and the basement. The most common spiders weaving tangled spider webs include the cellar spiders, stick spiders, and black/brown widow spiders. The widow spiders are often called comb-footed spiders. Most of the cobweb-spinning spiders are commonly referred to as common house spiders. They are grouped as a part of the Theridiidae spider family.

Identifying Features

Tangled spider webs are commonly called cobwebs. These are associated with poor household hygiene, since the cobwebs’ strands is often loaded with dust particles. The entire web lacks any kind of symmetry. At best, the web resembles a number of smaller web columns that are stuck together. The web’s strands are often sticky. Sometimes, weathered strings of older cobwebs may hang from newly-woven cobwebs.