Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Meet The Cross Orbweaver

I was happy to see this little Cross Orbweaver out near the garden, because orbweavers (also known as garden spiders) are great little helpers as far as taking care of plant pests.

I'd assumed this spider was a garden spider because of its striped legs, but it's much smaller than the one I'd seen in years past. It seems that instead of the one big garden spider, this year there are a bunch of these little guys.

If you're wondering where the "cross" part of its name comes from, check out the white pattern on the top of the spider's back.

Isn't that amazing? It's like someone painted that cross on the spider. Here's a far away shot, to show its size (relative to a web anyway).

And here's a side view. The spider doesn't have a funky looking head. I think that dark blob near its head is the spider's dinner being wrapped up.

For those who'd like to read a little more about Cross Orbweavers:

Identifying a Cross Orbweaver

I'm seeing these spiders all over! I'd photographed this web a few days ago, not knowing what kind of spider it belonged to. But today I saw another Cross Orbweaver on it.

I was watering some plants and accidentally got the web with the hose. I learned that spiderwebs are even stronger than I realized, and that they dry super quickly. I actually had to sprinkle it with water again, because it dried in the time I went inside to grab my camera.

Now, this web belongs to a different type of spider. This is a sheet web, which you might remember seeing in a previous blog post. When I shared a pic of a sheet web before, it was in a tree. This web is much denser than the one above.

I didn't see a spider around the grass when I took these photos. But looking online, I learned that these are the work of Sheet-Web Weavers. According to what I've read, it would be really uncommon for me to see one of these spiders. They're small spiders, and usually hiding between layers of webbing!

It's funny, maybe a week ago, when the bugs started becoming a bigger and bigger problem on the vegetables, I thought "I wish I had a whole troop of spiders to come in and help with this". Looks like my wish came true. I really am seeing less garden pests around!

I'm going to end with an awesome video I ran across. Here you can watch a spider create its web in fast motion, and listen to some rockin' music in the process:

And for those who receive my blog posts in email form, here's a link to it:

Spiderweb time lapse

Isn't nature amazing? That a little critter like this could make something so intricate. Not that spiders work as fast as in the video, but I'm still amazed at how fast they work. I put a garden flag out yesterday and was surprised to find a massive web on it by the end of the day! And on that web was another orbweaver. :)


  1. Orbweavers are common here in England and come in all sizes. I've got a few in the backyard and they like to set up house in the shrubs.

    1. Alison ~ I've noticed that we have a lot of bugs in common. When I'm reading about various bugs I've found, I usually see that they're also in England. I suppose that's because we have a similar enough climate.

      I'm starting to think these spiders like setting up home everywhere! That first, big one that was around before liked being near the shrubs too. This year, they've built webs on windows, plants, a flag pole, and a bird house!

  2. I'd never seen an orb weaver of any sort until a couple years ago, I found one of the "pumpkin" variety while taking down a Halloween prop, of all things! it was huge & bright orange so it was named appropriately.

    1. Lisa ~ Oh yeah! It's easy to tell how those pumpkin spiders got their name. One of those actually walked in my front door last autumn! Or maybe I should say sauntered. They have that kind of sassy little walk. That's so perfect for you to find a pumpkin orb weaver on a Halloween prop! Which prop was it?