It has been a frigid week, and the fun continues.  Not for this little spider, however.  I came home from work to find this little body sitting on my window sill.  I have never been sure how spiders normally survive the often frigid winters in Canada.  I never see them outside in the winter normally.  Many populate especially the basement of our century home.  Mostly we see the Daddy Long Legs, not really spiders in fact but arachnids none the less.  The frozen spider pictured is like the hundreds we find in the barns and on the porch overhang that surrounds our home.  They are brown and can grow to quite enormous size especially in the barn where from spring to fall there is never a lack of insect food!

This poor creature is probably an Araneus cavaticus otherwise known as a barn spider.  It is a type of orb-weaver which means is weaves a circular web which is the web-type typically thought of when you think “spider”.  

The next time you see a spider web, please, pause and look a little closer. You’ll be seeing one of the most high-performance materials known to man. — Cheryl Hayashi

I have discovered that this type of spider tends to live only one season but its eggs can survive the freezing cold of winters because mom creates a heavily insulated web nest which explains why our barns quickly become populated with these arachnids when the warmer weather of spring arrives.  Although their webs tend to hang low in doorways I try to avoid getting rid of all webs as these spiders are excellent hunters of flies and mosquitoes which are much more bothersome to our livestock.

I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad.  This spider, probably a female, lived her one year.  She probably laid hundreds of eggs which are likely hidden in the rafters above my doorway.  And her progeny will  grow, build their own circular webs and rid the area around my home of thousands of pesky flying insects.  It is the web of life – no pun intended.


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