Every time I’ve gone out of the house today, I’ve walked through long strands of spider web floating through the air. They’re everywhere, and they’re very tickly. I tried taking a photo but they’re so fine, I’m not sure how well they show up.
Time to investigate.
My quick bit of research online tells me that the threads are being produced by orb weaver spiders. At the end of each one is a baby spider, venturing out in the big wide world on its own for the first time. It’s been a good summer for orb weavers apparently, with them laying record numbers of eggs, and this late hot spell, following after a damp spell, is what’s triggered this final mass exodus of the last batch of this year’s babies.
The spiderlings leave home by throwing out a thread and letting air currents carry them away. Some make it into the upper atmosphere and travel huge distances. Others land a bit closer to home, but not many at all survive the trip and grow into adults, only around 1%. The prognosis of that poor survival rate explains the huge number of web strands around at present. Each pair of spiders is pessimistically producing around 200 babies at a time, knowing that only a handful will be giving them Mother’s and Father’s Days’ cards!