Tag Archives: ballooning

Spiders – Very Hungry Hunters!

Spiders are a very successful group of arthropods that are found everywhere from deserts to grasslands to forests to Arctic tundra.  There are more than 45,000 species identified worldwide and that number is growing with new discoveries. It has been estimated that there are around 130 spiders occupying every 10 square feet of land on the earth and the combined weight of all spiders is around 30 million tons.

Collectively, spiders kill between 400 million to 800 million tons of prey annually. Their prespider-eating-insects-3479732_1280y consists of insects and springtails (small insect like arthropods), with larger spider species consuming birds, fish, frogs, lizards, and small mammals.

Compare this to what humans consume, which is estimated at 400 million tons of meat and fish yearly.

According to researchers, spiders are not only important predators, but also find themselves on the menu of thousands of other animals. frogs-eating-spider-4951306_1280Between 8,000 and 10,000 other predators,wasp-eating-spider parasitoids and parasites feed only on spiders, while spiders at the same time make up an important part of the diet of an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 bird species.

While it’s a bit creepy to think about so many spiders eating so many creatures, year-in and year-out, it’s important to realize that this is just part of the world’s natural food chain .

The only other group of arthropods that can compete with spiders, pound-for-pound, are ants, but spider-tarantula-eating-4362987_1280ants are not overwhelmingly carnivorous like spiders.

Even though spiders may be out there eating their weight in gold, or insects. They are still not welcome in our homes and businesses.  In fact, they’re persona non grata, just about everywhere people live, play or congregate.  This may have something to do with their creepy, eyes, eight to be exact, and their ability to crawl, run and jump on eight multi-jointed legs. Oh, and they’re hairy, they bite and inject venom, and they build spider-in-web-with-food-4631652_1280sticky webs.

Keeping spiders out of our living spaces is a never-ending battle for most of us.  So, when we get tired of swatting at, stomping on, or hunting for spiders, calling a professional pest control company is next on the agenda.

woman-in-spider-web-corky-cartoon-2Spider control is best left to the experts.  They know where they live, they know why they’re there, and they know how to get rid of them.  Corky’s Pest Control has been successfully controlling spiders on customers properties for over 50 years in Southern California.  Their Ultimate Pest Control Service is a uniquely developed system that combines, physically removing webs, using state approved materials for the elimination of spiders and consistently applying these measures in a timely manner. Most important, is a consistenraining-spiderst, and sustainable, treatment plan, for without one, spiders are sure to re-infest, since they crawl and float in (known as ballooning), from neighboring properties.

 

Fun Fact: spider-clipart-arachnid-155533_640

Spiders consume approximately 10 percent of their body weight in food per day. That’s equivalent to a 200-pound man eating 20 pounds of meat each day or, 2000 pounds of spiders consuming a 200-pound man, in 1 day.

Very Hungry Hunters, Indeed!

Spiders Are Flying High This Spring.

Spiders crawl around your house, some jump across your lawn — and others take transoceanic flights. With airships made from strands of silk, some species of tiny spiders take to the air in a process called “ballooning”.balloons-hot-air-balloons-balloon-fiesta-nature-landscapes-b085e9-1024-2

Ballooning spiders were first documented in the 17th century but until the 21st century, scientists had no idea exactly how these spiders take to the air. So modern day researchers, in Berlin, used a wind tunnel to approximate conditions that would cause spiderlings to balloon.  What they observed was fascinating.

crab-spider-legs-up-54598_960_720-2The spiders (crab spiders) first sensed the wind through hairs on their legs. Then, they further tested the wind conditions by lifting one or both, of their front legs into the air for 5 to 8 seconds. They’d repeated the process, until they were satisfied with the wind conditions, each time rotating their bodies in the direction of the wind.

When the spiders were finally ready to take flight, they raised their abdomens and spun their silk — each strand around 2 to 4 meters long (6.6 to 13 feet) — eventually forming a triangular kite of sorts. With enough drag from the silk against the wind, the spiders used these thin, silky sails to take off. During takeoff and throughout the flight, the spiders kept their legs stretched out, just like human parachutists.raining-spiders

This is all well and good but how do researchers explain ballooning in the absence of wind?

According to a different set of researchers out of Berlin, drag forces from wind or thermals are not the only things responsible for this airborne scattering of spiders. Electric fields or electromagnetic fields, at strengths found in the atmosphere, can also trigger ballooning behavior and provide lift in the absence of any air movethe-frog-1584300_960_720ment.

So, why do these amazing creatures take to the air? Ground travel is just too hazardous.baby-birds-in-nest-384896_960_720

Ballooning as a  mode of travel is primarily used by newly hatched baby spiders to escape being cannibalized by their siblings and fed upon by predators. Adult spiders sometimes resort to it when resources are scarce, or to escape hazards (fires, floods and predators).

In casting their fate to the wind, spiders may drop just a few feet from their takeoff site, or they might get caught in a jet stream that takes them across oceans. But, in all cases, they go where the wind takes them.  Fair winds little spiders!

Wiki commons, Little Grove Farms, Spiderlings ballooning in Santa Cruz Mountains.
Wiki commons, Little Grove Farms, Spiderlings ballooning in Santa Cruz Mountains.

The spiders are falling! The spiders are falling!

Here are some tips to prevent these flying, floatispider-web-wrapped-people-53b8ac2c3810a68c25b00366961187d7ng and falling  invaders from getting into your home. Just follow the link: https://www.corkyspest.com/diy-spider.html