In case you’re wondering where all the spiders go in the winter…


Easy. They’re in my house.

It’s been consistently cool out here in Minnesota — temperatures have been right around 0°C, we’ve had a little light rain, a little snow. It’s not a happy time for spiders outdoors, and not at all good for their prey. The mosquitos are mostly dead! I see an occasional fly, but mostly the local arthropods are busy diapausing or retired to refugia or migrating away, while some are in their larval stages hiding away in lakes and streams. It’s not easy being a spider right now.

Mary of the piercing eyes spotted these little ones spinning away in out of the way places in our kitchen, though. They’re tiny, little more than dots, but they’d put up barely visible webs under a windowsill, possibly hoping to catch the rare fruit fly from the produce we keep on the counter. I had to zoom in with my camera lens to recognize them, and yes, they’re Parasteatoda.

They’re lucky, now they get to go into my lab where they’ll get a more reliable diet.

P.S. They’re not all in my house. There are some hanging out in your house, too.

Comments

  1. TGAP Dad says

    Are there any spiders that prey on the invasive (Brown Marmorated) stink bugs? Because THAT’S what’s been coming into my house lately, and I’d welcome some reinforcements.

  2. christoph says

    @#1, TGAP Dad: I’ve been told they don’t stink unless you squish them. So, don’t squish them.

  3. blf says

    TGAP Dad@1, From Ye Pffft! of All Knowledge (citations omitted):

    In China, Trissolcus japonicus, a parasitoid wasp species in the family Scelionidae, is a primary predator. This species is not currently present in the U.S., but is undergoing study for possible introduction. The major problem with this idea is the possibility that T. japonicus will also become an invasive species with no native predators. Before introducing the Chinese wasp, scientists are trying to find natural predators of the stink bug already present in the United States. To do so, they have studied other species of parasitoid wasps native to the United States. They found that several other species of the parasitoid wasps attacked stink bug eggs in Virginia soybean fields. Several indigenous parasitoids and predators have been reported to attack stink bug eggs, nymphs and adults in North America and Europe. Researchers have also experimented with different spider species, as well as the wheel bug. Several spider species attacked both the eggs and adult stink bugs. Pill bugs eat stinkbug eggs. The wheel bug, however, was the most voracious predator and attacked the eggs and adults more consistently.

    So, some spiders, possibly…

  4. dangerousbeans says

    There are some hanging out in your house, too.

    they migrate to Australia? impressive!

  5. aramad says

    Coming from a hot place, it is a little amazing to see someone refer to 0 celsius as ‘cool’.

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