A group of spiders commonly known as longjawed orbweavers are encountered frequently by pest control professionals within and around homes in the US, sometimes in large numbers. Ten longjawed orbweaver species have been documented within Texas, and the species most often found within and around homes in the state include the golden silk orbweaver (Nephila clavipes), the mabel orchard orbweaver (Leucauge venusta) and the Guatemalan longjawed orbweaver (Tetragnatha guatemalensis). These spiders are notable for possessing unusually large jaws that cut an intimidating figure, but the most notable aspect of longjawed orb weaver species is their habit of building colossal webs within trees. These unimaginably large webs, which can be more accurately described as a large number of communal webs, are not often discovered, and therefore, they have not been well described in scientific literature. A few years ago, experts and residents alike were astonished to find a mass of communal longjawed orbweaver webs located as high as 40 feet above the ground within residential trees where they covered much of a Dallas suburb.
The most recently documented mass network of longjawed orbweaver webs took form within trees located in Arkansas State Bend Park where numerous entomologists, biologists and arachnophiles traveled from faraway distances to feast their eyes on the breathtaking sight. One year earlier in 2015, an even larger mass of webs were found draped from trees where they covered a large section of a Rowlett neighborhood outside of Dallas. After examining the webs, Mike Quinn, a Texas state insect biologist, claimed that he had never seen anything like it, and much like the rest of the scientific community, he understands little about the behavior that makes such massive web networks possible. However, Quinn stated that Guatemalan longjawed orbweavers are likely the principal web architects, and they account for a majority of the species inhabiting the webs. Millions of spiders could be seen crawling about the silk webbing, and several specimens regularly fell from the canopy where Quinn made a point to avoid sustaining painful and venomous bites, which have been known to cause medically significant allergic reactions in rare cases. Pest control professionals often receive residential complaints about these spiders, which often appear within and around homes where they frequently construct nuisance webs on furniture, shrubs, garages, decks and even houses. The best way to eliminate the spiders and their webs is with a shopvac and specialized spider retrieval tools.
Have you ever encountered a spider web that bridged two adjacent houses?