What happened to our spiders? #729079 - Ask Extension


What happened to our spiders? #729079

Asked October 06, 2020, 1:27 PM EDT

There are no spiderwebs in our backyard. Normally, at this time of year as I walk in our garden, I walk through lots of them. And the females normally are huge and hanging in the least disturbed spots. This morning I realized they’re gone! I haven’t made a search for them, but they’re not in their usual spots. It’s kind of disturbing. We don’t spray, and as far as I know, our neighbors don’t either. Could the smoke have affected them? I’m a bit worried. This has never happened before in the 18 years I’ve lived in this house.

Multnomah County Oregon

Expert Response

Thank you for your question. You might not want to read the entire article, but here is an Extension article on spider loss which indicates that the primary reason we are losing spiders are (1) habitat loss, (2) alien species introduction, and (3) pesticides and pollution. (Insecticides kill insects, which are the primary source of food for spiders.)  http://www.umich.edu/~esupdate/library/97.03-04/skerl.html    Although this is a relatively "old" article, it's fair to say that nothing has improved since its publication, so don't expect to see a resurgence any time soon.  Hope this is helpful.
Kristena LaMar Replied October 06, 2020, 6:15 PM EDT
Thanks for the info; I downloaded the UMich paper. 
It’s sad to hear this. I used to be terribly afraid of spiders, but came to appreciate them and learned they are typically harmless to people. I miss the beauty they bring to our garden. I hope they return next year. 
The Question Asker Replied October 07, 2020, 12:53 AM EDT
I agree. But changes in the number. health and future of those species with whom we live will not change until we do.
Kristena LaMar Replied October 07, 2020, 12:58 AM EDT

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