Animals in Fall: the Cross Spider

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Fall brings a sparking of dew to the Nature Preserve, and it’s impossible to ignore the cross spiders and their webs that dot the grounds. Although the sight of a spider makes some people cringe, these animals provide an important service for humans. 

Garden dwelling spiders like the cross spider are a critical predator of insects. When mosquitoes are swarming, trust your friendly neighborhood cross spider to keep them under control. Worldwide, spiders consume upwards of 400 billion insects every year!  

These little fellas are resilient, and have a lot in common with the typical Washingtonian – they recycle and they prepare for the rain. Right before a thunderstorm hits, cross spiders can be seen recycling their webs into a tasty dinner to prevent damage from wind and rain. Their delicate senses can detect changes in pressure and moisture that signal inclement weather. The spider then consumes its web and bunkers down for the storm!  

These spiders are also naturally drawn to the outdoors. They rarely wander inside human dwellings, preferring the cold and the rain. So, while not everyone will become a spider fan this winter, understanding their gentle nature and valuable pest control services makes spotting them a little more bearable.