October is my favorite time of year to go out and search for spiders! After feeding on pesky bugs all summer long, spiders are at their biggest and easiest to spot in late fall before the season changes. Spiders are arachnids and are found in virtually every type of environment. You can find them in and around your house in rarely disturbed places, in trees, in fields and some even burrow in the ground! Missouri is home to more than 300 types of spiders, so you’re sure to find a variety.
When going on a spider hunt, it’s best to go in the early morning or the late evening. As the sun is nearing the horizon, the rays slant at just the right angle to see the twinkling of a spider’s delicate silk web.
Or, if you’re feeling brave, you can grab a powerful flashlight and a friend and go hunting in the dark! It’s really fun to shine your lights out over a large field and see the glittering eyes of the wolf spiders in the dark.
When I find large webs, I like to capture them on black paper to admire. To capture a web of your own, you’ll need:
- Two sheets of black construction paper (the more texture the paper has, the better)
- A paint brush
- A tray
First, take the paint brush and, this is very important, shoo off the spider if they’re still on their web! Then, take the two sheets of black paper and sandwich the web gently between, breaking off any silk strands that are hanging out the sides. Since spider webs are transparent, it will be basically invisible until the next step. Place the black sheet of paper with the web on your tray, and cover it in glitter, with the web facing up.
Move the glitter around the paper so that it’s thoroughly covered, and then shake the excess glitter off onto the tray. Since spider webs are sticky enough to catch unsuspecting bugs to eat, they will act as invisible glue. If you caught a web, it should now be twinkling with glitter against the black paper!
Make sure to thank the artist, your friend, the spider!
If you want to read more about spiders and learn some new spider facts, check out this list of great books all about spiders! Happy Hunting!