If you’re noticing more spiders in your home as the temperatures cool, there might be a reason for that.
According to Doug Taron, curator of biology and vice president of research and conservation at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, spiders are likely sitting in your home most of the year, but tend to be a “a little bit noticeable towards the end of the summer and into early fall.”
“There are a few spiders that will wander into people’s houses and be a bit more noticeable,” Taron told NBC Chicago. “I just had to remove an orb weaver from my dining room a couple of days ago, and some of that is the weather cooling off. Some of it is they’re attracted to lights, because if they set a pinpoint where there is light, that’s going to attract their prey.”
Orb weaver spiders, which are common in Illinois, are known for building bigger webs in the fall, according to the University of Illinois.
“Most orb weavers appear in spring, but we may notice them more in the fall as they and their webs get bigger,” the university reported.
There’s also another type of spider that could be making its presence known in the Midwest – and the reason is quite unique.
It’s called the Great Cross Spider, and it’s known as a “ballooning” spider.
These spiders will largely be seen in apartments and on condo balconies, particularly along Lake Michigan.
The spiders started in Michigan, according to Taron, but have since made their across the Lake and into Illinois.
“They as tiny, tiny spider lungs do something called ballooning. They will stand in a very exposed area and then inject a very long stream of silk from their abdomens,” Taron said. “And when the silk gets big enough, the wind will just sort of pick them up and start carrying them away and they disperse that way. And so some of them come all the way across Lake Michigan, and then they will land on apartment buildings and other high rise buildings because that’s the first thing they run into.”
If you start to see more eight-legged friends – don’t panic.
According to Taron most of the spiders that enter Chicago-area homes are “not dangerous or medically significant.”
“I know people will sometimes worry about things like brown recluses. Fortunately, Chicago is too far north,” Taron said. “Brown recluses are further south of here, and so that’s not much of an issue. Mostly they are an annoyance for some people, particularly people with arachnophobia.”
In fact, they may even be helpful.
“Spiders are very good at keeping down other pest insects that might be in your house,” he said. “And there are all kinds of insects that that will live in people’s houses. And and so spiders are actually fairly good at helping keep those numbers down. I tend to leave them unless they’re too conspicuous. Like the one that was right over my dining room table.”
And if the web is in a difficult spot, the University of Illinois encourages resident not to “commit arachnicide.”
“If an orb weaver has spun a web in an unwanted location, like your front door, gently shoo the spider away and then remove the web. After a few times, the spider will get the message and move its web.”
As for other animals or insects that might begin invading homes in the Chicago area this fall, Taron said there are three main ones to watch for – some of which could arrive in “fairly large numbers” – Mice, Boxelders and multi-colored lady beetles.
“Mice really try to go inside at this time of year,” Taron said. “This is when a lot of people will notice that they have a mouse problem as it’s as it’s the weather is getting cooler. And they are they’re seeking, you know, shelter. And and in some cases, people provide them inadvertently food, too. So there’s a lot to it for a mouse to like indoors at this time of year.”
As for boxelders and multi-colored lady beetles, Taron said it may all just be confusion.
“They tend to overwinter by hibernating or in cracks on cliffs or under bark on trees,” Taron said. “So they’re like these large, fairly flat vertical surfaces. And that’s what they will seek out for hibernation. And of course, the walls of houses look a lot like that.”