Spider dude, Spider dude
October 3, 2021 5:33 PM   Subscribe

Any idea what kind of spider this is? It was spinning a pretty large web in Bethesda, Md. I politely relocated it away from the screaming children, but would love to know if it's just a creepy looker or a scary biter?
posted by atomicstone to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
Best answer: Looks like an orb weaver spider to me. Definitely not venomous, and pretty chill as well. I put them in my kitchen windows to keep down fruit flies and other pests.
posted by ananci at 5:46 PM on October 3, 2021 [5 favorites]

My non expert guess is hello and bonjour to an orb weaver.
posted by jameaterblues at 5:49 PM on October 3, 2021

Spotted orbweaver?
posted by BundleOfHers at 6:05 PM on October 3, 2021

Not sure what kind but his name is Carl I met him at a convention three years ago in Boston, solid guy!
posted by vrakatar at 6:14 PM on October 3, 2021 [28 favorites]

Its orbweaver season. They are harmless/ good even tho i hate them. Let em be.
posted by supermedusa at 6:21 PM on October 3, 2021 [4 favorites]

It's absolutely an orb weaver, and this ubiquitous spider might be the species.
posted by polecat at 8:44 PM on October 3, 2021

they're awesome at keeping flies, mosquitos, and flying nasties at bay.
posted by j_curiouser at 8:45 PM on October 3, 2021

Oh, and now that I re-read your question, I see that you asked whether it bites. I regularly pick them up in my bare hand to toss them out of the way, and I've always heard that they're harmless. However, I was just today musing with a friend about the fact that, despite this being October in Portland, OR, the landscape is not blanketed with those cross spiders. He said he thought the heat wave might have cooked them all. Then he told me that he is often bitten by them when he's gardening and such. He said it's like a mosquito bite. I am dubious about the story, since I think being bitten by actual mosquitos seems like a more likely explanation.
posted by polecat at 8:53 PM on October 3, 2021

Best answer: How convenient that a spider god was available to answer this question.
posted by Comet Bug at 9:39 PM on October 3, 2021 [9 favorites]

Best answer: For the record, Orb weavers are definitely venomous, although they rarely bite and are easy/safe to handle.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:48 AM on October 4, 2021 [1 favorite]

If you want to introduce orb weavers to the kiddos in a squee-worthy (rather than scream-worthy) way, in April-May these hatch as a clump of tiny spiderlings with neat little yellow racing stripes. They soon dissipate to their own corners of the garden, where you'll find the tiniest perfect orb webs guarded by an impossibly smol spood wedged into little spaces. They grow fast over the summer, and end up just like the one you saw.
posted by scruss at 8:01 AM on October 4, 2021 [2 favorites]

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