Skip to comments.Thousands of spiders blanket Australian farm after escaping flood
Posted on 03/07/2012 5:27:55 PM PST by Clintonfatigued
Thousands of normally solitary wolf spiders have blanketed an Australian farm after fleeing a rising flood.
Reuters reports that the flooding has forced more than 8,000 Australian (human) residents from their homes in the city of Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. But for every temporarily displaced person, it appears several spiders have moved in to fill the void.
"What we've seen here is a type of wolf spider," Owen Seeman, an arachnid expert at Queensland Museum, told Reuters. "They are trying to hide away (from the waters)."
The Australian Museum's entomology collections manager Graham Milledge told Reuters that there's even a term for the phenomenon, "ballooning," and that it is typical behavior for spiders forced to escape rising waters.
You can watch a video here of researchers on the hunt for ballooning spiders from the safety of a hot air balloon.
A dog casually walks through the ballooning spider webs (Daniel Munoz/Reuters)Thankfully for local residents, the occupying arachnids are not likely to set up permanent residence, a la the 1977 William Shatner clunker "Kingdom of the Spiders." Weather reports say the flood waters in Wagga Wagga have begun receding, meaning that locals will soon be returning to their homes and the wolf spiders will also be returning to their natural underground habitats.
And it turns out the spiders are actually doing quite a bit of good while setting up shop above ground. The spiders are feasting on mosquitoes and other insect populations that have boomed with the increased moisture brought about by the rising waters.
"The amount of mosquitoes around would be incredible because of all this water," Taronga Zoo spider keeper Brett Finlayson told the Sydney Morning Herald. "The spiders don't pose any harm at all. They are doing us a favor. They are actually helping us out."
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Kill it with fire...
I often freak people out by picking up Wolf Spiders.
I don’t like killing them, because as the article says, they are our friends.
I always save a spider’s life too. Scoop them in a cup and put them outside. I don’t know if all of them are friendly though. Not really sure if we have any super deadly types in CO. Anyway, we’ve never had any problems with any of them.
I have stood at the flood edge on a roadway at night and seen the guardrail absolutely swarming with spiders and centipedes and insects and pillbugs, all glistening in the headlights, and bet on the spiders to be the last ones standing - imagine having to pull yourself to safety along that guardrail.
But to see the trees cocooned with webbing like that - that farm must be surrounded with standing water. Creepy, creepy, creepy.
I live in the Boulder area and hike the Greenbelt Plateau and Flatirons Vista open space.
Wolf spiders were everywhere along the trail. I never knew that wolf spiders could get that big. One was four inches across. He was an aggressive little guy. He chased my walking stick when I put it in front of him.
I didn’t see any webs. They hide in holes and ambush. Pretty certain that they were wolf spiders.
I have lived in Colorado all of my life and didn’t know this.
They are. Even black widows serve a purpose. However, their bite can make someone really sick so I kill them. Sad, but better than one of my family members getting bit.
"What appears to be snow is actually spider webs blanketing an Australian farm. (Daniel Munoz/Reuters)"
"Hellllp meeee! Helllllp meeeee!"
We have Brown Recluse and Hobo spiders in CO which can cause a terrible wound and make you sick for weeks but I have never seen one to my knowledge. I scoop them up and toss them outside alive also.
I hate that farm! lol
Holy crap....Nuke it from orbit, already.
“Just the small life, Master. Hee Hee Heeeeeee”
” The Fly “ ?
Wolfs, and Tarantulas, are GOOD spiders. They are our friends. I’d never harm a hair on their bodies. I know from experience: You keep a couple of these on your porch, and you’ll never see a cricket or roach.
They scare the snot out of uninformed people, though.
I have a friend who lost a patch of skin about the size of a hand to a brown recluse bite.
Another friend got bit twice living in a loft apartment at a warehouse.
My sister can tell you that the brown recluse spider is something to be very afraid of. A few years ago she was bitten by one and the doctors were on the verge of taking off one of her legs just below the hip when one of them suggested an alternate treatment--which worked. Scary.
Yes, I saw a college-aged girl who got bit by a brown recluse in her bed. It bit the inside of her thigh and by the end of it all, she had a hole in her inner leg tissue the size of your fist where the tissue sloughed off from the poison.
She likely still has a crater there. The treatment was applying wet packing dressings until the thing decided to quit sloughing and start healing.
Can’t keep the tarantulas around my place. Drives one of our dogs nuts. She’ll “fight” with them for hours. Beyond the annoyance of the incessant barking, it makes my sides hurt after laughing so hard.
My friend who got bit twice (on separate occasions) got bit on the leg near his crotch and later on his lip (which required stitches). He moved out after that.
A Brown Recluse bite can eat a hole in your flesh as big as a softball if not treated properly. I have read the Hobo Spider bites are also very nasty.
My Brother who is a Biologist, told me that virtually all spiders are venomous.
Most of them are not harmful to humans as they either have no way of injecting their venom or it is one which we are not susceptible to.
He also said there are several others beside the Brown Recluse and Black Widow which are venomous here in the U.S.
We have no idea but we suspect one bit my wife and she too almost lost a leg gardening. I identified a few after that and was surprised how small they are.
I have a lot of spiders in my house which look almost just like the Brown Recluse but apparently are not.
Mine have the same shape and also the fiddle back tho sometimes it is clearer than on others. The two ways it differs from the description I got off the web (no pun intended) is mine have spiky like hairs on their legs and water does not seem to bother them. It will supposedly kill the real thing just like poison.
I like wolf spiders, they are kinda cool. When I ride my mountain bike at night around Dallas I see their little purply-green eyes shining in my headlight.
All I can see are their eyes, guess their bodies blend in pretty well.
Stay safe out there FReeper wolfies, y’all rock it in the night.
Just to be sure.
We have black widows in Colorado. You don’t want to tangle with them. Both the spiders and their wens have very distinct appearances. I would encourage you to learn them
australia’s different — it’s got deadly spiders — most are very dangerous. Plus deadly scorpions, etc. etc.
I was bitten by a brown recluse. Fortunately, it was a superficial bite in the thick skin of my left elbow, and I was on a military base and got good treatment ASAP. Even so, my forearm swelled up to the point where I looked like Popeye, and for weeks afterwards, I was draining puss out of a hole in my elbow at the volume of a few teaspoons full every couple hours.
I happen to like spiders. The Wolf Spider is one of my favorites. That gal can run like blue blazes when she’s chasing something. Hence the name. She doesn’t spin a web, she just chases things. I’ve got a soft spot for one of her cousins, the common centipede(Scutigera coleoptrata). That little bugger goes after cockroaches big time! Don’t like the other side of the Arachnid family though, ticks. Can do without them.
The ‘’he’’ is a ‘’she’’. Male spiders serve one purpose— mating. After that it’s Good Night Irene. The female eats him.
Correction. She does spin a web, to lay her eggs. But mostly she’s on the run.
I’ve seen black widows here in CO. I don’t mess with them, but from what I’ve seen/heard they aren’t deadly unless you have an allergic reaction to them.
Funnel weaver spiders are harmless but are often mistaken for the brown recluse, a potentially poisonous species that does not naturally occur in Colorado. Funnel weaver spiders differ from the brown recluse in that they have a darker brown color with black markings on the abdomen, lack the characteristic violin marking on the cephalothorax, have four pairs of eyes instead of three, have striped legs, and are considerably faster.
Yeah, I was referring to the spiders I know about in CO. I’ve heard about the brown recluse. I saw a show about a little girl that was bit on a playground and was dead soon after.
They aren’t deadly to an adult, but a bite will guarantee a few really miserable days. The bite itself is quite painful. There is persistent pain at the site for a while along with generalized muscle cramps/spasm and feeling terrible. I wouldn’t mess with it.
I was taught in medical school we do not have brown recluse here in Colorado. Having said that I have seen 1 or 2 bites in the last 25 years of practice that would fit the description. But at least we don’t have fire ants!
Me too. My mom said I was standing in a pile of fire ants as a toddler in Alabama getting bit all over. I know Colorado has some things that will get you here too, but we are not like the south as far as bugs, etc. My parents had a dog in Alabama and my mom said the poor thing was covered with ticks all the time and most likely eventually died from that. I do have to say that last year was really bad for mosquitoes here in Aurora though.
Brown Recluse spiders swarm all over my body every night.
Thanks to our highly mobile society lots of critters, especially small ones like bugs, have expanded their ranges considerably.
I agree with you about Black Widows, they don't worry me much because they are so shy. I spent a couple of weeks at a friend's house in NM and had to sleep in an unfinished room. There was a big Black Widow living under the drywall about six feet from where I slept on the floor. There was no baseboard so it was open at the bottom. When I would come into the room it would run up under the drywall. After a while it would come back out to sit in its web. I had no fear that it would bother me. The last thing it would ever do is venture away from its web.
That's what I've heard too. Someone may be moving here from MO say and transport a recluse or other in their belongings.