Orb Weaver Spiders In Iowa: Identification And Behavior Of This Specie

Orb weaver spiders in Iowa come in so many different species that it’s hard to tell them apart from each other or from other types of spiders.

The orb-weaver spider family, Araneidae, is one of the most diverse in terms of size and appearance among all spider families.

You can find orb weavers all over the world, except in the Arctic and Antarctica. In North America alone, there are about 180 species of orb weaver spiders.


What Do Orb Weaver Spiders in Iowa Look Like?

Orb Weaver Spiders In Iowa
Picture Depicting What the Orb Weaver Spiders In Iowa Look Like

Despite their large size and fearsome appearance, orb weavers are not considered to be medically important. Orb weavers rarely bite and only do so when threatened and unable to escape.

If bitten by an orb weaver, the bite and injected venom are comparable to those of a bee sting, with no long-term implications unless the bite victim happens to be hyper-allergic to the venom.

However, the most noticeable thing about orb weaver spiders in Iowa isn’t their look, but the large webs they create.

Orb weaver spiders in Iowa build organized, circular webs, like the ones you see in Halloween decorations. These webs have radial silk strands that look like the spokes of a wheel, connected by many concentric circular strands.

The garden orb weaver spider’s web can be very large, up to three feet in diameter. In their natural habitat, you’ll often see these spiders hanging head-down in their web.

Like all spiders, orb weavers in Iowa have a cephalothorax (a fused head and thorax), an abdomen, eight legs, and fang-like mouthparts called chelicera.

Many orb weavers in Iowa are brightly colored with hairy or spiny legs and a large abdomen that overlaps the cephalothorax.

The appearance of their abdomens varies between species. Some have spiny, smooth, or irregularly shaped abdomens.

Most nocturnal orb weavers are brown or gray, while daytime species often have bright colors like yellow or orange with black markings.


Read also: Golden Orb Spiders; Facts, Behavior, Identification & Control


What is the Behavior Of Orb Weaver Spiders In Iowa?

These critters have special behaviors that are usually attributed to them:

  • Orb weaver spiders in Iowa are mostly nocturnal, often building or repairing their webs at night.
  • Instead of hunting or wandering, they stay in their webs, waiting for prey to get caught. If they leave their webs, they hide nearby in places like rolled-up leaves or plant branches.
  • Homeowners usually notice orb weavers in late summer and fall, when the spiders are fully grown and their webs are most visible.
  • They feed on small insects, like:
    • Flies
    • Moths
    • Beetles
    • Wasps
    • Mosquitoes
    • Small frogs
    • Hummingbirds
  • Orb weavers prefer areas with plenty of prey and structures to support their webs. You’ll typically find them around night lights, tree branches, tall grass, weeds, fences, walls, and bushes.


Read also: Wolf Spider Austin Texas: Do These Spiders Pose Any Threat?


How to Prevent Orb Weaver Spiders in Iowa

Preventing orb weaver spiders is usually unnecessary unless an orb weaver builds a web in a location frequented by people, in which case someone could be adversely affected by arachnophobia, the extreme fear of spiders.

Some key preventive things a homeowner can do are the following:

  1. Orb weaver spiders are attracted to lights because they attract insects, their primary food source. Turn off unnecessary outdoor lights or use yellow bug lights to reduce insect activity near your home.
  2.  Inspect your home for cracks, gaps, and holes around doors, windows, and the foundation. Seal these entry points with caulk or weather stripping to prevent spiders from getting inside.
  3. Keep your yard free of debris, such as leaf piles, woodpiles, and overgrown vegetation. Trim bushes and trees away from your house to reduce the number of hiding spots for spiders.
  4. Natural repellents like essential oils (peppermint, tea tree, or eucalyptus) can deter spiders. Spray a mixture of these oils with water around your home’s exterior and entry points.
  5. Inside your home, keep areas clean and free of clutter. Regularly vacuum corners, ceilings, and other places where spiders might build webs.
  6.  Regularly remove any spider webs you find around your home and property. This discourages spiders from settling in and building new webs.


Read also: Black House Spiders In Colorado: Identifying These Unique Critters



In conclusion, orb weaver spiders in Iowa are interesting and important parts of our ecosystem.

Even though their large webs and nighttime activities can seem a bit creepy, these spiders help control insect populations.

By learning about their habits and where they like to live, we can appreciate their role and take simple steps to avoid unwanted run-ins. Ultimately, orb weavers do more good than harm, helping to keep the ecosystem in balance.

Thanks for reading!

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