MUNDANE MYSTERIES: What Are Cobwebs & Where Do They Come From?

In addition to having been the classic joke nickname that I was given as a kid, the “cobweb” is also a classic Halloween decoration…a sticky, delicate blanket that stretches across ceilings & walls as a remnant of a past spider’s occupation. Some homes don’t need the artificial version, however, since genuine cobwebs are consistent nuisances that require perpetual prodding with dusters. But, where do cobwebs really come from?

The word “cobweb” describes any web spun by a member of the family of spiders known as Theridiidae, which features an impressive array of different species that can be found in residential homes. But, colloquially, folks tend to use “cobweb” to refer to abandoned threads of webbing that end up cleared away with brooms. When they’re in use, cobwebs tend to be sticky yet unstructured, without the intricately amazing design of real spider webs that are woven by other species. Spiders construct their webs as a way of trapping prey, but when one location ends up being less-than-fruitful, they just move somewhere else. That, along with the death of each web’s weaver, is usually what leads to the abandoned cobwebs that we see, which eventually fall apart & dangle limply from room corners as they collect & trap dust.

That flypaper characteristic, however, is what makes you notice a cobweb in the first place. Because, as they accumulate dust particles, cobwebs become more visible. You probably also notice single, isolated web strands, which are most likely from spiders’ interior travels as they search for places to settle in.

If you’d prefer to cut back on the cobweb clutter in your casa, simply dusting regularly can reduce their visibility (or even their existence). Also, be sure to look for & seal cracks around doors & windows which could allow access to eight-legged interlopers. Or, just do what I do: simply wait it out & get the extra mileage out of your cobwebs until after you’ve used them for authentic Halloween decorations. It’s only 9 months away, they’ll be fine until then!

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at [email protected].

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