Many Wisconsin residents are noticing uniquely marked spiders in their yards this summer, but it turns out this species has existed for a long time throughout the state.

Beautiful Creatures?

There are a few things in life that you will never hear me call "beautiful";

  1. Hairstyles from the 80s
  2. Any food smothered in ketchup
  3. Insects...specifically, SPIDERS

My family spends a lot of our free time at our cabin up in Wisconsin and I follow several Facebook groups from that area so I'm aware of all the happenings and cool things to do and see while I'm up there. I've read a lot of interesting stories in these groups, learned about a lot of cool places, and discovered Wisconsin creatures that I never knew existed and needed to be aware of.

What Kind of Spider Is This?

Over the weekend I spotted multiple people, in several Wisconsin groups I follow, sharing pics of a horrible-looking insect they found in their yard, and each pictured was followed by the question; "what the heck is this?".

While everyone has their own definition of beautiful, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't skeptical about several people calling this spider beautiful in the comments...

Bernadette Crotteau via Facebook
Bernadette Crotteau via Facebook

Sure, that spider is unique looking and spins a pretty extraordinary web, BUT I would still run FAST in the opposite direction if I spotted one of these somewhere on or in my home!

So, now for the big question; what kind of horrible spider is that?!?

It's an Orb-Weaver Spider, and apparently, it's completely harmless and very essential to the environment.

What Is an Orb-Weaver Spider?

Wikipedia describes an Orb-Weaver Spider like this;

Orb-weaver spiders are members of the spiderfamilyAraneidae. They are the most common group of builders of spiral wheel-shaped webs often found in gardens, fields, and forests.

orb-weaving spiders are three-clawed builders of flat webs with sticky spiral capture silk. The building of a web is an engineering feat, begun when the spider floats a line on the wind to another surface.

Are Orb-Weaver Spiders Dangerous?

Orb-Weaver Spiders may look pretty scary, (don't they teach us in school that brightly colored creatures are typically dangerous/poisonous?), but they are actually harmless to humans and fantastic bug eaters. They appear most often in late summer/early fall and love to snack on pests like flies, moths, wasps, mosquitoes, and beetles.

Basically, if you find an orb-weaver spider in your yard, leave it be and let it take care of your insect pest matter how scary it looks.

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