Can you imagine building a new home every day?
That's the work of many species of orb-weaving spiders. Not only do they build new homes, they quickly rebuild at night.
September is the best time to see the orb weavers' handiwork. Orb webs are most prominent in grassy meadows or undisturbed fields. Rise before the sun on a clear, calm morning and the normally obscure webs will be quite obvious, sometimes more than 100 per acre.
The circular webs will be glowing in the early morning light because tiny dewdrops cover each delicate strand. Arrive early because the fragile webs covered in dew crumble in the slightest post-dawn breeze.
The orb weavers place their traps high on tall grasses or on low-hanging branches of trees and shrubs to snare high-flying insects. A meadow of blue stem grass is a great spot to find the webs.
The webs are easily destroyed by weather and other disturbances and must be rebuilt almost every night.
Sometimes, a spider will eat the old web, rest and then spin a new web in the same general location. It is written that the intricate task of construction takes only about an hour. I have no proof of that.
Smoke from the wildfires out West has provided for some spectacular sunrises, even here in Minnesota. Rise early to view an orb's web silhouetted against a rising sun.
Have you ever wondered how a spider traverses its web without becoming snared in its own trap? Not all of the web strands are sticky, and the spider knows which ones are and which ones aren't.
Isn't nature grand?
Bill Marchel is an outdoors writer and photographer. He lives near Brainerd.