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Name: Donna
Status: educator
Age: 50s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001

I've looked everywhere, but have not found the answer to this. A very large orb weaving spider decided to take up residence above the front door of my house (which is in a very residential neighbourhood, about 7 miles from Boston MA), and there he or she has faithfully stayed since about August. I left it alone because (a) it builds beautiful and intricate webs, and (b) it eats fruit flies and other assorted insects. Every day it sleeps in a corner, and then it comes out and either builds a new web (weather permitting) or checks out the landscape and then goes back to sleep. I realise the common wisdom is these insects lack intelligence, but this one seems able to judge how to construct a web to allow for a strong wind, and on rainy nights, it doesn't venture out at all. But I digress.

While I don't like spiders, I sort of got accustomed to this one. Now, winter is coming, and I can't find any information about what will happen to it. I never thought much about orb weavers till this one came along, so please tell me-- when the really cold weather comes, will it die? Will it hibernate? Should I try to relocate it? I have no idea what the future holds for this species, and since I have never seen it mate (it studiously ignores other spiders), I assume it's not going to leave behind any spiderlings, but will it survive a cold winter? I appreciate any information you can offer.

Most spiders lay eggs and die before winter. A few, but I don't know of any orb weavers, hibernate (but I'm not a spider expert!). Relocating it would not be any help.

J. Elliott

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