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grishaxxx

I, too, am in awe of them - no arachnophobia here. Not sure why (I get bit occasionally, and the venom is nasty), but they don't creep me out. The webs are thoughtless masterworks, and if they catch the little buggers that eat sweaters, all the better.
They can weaken, if not kill, plants, however, so it's worth getting an expert opinion on the pics you posted.

Holden Lewis

They're not spiders, they're tent caterpillars. They'll start chomping on the leaves soon. Kill them with Bt.

http://www.uky.edu/Ag/Entomology/entfacts/trees/ef423.htm

grishaxxx

O shit - forgot about those - HL is right - eradication! Ugly!

Linkmeister

Try one of these; they occasionally appear inside the house.

Charles Winder

Those look like funnel-web spiders, perhaps Agelenopsis or Baronopsis. Try teasing one of the spiders out of the little cave at the base of the funnel and getting a picture of it. Please don't poison anything.

KathyF

I don't know about your spiders, or caterpillers, but the spiders here are world class Olympian spiders. I clean their webs off the windows and doors and within a couple of days this looks like a haunted house again. It must look creepy to other people, but spiders have never bothered me a'tall.

Did you see the picture I posted the other day of the spider dangling from my kitchen ceiling? I tried to compare it to Karl Rove, but the metaphor just didn't spin out.

(Sorry.)

Mike

Funnel web spiders. Tent catapillars envelop the whole end of a tree branch. Steer clear of pesticide overuse -- let the hunters feast.

Geoduck

Still, you need to be careful. You could end up like William Shatner and Co. at the end of Kingdom of the Spiders. (An underrated little horror flick, in my opinion..)

coturnix

Looks like funnel spiders to me. Caterpillars are clearly visible, in great numbers, inside their tents. Tents are usually in the branches of trees, while yours appear to be on grass and shrubs. You can see some pics of tent caterpillars on this amazing photo-blog:

http://www.captivatedbymandie.com/2005/08/woodsy-walk.html

Anne Laurie

You're gonna have to sacrifice at least one tent to be sure. If they're spiders, the survivor will rapidly rebuild. If they're tent caterpillars, you need to get them off your plants immediately. If you don't want to use poison indiscriminately, I'm told you can cut off the individual tents, stick them in heavy-duty black plastic leaf bags, & spray the poison into the bag before you take it to the dump. Your bushes will look a little ragged, but not as naked as if you leave the caterpillars to multiply! (And, yes, I can attest from experience that the little buggers are tough enough to survive being left in the summer sunlight inside a black plastic "cooker" for a week -- one way or another you have to poison them before you can discard them.)

SV

Holy Moley - you didn't find any dwarves or hobbits hanging up inside there, did you?

Leah A

I live on the other coast, so this is probably entirely wrong, and your description of all that structural brilliance makes me think it isn't what the photos suggested to me, but my first thought upon seeing them was white fly, or white flies; ordinarily you'd know because with any movement of the plant material, you'll see some of the web separate into these tiny white sort of moths, although some of the webby stuff will be left. I don't know if they show up in the east, though summer would be the time they would.

On this coast they like semi-tropical plants, Hibiscus in particular, we see them on Oleander, too, and citrus, we're constantly battling them on our meyer lemon trees.

Reading your description again, strikes me probably isn't white fly...they're just not all that neat, whereas spiders, reasonable in size, are both neat and welcome, which was one of the reasons we were late in figuring out our white webs weren't built by spiders; as I say, the fact that they come in varied structures argues against white fly, which is good, because white fly you don't want hanging around.

Lance

Thanks, folks, this is all very helpful, and informative.

KathyF, I saw the picture. Rove is like Prof. Moriarity and Sherlock Holmes describes Moriarity as a spider in the middle of his web.

The blonde is waging war on spiders here. She won't believe me about their bringing good luck.

SV, I thought about placing some of my sons' Lord of the Rings action figures around, but my camera isn't very good at close-ups and so I wasn't sure they'd have been recognizable.

Doug K

I live in Denver and my shrubs are similarly decorated this year, for the first time in the decade we've lived here. I've been wondering too.. I'll see what I can spot tonight.

res publica

Whatever is making those webs, I'm pretty sure it's going to get you.

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