Lonely Planet Writer

Sydney’s heatwave creates 'perfect storm' for a spider boom

Sydney is currently experiencing perfect conditions for the reproduction of spiders with a boom in particular for redbacks, huntsmen and golden orbs.

The unusually hot summer around Sydney is creating perfect conditions for a spider boom
The unusually hot summer around Sydney is creating perfect conditions for a spider boom Image by Graham Wise / CC BY 2.0

It means an explosion in insect numbers as plants, barks and trees are draped with silken webs like never before. According to David Bock, the manager of the Australian Museum Search and Discovery section, the warm and moist beginning to summer has also led to the huge increase in insect numbers such as moths and butterflies. These are helping to feed the increased population of spiders and other predators.

Silver spider webs are dominating plants and trees as the spider population increases exponentially
Silver spider webs are dominating plants and trees as the spider population increases exponentially around Sydney this season Image by Randi Hausken / CC BY-SA 2.0

Normally female spiders lay up to 100 eggs but only a small number of their offspring survive. At present, many more are thriving and helping to produce second and third generations of spiders in the one season, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. The public have reported seeing particular abundances of St Andres Cross spiders, Golden orbs, huntsmen and redbacks. Mr Bock emphasised that in the case of golden orb spiders, entire trees are being colonized by them. He added that humans should not be worried by the proliferation of spiders because they help us by eating the other pests, including cockroaches and mosquitoes.

Normally when the female lays up to 100 eggs, one one or two survive. Now several more are living and procreating to make second and third generations of families within the same season
Normally when the female lays up to 100 eggs, only one or two survive. Now several more are living and procreating to make second and third generation families within the same season Image by Tim Samoff / CC BY 2.0

The change in insect population comes on the back on Sydney’s record run of warm and dry weather spell with the city this week recording its 32nd consecutive day of temperatures beyond 26 degrees. And with both temperatures and humidity due to pick up right through to the weekend, weather forecasters are predicting more of the same.