DALLAS –– Across North Texas, thin, sticky white threads appeared to float in midair on Tuesday morning. They ended up attached to buildings and vehicles, illuminated by the morning sunrise.
So what were they? Spider webs. The strands were filled with tiny spiders as part of their annual migratory process. They ended up floating in the air because it was so still, said Patrick Dickinson of the Texas A&M Agrilife Research and Extension Center.
“The wind that we are getting this time of year off of the Gulf of Mexico picks up the silt and the spiders are able to float from tree to tree, building to building and plant to plant,” Dickinson said.
The cool overnight temperatures triggered the spider eggs to hatch. The newborns then climbed to the highest point they could find and released webs that lifted them into the air. If the wind is right, some can travel for miles, leaving dozens of feet of webbing behind.
There’s no need to be concerned about a health threat, Dickinson said. The spiders are actually beneficial, despite your personal feelings about the insects; they gobble harmful insects, everything from mosquitoes to bugs that damage plants.
Dickinson said the migratory method is common for a variety of spider species.