Cobwebs

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

What are cobwebs?  And why do they appear in houses?  What does a multiplicity of cobwebs mean?

As regards cobwebs, the word cob has nothing to do with corn!  It probably originated with an Old English word - "COPPE," which meant spider.  So the word "cobweb" might just be a sloppy way of saying coppweb.

Cobwebs look like hanging clumps of silky spider web material.  That's what they are!  They are what is left after a spider abandons a web.  It may be that the spider sabotages a couple of the structural, hanging points of the web so no other interloper can take advantage of the web being abandoned. 

What kinds of spiders produce cobwebs?  Are there "cobweb spiders?"  Yes, and they make up the family Theridiidae.  One of the most common house spider in the United States is Achaearanea tepidariorum, of this family.  The infamous Black Widow spider, Latrodectus mactans, also belongs to this family.

On the particular inspection in the photos above I encountered a number of black widow spiders and what looked like their egg sacks. 

Some cobwebs may not be a part of a previous web at all.  They may instead be a purposeful, hanging clump of silky web material intended to safely house many egg sacks.  Other insects will not bother the eggs as they know what will happen to them in the web!

As they hang there, over time and in the blowing air current, the cobwebs gather dust and become more and more visible.

What does a multiplicity of cobwebs mean?

Simply that the location is a habitat that can support many spiders!

Spiders need moisture, which they can always go outside to obtain, and a food source.

The larger the food source the more abundant the spider population will become!

This house was unkempt, to say the very least, and therefore full, and I mean FULL, of roaches.  It also had a serious termite infestation.

If spiders are well fed, their basic objective in life is to do what all fauna do, make more spiders!

And as the habitat provides more and more opportunity, the spider population will increase.

Spiders build webs near moving air.  They do that instinctively.  If the air is moving it is hoped an insect will fly by.  The web is built to capture as much of the air current as possible, in the continued hopes that it will capture food.

If the web comes up empty for a period of time, it will be abandoned.  And maybe partially dismantled.

However, if another spider senses that this is a good place for a web, it will ignore the fact that a previous web was made and build a new one. 

That one might be abandoned as well, and the cycle continues.  Eventually there is a multiplicity of cobwebs, getting dirtier and dirtier with floating dust, and more and more visible.

Of course, if the food is crawling by that is good too!  And I can confidently say that a LOT of food was crawling by in this house!

My recommendation:  when you see a cobweb you know there is a moving air source that encouraged a spider web.  A web can be built quickly, even overnight, and you might not even see it until it is abandoned and begins to collect dust.  However, you may want to investigate the reason for its placement.  There is moving air nearby!  That moving air may be because an HVAC register is blowing air in that direction, but it may also be a gap in the exterior skin or around a window or door that should be sealed for energy efficiency also.

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


close

Re-Bloggged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Maureen McCabe 10/05/2011 05:27 AM
  2. Lenn Harley 10/05/2011 06:10 AM
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the truck to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Virginia Prince William County Bristow
Groups:
Addicted to Active Rain
Adventures in Home Inspecting
Ask the Home Inspector
Professional Home Inspectors
WeBlog Anything (almost)!
Tags:
cobwebs
spiders
energy efficiency

Comments 36 New Comment

Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,216,118
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

This house was a disaster in many ways Debbie.  Hopefully, for the homeowner, it will be a disaster yet in the future as it is leveled.  And you're welcome!  You scratch my learning itch too!

Can you get a little down and to the left...?

October 05, 2011 07:03 AM
Rainmaker
1,340,396
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
WI Realtors - Luxury - Short Sale - CDPE, REDS
Keller Williams 414-525-0563

Moving air you say...hence the "clean the cobwebs" from someone's head might imply there were more holes than necessary.

October 05, 2011 07:52 AM
Rainmaker
468,341
Kenneth Cole
NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com -

Gross!  You're the MAN

October 05, 2011 07:55 AM
Ambassador
1,806,524
Cindy Jones
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News
Integrity Real Estate Group

Where there are cobwebs there are spiders.  Needless to say I don't envy your job at all.

October 05, 2011 07:56 AM
Rainmaker
1,216,118
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

S&D - not bad!  Empty headed might lend itself to more moving air!

Ken - not really.  Just doing the job!

Cindy - next one of these I will call you and we'll go together.  Remember to duck.

October 05, 2011 08:10 AM
Rainmaker
965,063
Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC
Personal Service, always.
Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC

Interesting information. I never really thought much about spider webs - other than avoid them!

October 05, 2011 08:20 AM
Rainmaker
1,216,118
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Thanks Gary!  We have lots of them here.  I don't know about there!  I expect the lizards are good at keeping them out of the house.

Say hi to my cousin in Rockledge - Robert Chaffiot!

October 05, 2011 08:27 AM
Ambassador
2,364,718
Patricia Kennedy
For Your Home in the Capital
Evers & Company Real Estate, Inc.

Jay, with Halloween coming up, a lot of us are thinking about cobwebs!  Great timing for this post. 

October 05, 2011 09:34 AM
Rainmaker
1,216,118
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Maybe I should have waited, Pat, until closer to Halloween!  But it's out now.  No pulling it back!

October 05, 2011 09:37 AM
Rainmaker
562,974
Chris Smith
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage

Jay, with all the different things you must walk in to in a home inspection, what makes you the most uncomfortable?

October 05, 2011 11:54 AM
Rainmaker
710,656
Will Nesbitt
Nesbitt Realty is a family-run brokerage.
Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria

Great article Jay, useful information for home inspection.

October 05, 2011 12:38 PM
Rainmaker
1,216,118
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Chris - a seller who is present who demands to be a part of the process and tries to direct traffic.

Thanks Will.  I am glad you can use it!

October 05, 2011 12:43 PM
Ambassador
1,066,892
Charles Buell
Seattle Home Inspector
Charles Buell Inspections Inc.

I swear I see Charlotte---I know she must be hiding in there somewhere!

October 05, 2011 07:04 PM
Rainmaker
1,216,118
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

There were a whooooole bunch of them Charlie.  And most of them were black...

October 05, 2011 07:44 PM
Rainmaker
967,643
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena Real Estate Representation 818.516.4393
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

Jay -- wow, an incredible dissection of the spider issue.   Very appropriate for an October post with Halloween just around the corner.  

October 06, 2011 11:44 PM
Rainmaker
1,216,118
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Michael - someone earlier suggested that I should have waiting until around Halloween to post this!

October 07, 2011 05:31 AM
Rainmaker
192,090
Atlanta's Home Inspector, David Lelak IHI Home Inspections
Experience the IHI Difference
IHI Home Inspections 404-788-2581

The theme and information, as always, is great to read! This and the gravestone history would make great Halloween posts. I think I have said it before... I thoroughly enjoy your blogs. ~ jennifer the IHI Office Girl

October 07, 2011 01:12 PM
Rainmaker
1,216,118
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Thank you Jennifer.  And I'm glad you do.  Keep reading and when you go around your house you might recognize some things to do or pay attention to!  (Not that you cannot get that around the office...)

October 07, 2011 01:44 PM
Rainmaker
626,389
James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

When I bought my house there were a lot of spiders around the exterior. This was because of all the trees that were close to the house. I have gotten rid of most of the trees and a good number of the spiders too. Take away the conducive conditions and away go the bugs and so go the spiders.

October 08, 2011 07:45 AM
Rainmaker
1,216,118
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Remove the food, remove the spiders!  Good reasoning Jim.  When we moved in there were hundreds of garter snakes around one section of the foundation.  We found out later that the house was built on what used to be a favorite breeding location for mice, which were no longer there.  The snakes left.

October 08, 2011 02:58 PM
Show All Comments
Rainmaker
1,216,118

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
You may contact me anytime...
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the clock to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Additional Information