What's with all the spiderwebs in your yard?

One of the most common spiders found throughout North America are the Funnel Web or Grass Spiders in the family Agelenidae. Each morning as you leave for work their webs are scattered throughout your yard like glistening crystal palaces.  Spiderweb Their sheet-like web spreads out for nearly a foot (or more) in a circular fashion with a distinct funnel-like opening near the center. It is this opening that earned them the common name of funnel web spider. They hide out inside the funnel laying in wait for an unsuspecting insect to crawl across the web. They will run rapidly out of their hiding place and attack the insect. The webbing of this harmless spider is not sticky like other spider webs, they instead rely on capturing their prey by using their extremely fast acting venom. They typically build their web on or near the ground, among grasses or other foliage, or in the corners of man-made structures. Mostly active at night, they will still catch insects that land in their snares by day. As mentioned before, these spiders are considered harmless to humans, and though you may consider their webs unsightly, they are actually helpful in reducing the insect population of your lawn. So, if you can tolerate their presence, it will be beneficial in the long run.