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Baby spiders take to the skies

LAWTON, Okla._If you suffer from arachnophobia, you may not want to go outside right now.

Over the past few days, strands of spider webs have been floating through the air and bundling up on wires, trees and homes. The long silky webs are from baby spiders. The wind catches them and the spiders hang on for the ride, hoping to land in a spot with food where they can make a home. Even our own tower here at KSWO is catching the migrant spiders.

Amy Stockman, a biology professor at Cameron University, says all types of spiders do this, so it’s hard to narrow down what type is flying through the skies right now. In fact, the spiders are so tiny at this point that they're almost impossible to see with the naked eye. But the sight of all of the webs across our area certainly has people curious.

Charles Boyd in Duncan called us to find out what all of the spider webs were about.

"I thought if this was their way of passing their eggs on and they all landed down here, we may be up to our ears in spiders," Boyd said.

Professor Amy Stockman says it's a completely natural process. Once the spider eggs are hatched, the babies then release a silk from their abdomen.

"It's real lightweight and the spiders are so microscopic that the wind will just carry that silk along," Professor Stockman explained.

The wind carries the baby spiders in search of a new home, which is a process biologists call ballooning.

"It's an incredibly fascinating natural phenomenon of other species that share this planet with us," Professor Stockman said.

Professor Stockman says many of them will die while searching for their home.

"Most are going to land and get caught in places, not find food, something else will eat them. But if hundreds are going out, a few will end up some place good," Professor Stockman explained.

Professor Stockman says the spiders are in no way becoming an infestation and Boyd, along with others, should not be concerned.

"They should be happy, you should leave your spiders. They are excellent pest control for things that do carry diseases, like flies," Professor Stockman said.

Boyd says this is a first for him seeing so many webs floating in the sky.

"I'm old enough to have seen this before, and I have never seen this before," Boyd said.

Professor Stockman says this occurs about twice a year when temperatures have cooled off or if there has been any recent rainfall. She says the webs could continue to show up for the next couple of weeks.

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