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How Strong is a Spider Web?

There are plenty of termite control and other pest control products and services available throughout the country that aid people in protecting their homes from the damage that pests cause.

Spiders are some of the most prevalent pests you will encounter. You have probably even seen their webs scattered in various corners of your home. You might have removed these webs haphazardly, thinking nothing of it. However, did you know that plenty of people believe that a spider’s web is stronger than steel? Yes, many have argued that the intricate silk that spiders weave are more formidable than some of the toughest materials in the world. But is this true? Find out just how strong a spider web is below!

The Uses of Spider Silk  

All species of spiders produce silk and every single one of them can create up to seven different types of silk. As a result, the spider’s web is stronger and more elastic compared to other types of natural and synthetic materials.

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The silks that spiders produce are used for various things. For instance, some silks are for capturing preys while some are for reproduction purposes. Spiders also use silk as a source of food, for dispersal, to drop anchor lines, for nest lining, and nest construction. Actually, the uses of spider’s silk have evolved through the years as spiders have evolved, too.     

The Production of Spider Silk

The spider silk is made up of seven different silk glands. They are:

  • Ampullate (major) – This is used for the outer part of the web.
  • Ampullate (minor) – This is used during the web construction.
  • Aggregate – This is a silk glue made up of sticky globules.
  • Aciniform – This is used to secure and wrap the prey caught in the web.
  • Flagelliform – This is used to capture the lines of the web.
  • Piriform – This is used to connect separate threads of web.
  • Tubuliform – This is used to protect the egg sacs.

The Properties of Spider Silk

The silk of a spider is rich in protein, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. It is considered as one of the toughest biomaterials that can absorb huge amounts of energy before breaking. It also has different physical properties such as elasticity, strength, and density. The spider silk can be stretched 2 to 4 times its original length without breaking. Moreover, it is known to be five times stronger than a steel rod of the same diameter. This means that a spider web is strong enough to catch large preys!

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According to researchers, the toughest silk they discovered so far is made by the Darwin’s bark spider – an orb-weaver spider that was discovered in Madagascar. This spider can produce an orb web that ranges from 900 to 28,000 square centimeters. The web can spread up to 30 square feet and it is often found in small lakes, streams, and rivers. This particular spider’s silk is also twice as elastic compared to the otTher orb-web weaving spider’s silk and more than 10 times stronger than Kevlar, a high-strength material often used in fabric sheets or ropes.

Spider webs are truly interesting. Although scientists recognize Darwin’s bark spider’s silk as the toughest at the moment, they admitted that more than 90% of spider silks are yet to be discovered. This means that in the future, Darwin’s bark spider might keep its crown or give it up to a spider that produces a stronger silk.


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