YORK COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — Lined up neatly in a row in the morning sun, three glistening examples of spider web “classic.”

They’re the sort of spider web you just naturally think of when somebody says “spider web”. They are the sort created by spiders called “orb weavers.” The silk comes from a set of glands known as spinnerets located on the upper abdomen. Spiders will produce both sticky thread and not-sticky thread when constructing webs.

Spider silk is amazingly strong. It has a strength near to, or sometimes greater than, high grade alloy steel, yet at the same time, it can stretch up to five times its length without breaking. Humans have been trying to replicate spider silk for years, but haven’t quite caught up with the original weavers, who have a 140 million year head start.

Get daily news, weather, breaking news and alerts straight to your inbox! Sign up for the abc27 newsletters here.

A spider starts a web by stretching a horizontal line between two anchor points. (If there’s no way to crawl from point A to point B, the spider can sometimes float a line across on the wind.) The spider then drops a line from the center of the first line, anchors it, then starts building the inner parts of the web using non-sticky silk, before finishing off with sticky webbing. If you look closely at the video, you’ll see the strands of the capture webbing aren’t actually circles, but spirals. (Remember that the next time you have reason to draw a spider web.)

To see a diagram of the process, click here.

Many orb weavers build a new web from scratch every day. They leave the old web up while they hide for the day, just in case they get lucky-spider webs work better at night, when they can’t be seen. As evening approaches they eat their old web (handy supply of building materials, and all that) build the new web, then settle in and wait for their unwary prey to capture themselves.

Stay up to date on the latest from abc27 News on-air and on the go with the free abc27 Mobile app.