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In Pictures: Spiders Love Chicago's Skyscrapers

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 12, 2012 7:00PM

We thought the first photograph in the gallery to this post (which we found on the Chicago Reddit boards) as a hoax until we called the Hilton Suites Chicago and spoke with General Manager Patrick Filatre.

Filatre confirmed that the Hilton does indeed send out this warning every spring and summer. Apparently spiders love their high-rises. In a 2011 article in Chicago Wildlife News Steve Sullivan, curator of urban ecology at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, said spiders gravitate to skyscrapers for more than the penthouse views.

“We often think of the top of the building as this sterile environment of steel and glass, but really it’s surrounded by insects...”

Acting somewhat like mountains, skyscrapers can create drafts that suck air — and bugs -- to the top of the structures. For spiders, that means there is plenty of food up there.

“We have pumped these insects literally up the side of the building,” Sullivan said. “By this time of the year, [spiders] just build webs everywhere.”

Some spiders simply climb Chicago's skyscrapers. Others, particularly baby spiders, use a technique called "ballooning," in which they let out a little bit of silk, catch an air current and then sail on the current wherever it takes them. As far as drama ad high-flying antics go, it's cheaper than heading to a multiplex and watching Andrew Garfield in the "Spider-Man" reboot.