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I have heard different things(from Diamond I/Challenger Elise jungles).
One perspective is that using the spiderlings to tank jungle mobs ensures Elise to maintain high HP throughout early levels and allows her to gank more often. (Good sustain)
Another perspective is that it is faster to use the spiderlings for damage as opposed to tanking since they die after a two hits from golems anyway, and with spliderlings and W you can maintain a reasonable amount of HP. (Faster jungling)
I don't have much experience with jungling with Elise, so I would love some input. I think this matters more for early levels.