We all know that spiders can be pretty creepy. But did you know that some of them can also be deadly? Garden spiders are one of the most common types of spiders in the world, and they’re also one of the most poisonous.
If you’re ever unfortunate enough to come across one of these eight-legged creatures, make sure to stay away from its venomous fangs. Unless, of course, you’re feeling brave enough to take on the challenge of a lifetime.
There are a great many species of spider, and their behaviors vary widely. Some spiders build webs to catch prey, while others lie in wait or actively hunt their food. While all spiders can bite humans if provoked, only a small number of species have venom that can cause health problems in people. In North America, the black widow and brown recluse are the two most-feared spiders because their bites can be dangerous.
What are Garden Spiders?
Garden spiders are a common sight in gardens and yards across North America. These spiders are not actually harmful to humans, although their bites can be painful. Garden spiders are part of the Araneidae family, which includes the common house spider. These spiders are also known as orb weavers because of the distinctive, round webs they build.
Are Garden Spiders Poisonous?
No, garden spiders are not poisonous. However, they can bite if they feel threatened. Their bites are not generally harmful to humans, but may cause local swelling or irritation. If you have a reaction to a garden spider bite, you should seek medical attention.
What Do Garden Spiders Eat?
Most spiders are predators, and garden spiders are no exception. These spiders will hunt down and eat a wide variety of insects, including flies, mosquitoes, moths, beetles, and caterpillars. Garden spiders will even occasionally eat other spiders!
While they will happily feast on live prey, garden spiders will also eat dead insects that they find. In fact, a significant portion of their diet consists of scavenged food. So if you’re trying to attract these helpful spiders to your garden, you can leave out some overripe fruit or a dead insect or two as bait.
How Do Garden Spiders Build Their Webs?
Garden spiders are among the most easily recognizable of all spiders due largely to the distinctive spiral web they spin. The web may be up to 2 feet in diameter with a hub located in the center where the spider can be found. The spokes of the web radiate out from the hub, and these are then connected by a series of spiraling circles. The entire process of spinning a garden spider’s web can take up to an hour.
These spiders build their webs mostly at night, and they will often eat them and rebuild them on a regular basis. Garden spiders generally build their webs in areas where there is a lot of foot traffic, such as along walkways or near porch lights. They do this because their prey, which consists mostly of insects, is attracted to these areas.
What is the Garden Spider’s Life Cycle?
The garden spider’s life cycle consists of an egg phase, a larval phase, a pupal phase, and an adult phase. The typical garden spider will live for about one year.
Egg Phase: Female garden spiders lay their eggs in sacs made of silk. These sacs can contain up to 500 eggs. The eggs hatch after about two weeks.
Larval Phase: The newly hatched spiderlings are white and look nothing like their parents. They will molt (shed their skin) several times during this phase. As they molt, they will gradually turn brown and develop the distinctive markings of the garden spider. This phase lasts for about two months.
Pupal Phase: The next stage is the pupal phase, during which the spiderling’s body undergoes drastic changes to become an adult. This process takes about two weeks.
Adult Phase: Once the transformation is complete, the spider emerges as an adult. Adult garden spiders are ready to mate and begin the cycle anew.
How Do Garden Spiders Reproduce?
Although different in many ways, male and female spiders generally undergo the same process of development. With some species, males and females look alike as juveniles but develop different colors and/or patterns as they mature. The 10-step journey from egg to adult takes anywhere from weeks to years depending on the species.
1) Eggs are deposited in a silken sac, which the female guards until they hatch.
2) After hatching, baby spiders, or spiderlings, climb onto their mother’s back. They ride there until their first molt. (Spiders molt—or shed their skin—several times during their lifetime.)
3) Once they’ve molted for the first time, spiderlings disperse to fend for themselves.
4) Most spiders live for only one year but may live up to 20 years in captivity.
5) Females generally grow larger than males of the same species and live longer than males as well.
6) Spiders reproduce by paired copulation. During this process, which can last for several hours, the male transfers sperm to the female via special sexual organs located at the tips of his pedipalps—a pair of appendages near his mouth used primarily for handling prey.
7) After mating, the male dies (this is typical in nature where males often die shortly after reproducing). The female then produces an egg sac containing anywhere from a few dozen to a few thousand eggs—again using silk for construction.
8) Once the egg sac is complete, she fills it with a liquid secreted from her abdomen that nourishes and protects her offspring during development.
9) Most egg sacs are attached to a web or hidden in a silken retreat such as under a rock or log but some species carry their young around with them wherever they go until they hatch (this behavior is called spiderling “babies on board”).
10) After hatching from their egg sacs, young spiders undergo several molts before reaching adulthood. Depending on the species, it may take weeks or years to reach full maturity
What Are Some Common Garden Spider predators?
Most Garden spider predators are insects, such as: wasps, Assassin bugs, Crab spiders, Big-eyed bugs, Lacewings, Ladybugs, and Preying mantises. Some vertebrate predators of the Garden spider include: lizards, small frogs, toads, and small snakes.
Are Garden Spiders Beneficial?
Most people are terrified of spiders, but did you know that some spiders can actually be beneficial to your garden? Garden spiders are not poisonous to humans, and they actually help to keep the population of harmful insects in check. So, if you see a garden spider in your garden, don’t be afraid!
How Can I Get Rid of Garden Spiders?
There are a number of different ways that you can get rid of garden spiders, and the best method will depend on your individual situation. If you have a small number of spiders, you may be able to simply sweep them up and dispose of them. If you have a larger infestation, you may need to use chemical pesticides or call in a professional exterminator.
In general, garden spiders are not harmful to humans and actually help to keep other pests under control. However, some people may be allergic to their bites, so it is always best to consult with a medical professional if you are unsure.