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The Argiope aurantia (yellow garden spider) is also known as the black and yellow garden spider, corn spider, Steeler spider, golden garden spider, zigzag spider, McKinley spider, or writing spider. It dons a few of these names due to the zigzag or zipper-like patterns found in the center of its web. Sometimes these patterns resemble letters, hence the name writing spider.
Yellow garden spiders are beneficial to your garden or property because they keep other pest populations in check. They have large webs that capture insects that are detrimental to plants, flowers, and humans. Though they prefer to live outdoors where prey is abundant, they can accidentally wander inside your home through open doors or windows. Learning about the yellow garden spider’s behaviors can help you keep them outside where they belong.
If you encounter a large yellow and black spider in an intricate web with patterns resembling letters or zigzags, you’re most likely observing a yellow garden spider. These arachnids are predominately found in gardens, flower beds, and forested areas. They feed on insects that become trapped in their webs, which can be up to 2 feet in diameter. Though it’s not entirely clear why these spiders spin zigzags in the middle of their webs, it could be a visual alert for birds so they don’t fly through and destroy the webs.
The yellow garden spider’s primary source of prey is insects, like bees and flies, but they consume green anoles and geckos as well. When prey gets snagged in the web, this spider swings back and forth to further trap it, then it spins it in a cocoon to consume later.
Female yellow garden spiders breed twice a year. The spider covers its eggs with a protective layer of brown silk. After this process, it forms the sheet into a ball with its legs and suspends it near the center of the web. The baby spiders hatch from the sac in spring and are the size of specs of dust.
Yellow garden spiders have a very distinctive look and are easily identified. They are on the larger side for spiders, with females growing up to 1.18 inches in size. The females are predominately yellow and black with silver and white mixed in, and the legs can have reddish markings. Males rarely grow larger than 0.31 inches and are brown. Like all spiders, the yellow garden spider has eight legs, and they have three claws at the ends of their legs to help with weaving webs.
Spread throughout the United States, the yellow garden spider is one of the more common pests. Their habitat ranges depending on the area and its prey. They typically only build one web for the summer unless prey becomes sparse or there is imminent danger; in such cases, they relocate to a more favorable location. They place their webs adjacent to open fields, which protects them from the wind and conceals them from predators, such as birds.
In more urban areas, they build their webs in the eves of houses, flower beds, and gardens. The edge of a forested area or any other form of tall vegetation are ideal habitats where the yellow garden spider can be found.
For the most part, yellow garden spiders are beneficial to your property by helping to eliminate pests such as mosquitoes, wasps, and other insects. They are venomous, and precautions should be taken to avoid being bitten.
Their bite isn’t deadly, and the effects are similar to a bee sting, with redness, itchiness, and swelling being common. Healthy adults are at less risk of severe repercussions from a yellow garden spider bite. Children, the elderly, and those with allergies are at more risk of suffering an allergic reaction that could be fatal, depending on the circumstances. If you think you were bitten by a yellow garden spider, you can ice the area to reduce the mild side effects. Those at risk should seek emergency treatment immediately.
Yellow garden spiders are more likely to be found outdoors, but they can find their way inside. This can be the direct result of finding prey indoors. They are not aggressive toward larger creatures and will do their best to avoid humans. If they are touched, squeezed, or threatened in any way, they will bite humans in self-defense. This can make them a threat to you, your family, and your pets. If you find they have infested your home, a professional exterminating service may be the best option for removing them.
When in their natural habitat, yellow garden spiders are very beneficial, as long as they are located out of the way of your frequented outdoor areas and outside of your house. Using window screens for open windows, keeping doors closed, and sealing cracks or crevices will keep them and other pests at bay. If you find a single yellow garden spider inside your home, do your best to try to relocate it outside.
You may want to destroy their webs if you find them in places such as in a walkway or on a porch. When they are in a less intrusive location, their benefits outweigh the cons and should be left to themselves.
In general, spiders are often misunderstood, but taking precautions is always recommended when faced with a spider invasion; if yellow garden spiders are plaguing you, Bulwark Exterminating is standing ready to help you get control of your home and your property. Defending your home from potential threats, such as yellow garden spiders, is a priority for making your home and yard a safe place for your family and pets.