Do I need to control the large spiders with webs around my house and shrubs?
The Black and Yellow Argiope is the proper name for the common orb web spider or garden orb that many people are seeing in their yard or garden. This garden spider is the largest of the Argiope and is black with yellow, orange or silver markings. The female garden orb can have a one inch body with the legs extending much further. This makes her look very threatening, but they are generally harmless as is true with the other large spiders in this genus. They will not bite humans unless they are roughly handled. The males look similar but are about a quarter of the size of the female.
All of the garden spiders weave large round, flat webs usually with an intricate design in the middle. It is usually the location of the web that causes people distress because it may be located close to a home by a window, door and in shrubs adjacent to the home. They prefer sunny places with little to no wind. Each night she will eat her web and build a new one. The black and yellow Argiopes eat flying insects such as aphids, moths, flies, grasshoppers, bees and wasps. The spider hangs with her head down, waiting for prey to become ensnared in the web.
Although the Argriope can be controlled with most insecticides, this spider provides a great service by consuming pests. If you can make a place for this spider in your yard, they will repay you by helping to care for your plants.
For more information contact the OSU Extension Center, 14001 Acme Road, corner of MacArthur and Acme Road in Shawnee or 273-7683.