Beneficial Insect: Garden Spiders (General) (Araneidae)
Insect Type: Beneficial, spider
Major Identifying Features: Most spiders are harmless and try to avoid humans, they have 8 legs, two main body parts (abdomen, head and thorax), they lack wings and antennae, and are in the arachnid group along with mites, spider families vary by body shape, web type, hunting, or other behaviour, and the arrangement and relative size of their eyes, most spiders have toxic venom, which they use to kill their prey, garden spiders often make silken webs that are spun in concentric circles, spiderlings often make symmetrical webs, mature spiders make more sophisticated webs that are helpful in identifying certain species, orb weavers generally have poor vision and rely on web vibrations to locate and identify prey
Life Cycle: Females lay eggs in an egg sac, each sac contains up to 1000 eggs which the female protects with different strategies, spiderlings hatch usually after a few weeks (some eggs overwinter and hatch in spring), after hatching, spiderlings disperse by ballooning, spiderlings undergo up to 5 molts before they reach their mature size
Pest Rating: Beneficial!
Management Rating: Beneficial!
Host/Season/Outbreak Information: Garden spiders make webs and rest at the center of the web or hide inside a shelter near the edge, waiting for prey to become entangled
Support Information/Common Prey: Garden piders feed mostly on insects and other spiders such as flying or falling insects
Management/Attraction Options: Spiders are primarily beneficial and their activities should be encouraged in the garden, pesticide control is difficult and rarely necessary, provide boxes, crevices, wood, and other hiding places if you want to have more spiders in your garden
Dreistadt, Steve H., and Jack Kelly Clark. Pests of Landscape Trees and Shrubs: An Integrated Pest Management Guide. Oakland, CA: U of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, 2016. Print.