If you’ve been spending some time outside in your garden lately, you may have noticed an interesting (and large!) spider with a very distinct, zig-zag web. Let’s answer some of your questions about this common garden visitor.
What kind of spider is this?
The scientific name for this impressive spider is Argiope aurantia, although you will hear most people refer to it by its common names, the yellow garden spider or the writing spider.
Why does it have a zig-zag web pattern?
The zig-zag area of dense silk is called a stabilimentum. The exact function of the stabilimentum is debated. One theory is that it offers some protection to the spider and its web by making it appear larger to birds and other animals. Another theory is that it reflects UV light, which attracts insects.
Is it aggressive?
Garden spiders are not aggressive. They will not go out of their way to bite you. If handled, however, they may bite in defense, so it’s best to leave them alone.
What does it eat?
Garden spiders eat insects that become trapped in their webs. When an insect lands in the web, the spider will approach it, paralyze it with its venom, and then tightly wrap it in silk. It will revisit the wrapped insect and consume it a few hours later. This insect-based diet is why many people are happy to allow these spiders to remain in their gardens.
Will it come in my home?
No, it would be very unlikely that this garden spider will make its way into your home. You may, however, find one on a porch, deck, or patio (including screened-in areas) if you keep a lot of plants in these locations.
If you’re having spider troubles at your Raleigh area home, call the professionals at Innovative Pest Solutions for an inspection and treatment plan.