August 3, 2022
Searles Gardening Team
Discover the fascinating world of Arachnida and their important role in our gardens. Learn about different species, including venomous and harmless ones, and how they help control common pests.
Although unnerving to many, spiders play an important role in our gardens. There are several thousand different species to be found around the world with many that require to be treated with full respect due to their venomous nature, but there are also many more that play a silent role in our gardens to help control many common pests. All spiders are solitary by nature and only come together for breeding purposes and even then, the male of most species are regarded by the females as a dinner option after the act!
The common lynx spider (Oxyopes quadifasciatus) is a small harmless species that travels across many smaller shrubs and waits in ambush to catch its prey. They stay close to the flowering of many plants in the hopes of catching a passing bee, small butterfly, ants or small caterpillars.
The green jumping spider (Mopsus mormon) can always be found during the heat of summer on low growing plants, in cars, steps and walls. This tiny spider slowly sneaks up on its prey and can jump from plant to plant in search of prey such as small flies, ants, mealybugs and many other small crawling insects.
One of the larger spider species to frequent our backyards is the golden orb weaver (Nephila plumipes). Females are often ten times larger than the tiny males and are a little intimidating to observe, yet couldn’t be less interested in humans. They make strong, golden silken webs (sometimes) in the most inconvenient of places such as across pathways, doorways or under archways. Orb weaver spiders are simply one of the very best spiders for keeping pesky mosquito and fly populations under control as they can catch many thousands in their lifetime.
A truly intimidating household spider is the Huntsman spider (Heteropoda jugulans). They are a nocturnal predator and are often discovered within homes where they have chased their prey such as cockroaches, silverfish or other small spiders.
Note: Although the spiders mentioned are regarded as harmless and non-venomous to humans, it is strongly suggested that handling of any spider should be avoided.
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