If you maintain your own garden, chances are you’ve encountered spiders lurking around in it. But are these spiders a plus or minus to your garden and how do you tell the species apart?
Spiders are usually a beneficial presence for home gardeners. They often eat and scare away dangerous pests (preventing the need for excessive pesticides) while also keeping your plants healthy. On the other hand, spiders can also be a sore sight for gardens and certain species are dangerous.
Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of garden spiders and steps you can take to maximize their benefits!
Pros and Cons of Having Spiders in Your Garden
Spiders can be a double-edged sword for home gardeners. While they often help keep your garden healthy and sustainable, they also pose the risk of potential damages.
What should you look out for when weighing the pros and cons of garden spiders?
Even new gardeners are likely familiar with the destructive and frustrating effects pests such as beetles, wasps, mosquitoes, and flies can have on your garden plants.
Fortunately, spiders are known to eat virtually all common garden pests, which can spare you a massive headache in outdoor labor, while also cutting down on the need for chemical pesticides.
As a result, your plants will likely grow more successfully and maintain optimal health.
On the other hand, spiders can be a major aesthetic problem for gardeners. Their webs are known to be quite ugly-looking for most people and can also interfere with plant growth if they prevent access to proper sunshine.
Additionally, spiders have been known to eat beneficial garden insects, including bees and ladybugs.
Identifying Garden Spiders
A good first step for a home gardener is to sort out the good spiders from the bad. In doing so, you can maximize any potential benefits while also doing your best to prevent significant drawbacks from impeding your garden growth.
Below, we’ll take a look at common spiders you might find in your garden and how to tell them apart.
Which Spiders Are Most Common in Gardens?
Generally, there are three main types of spiders you’ll encounter in a home garden: Orb-weavers, funnel-weavers, and hunters.
Orb-weavers produce the most common types of spiderwebs (the traditional spiral pattern), which might be unattractive for garden maintenance. By contrast, funnel-weavers produce a less visually intrusive type of web that, as the name suggests, resembles a funnel.
Hunter spiders are ideal for pest-eating, as they actively search for common garden pests. However, their lack of webs can make it harder to identify them.
Dangerous Garden Spiders
While the vast majority of garden spiders are harmless to humans, there are a few specific species to watch out for.
Brown recluse spiders (easily identified by a violin-like pattern on their back), black widow spiders (black spiders with red/white patterns), and yellow sac spiders (a highly identifiable pale yellow color) are all venomous to humans and, in rare cases, have caused deaths.
Fortunately, none of these species are known to be aggressive and bites are rare. Extermination is usually not necessary.
Bringing Spiders to Your Garden
If you’ve decided the pros of garden spiders outweigh the cons, there are luckily some easy steps you can take to more effectively attract spiders to your home garden.
Recommended methods for bringing spiders to your garden include filling up empty space with additional plant life, adding plant cover to your garden’s ground, and providing artificial structures like fences and posts for the spiders to dwell in.