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What's Bugging You Today?

By: Sandra Nelson

Neither an insect nor a “true bug,” this fierce-looking arachnid is a common visitor to the garden. Black and yellow garden spiders (also known as  Corn Spiders or Zipper Spiders) and their impressive orb webs (up to two feet in diameter), are typically found in sheltered, sunny places near houses and in gardens or grassy areas.

Because of their size, females reaching an inch in length, these striking spiders may seem threatening, but they typically do not bite humans unless tormented. Instead, during their lifetimes, lack and yellow garden spiders consume countless garden pests such as grasshoppers, katydids, mosquitoes, moths and wasps.

In our cold climate, black and yellow garden spiders typically die out when the first hard frost hits. Left behind in her web however, mama spider leaves a formidable cocoon filled with 300 to 1400 dormant baby spiders who will exit the egg sac the following spring, searching for more harmful insects to eat.

If you run across one of these beauties this summer, resist the temptation to squash. Instead, spend the summer watching this fascinating creature build and maintain her architectural wonder.