Let us unpack all you need to know about the Brown Garden Spider.
Imagine taking a stroll in your garden, and a brown spider is hanging from a tree staring at you. Should I be scared or not?
The term Brown Garden Spider may refer to one of many spiders found in gardens throughout the United States. Spiders are arthropods belonging to the order Araneae in the class Arachnida.
As of 2021, there are close to 40,000 known species of spiders worldwide, with roughly 3,000 of these species being found in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
The Types of Brown Spiders in Existence
It is pretty easy to mistake several spiders for a Brown Garden Spider. Brown spiders found in the garden can be hunter or weaver spiders.
Wolf or Hunting Brown Spiders
Wolf spiders are uncommonly large arachnids. Gardeners often encounter these spiders since they can be found in the average garden throughout the warmer parts of the United States. They are typically brown to dark brown, as their name suggests, and have hair on their bodies.
Wolf spiders hunt for food when it is warm, mainly because they are not designated daytime or nighttime hunters. As a result, these spiders are among one of the largest and fastest-moving spider species found in various gardens.
This type of brown spider is harmless, although they may seem to attack you if you disturb them among rocks or plants in the garden.
Web Weaving Brown Spiders
Web weaving brown spiders mainly subsist on insects. They usually weave intricate webs stretched between plants or create complex funnels. Web weaving spiders are typically reluctant to bite. When they do, the symptoms typically range from mild local pain, numbness, and swelling.
The Life Cycle of the Brown Garden Spider
With very few exceptions, all spiders share the same general life cycle. They mature in three stages: egg, spiderling, and adult. The details of each stage vary from one species to another, though they are all very similar. Most spiders complete a single generation in one year. However, there are a few species that may live for several years.
Almost all Brown Garden Spiders go through a similar life cycle. The life cycle of the Brown Garden Spider follows a cyclical pattern. Most garden spiders mate and lay eggs in the fall. They lay their eggs among garden plants, plant debris, under logs, or tree limbs. They secure their egg sacs with silken thread.
The egg sacs, usually white or gray, remain dormant during the winter. They do not hatch till spring. As a result, the egg sacs can be destroyed, eaten, or disturbed when found by hungry predators. In spring, the egg sacs hatch into spiderlings. In some cases, some spiderlings may hatch over the winter or in the fall and seek shelter through the cold weather to survive.
With the aid of spider-silk parachutes, spiderlings often crawl or float to different locations to ensure their survival. They find the most optimal location for growth, catch food, and survive to grow into maturity. In the summer, most spiders hunt for food or catch insects with their webs.
After growing to maturity, they continue their life cycles by mating. The spider mating ritual varies, and males must approach a female carefully not to be mistaken for prey. Contrary to popular belief, most female spiders do not eat their mates.
After mating, the female seeks a place to lay her eggs, and the cycle is complete. A single female can produce over a thousand eggs, which she lays in silk sacs.
The life cycle of hunting spiders is slightly different. Female wolf spiders carry their egg sacs on their backs. The mother spider uses spider silk to attach the egg sacs to her back. The large egg sacs usually vary in color, from white to greenish-blue. When the egg sacs hatch, the spiderlings stay on their mother’s back until they are mature enough to fend for themselves.
How to Identify a Brown Garden Spider
A Brown Garden Spider is relatively easy to identify. It has a gray-brown or reddish-brown coloration with a large white cross on its abdomen. In most cases, the white marking on its abdomen is made up of spots and streaks.
The female Brown Garden Spider is twice the size of the males. Newly hatched spiderlings have yellow abdomens with a dark patch. Garden spiders have four pairs of legs. The first pair are long and are used to sense vibrations on the web.
Preferred Habitats of the Brown Garden Spider
Brown Garden Spiders are usually found in gardens-as the name suggests, and in similar habitats. However, they can also be found in woodland, farmland, meadows, and other types of habitats. They usually build their webs amid flowers, small plants, and shrubbery.
Homes in wooded areas or with naturalized or landscaped foundations may be prone to more frequent invasion because the surroundings are ideal spider habitats.
Are Brown Garden Spiders Poisonous?
Although garden spiders possess venom, which helps them immobilize their prey, their venom does not pose a serious health risk to humans and pets because it is not strong enough. Brown Garden Spiders are not poisonous, and the symptoms from their bites typically range from mild swelling, numbness, and discomfort around the bite area that can last a few days.
This may not be the case for individuals with distressed or compromised immune systems. A Brown Garden Spider bite is said to be less painful than a bee sting.
Can Garden Spiders Bite?
Garden spiders are not aggressive. Normally, they do not attack humans and are not known to bite. However, garden spiders will bite if they feel threatened or when their hiding places or webs are disturbed. Since they spin their webs in areas that are out of the way, the likelihood of getting bitten by a garden spider remains very slim.
How to Get Rid of Brown Garden Spiders in Your Garden
There are various benefits of having Brown Garden Spiders in your garden. One of these benefits is pest control. Garden spiders help control outdoor pests like mosquitoes, beetles, and flies. However, while garden spiders will not damage gardens or lawns, they can be a real nuisance. Apart from the fact that their webs can cover your healthy plants, some spiders can and will make their way indoors.
Natural means of repelling spiders include sprinkling cinnamon in your garden or placing some dried cinnamon sticks nearby. Spraying a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water on weeds near the spider webs can also work. However, note that spraying this mixture directly on the plants will kill them.
Another means of getting rid of Brown Garden Spiders is to control other insects. Spiders feed on wasps, beetles, and a variety of insects. Actively managing the insect population in your garden will also ensure you control the number of spiders in your garden. Once their food source is taken away from them, that is one less reason for them to come back.
Planting various plants that repel spiders like mint, basil, and lemongrass can also be a means to get rid of Brown Garden Spiders. These plants are easy to grow, and they have the bonus of being incredibly healthy when included in your diet.
The Final Say
Spiders feed on a wide variety of insects. Therefore, they are considered beneficial in the garden because they eat pests, including aphids, caterpillars, cucumber beetles, flies, grasshoppers, leafhoppers, plant bugs, and thrips. They reduce your need for other pest controls, and most are relatively harmless to you.
Because of the garden spiders’ generally beneficial nature, garden spiders should be conserved. Gardeners should avoid the use of broad-spectrum insecticides. Other practices that can help spiders, including leaving a portion of the garden covered in organic mulch to provide an overwintering site for egg masses, should be encouraged.