The black and yellow orb weaver spider is one of the most colorful in California gardens. The female is large (body often over an inch long) with the signature black abdomen with broad yellow bars. Hanging in the middle of their intricate web, they’ll patiently sit and wait for the vibrations of a flying insect landing on the web then rush to the unfortunate victim and paralyze it with venom. You want these amazing predators in your yard!
Early in the morning you may see their web – it’s a striking work of art, stretching across a doorway or between plants. The elaborate, sticky, wheel-shaped webs, measuring up to two feet in diameter, are recreated daily, eating their web, and building a new one!
These spiders, most active during the day, prefer sunny places with little or no wind to build their webs. They’re the favored food of birds, some species of wasps, and lizards. To attract them into your garden, use mulch to provide protection and humidity, grow plants that attract prey, and avoid using pesticides.
Spiders in general, are beneficial – they eat insects. The annoying moths, flies, and mosquitoes that might make it into your house can be dinner for these impressive predators. Outside, leave spiders alone and let them do their job. If you find a spider inside the home, check out these ways to catch it and move it outdoors. Learn more about common home and garden spiders.