I was just asking Tree if she had noticed any of my favorite black and yellow garden spiders in the garden this year. I hadn’t noticed any Argiope aurantias (even their name is gorgeous) and missed seeing their big sturdy webs spun between stands of Echinacea.
The very next day I went to turn the water on and saw a beautiful specimen right by the water faucet. Delighted, I welcomed her (only the females have the striking black and yellow coloring) and went to get the camera. She was nonstop busy catching huge grasshoppers that made the mistake of getting entangled in her web.
These spiders are so amazing. They can take prey up to 200% of their own size and will eat a variety of insects night and day from aphids to flies to grasshoppers (which is what I usually see in their nests). They’re not considered dangerous and are unlikely to bite unless harassed. Unfortunately, they can also be predated on by birds, lizards and dauber wasps.
I welcome all spiders -they are amazing insectivores, but if you lean towards the arachnophobic, try to give these beneficials space in your garden, you might be surprised at what good garden companions they are.