Garden spiders are not dangerous and do not attack people. There are rare cases of bites, painful but without consequences, to people who have handled these spiders. Some people may also be allergic to substances emitted by the spiders when they bite. So they should never be handled with bare hands.
Garden spiders are active predators that feed on a wide variety of insects. They can also contribute to maintaining the ecological balance of your garden naturally.
Female garden spiders protect their offspring by laying their eggs in a thick pouch. First, the spider secretes a mass of silk in which she lays her eggs. She then covers the suspended mound with several layers of different types of thread. To finish her work, she creates an outer covering with a paper-like texture. The covering and the air-filled space it creates in the sac insulate the shelter well. Several hours are needed for the spider to build her egg sac. It can be seen attached to the web or in nearby grasses.
The yellow garden spider’s sac is shaped like a narrow sphere at one end, measuring 20 to 25 mm long. The banded garden spider’s sac looks more like a basin.
Garden spiders are master spinners and spin splendid vertical webs that can measure up to 60 cm in diameter. They usually spin their webs at different heights, in high gras or shrubs, from May to September.
The characteristic element of the garden spider’s web is the stabilimentum, a zigzag structure that runs through the middle of the web from top to bottom. This structure frequently appears in the webs of both species found in Quebec, but it is less marked and sometimes absent in the web of the banded garden spider. The stabilimentum’s exact purpose is still uncertain, but there are a number of possible reasons for its existence. It may strengthen the web, or make it more visible to birds. It could also act as a camouflage for the spider in the centre. It could also attract certain insects.
When you see a garden spider, it’s usually a female. Only the females spin the large webs that are characteristic of the group. The male garden spider is more difficult to see. He spins a small web near the female’s to trap his pray, waiting until his partner is receptive to mating.
While waiting on her web, the female yellow garden spider places her legs on top of each other two by two, making it seem as though she has four legs instead of eight. If she is disturbed, she shakes her web, probably to seem more threatening. If the intrusion persists, the spider falls to the ground.