Humans have a natural aversion to spiders, and for good reason. Not only are they creepy crawly buy some are extremely venomous. Fortunately or unfortunately the really nasty ones (brown recluse, black widow, and hobo for example) tend to hide out in the dark corners of your basement rather than your garden.
Most spiders you will find living in your cultivation areas should be considered your allies rather than your enemies. Their presence indicates a healthy ecosystem and so they should never be killed. Spiders are top garden predators and consume all types of insects and bugs including cabbage worms and moths, squash bugs, flies, and even slugs.
The most common spiders found on North American farms, gardens, or yard settings include: Wolf Spiders, Crab Spiders, Jumping Spiders, and Orb-Web Spiders. Many of these spiders don’t make webs but actually hunt or ambush their prey. Wolf Spiders will wait next to their small burrows in mulched areas for an unsuspecting insect to happen by. Lime green crab spiders can often be found hiding in nasturtium flowers, ready to pounce on the next unsuspecting meal. Orb-Web Spiders include many different species of beneficial web weavers including the Golden-Orb or simply the “Garden Spider” which make beautiful large webs, sometimes two feet across.
Attracting and maintaining a healthy spider population starts with providing them with good habitat. Perennial herb plantings or flowers within cultivation areas allow for year round shelter. Mulched beds or paths are good homes for wolf spiders, and uncultivated “wild” borders make great hideouts for all types of spiders. Pesticides should be avoided when encouraging spiders. Although some organic type pesticides claim to be “safe for beneficials,” many still kill spiders.
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