Not all bugs are bad. While the Bermudagrass Stem Maggot may leave sod brown and withering, many insects are harmless, or even beneficial to the growth of a healthy North Georgia lawn. Spiders, in particular, get a bad rap in the garden, but as long as landscapers learn to recognize the most deadly Southern spiders, they can live in harmony with garden arachnids. One fairly harmless spider, the golden garden spider, appears in Georgia during late summer or early fall.
Golden Garden Spiders
A member of the NG Turf team, on her way to work, opened her door to find a giant yellow spider at eye-level. The inch-long arachnid was suspended from a web that stretched from frame to frame, leaving a scant foot of clear space at the top of the doorframe. She was understandably worried, but the spider meant no harm. It was an Ariope Aurantia, a golden garden spider. This spider is known for its large, elaborate webs and vivid yellow color. Though coming face-to-face with a large spider can be intimidating, the golden garden spider isn’t toxic to humans and bites only when provoked. By releasing it back into her garden, our team member left the spider free to rid the landscape of more damaging insects.
Benefits of Spiders in the Garden
Unlike many other insects, spiders can benefit sod, flowers, and other plants. Spiders allow landscapers to rid their gardens of pests without resorting to chemical insecticides. They diligently make and repair webs, catching bugs that might damage fresh sod or flowers. Not to mention the effect of morning dew on a spider’s web adds an unmatched, ethereal beauty to the landscape.
Although having too many spiders will drive off all insects, good and bad, having a spider-friendly garden habitat provides more benefits than drawbacks. So the next time you see a bright yellow body crawling through your bermudagrass, don’t fret. Step back and let the spider get to work.