Orchard Orb-Weaver Spider

Beth Bolles
Horticulture Extension Agent
Escambia County
bbolles@ufl.edu

In many aspects of our lives, the color red often puts us at attention. This is true in relation to insects and spiders as well. When we see red markings on garden creatures, we know to be cautious. Some of the most commonly recognized spiders with red markings are the widows. It is important to learn to recognize widows because we do have them in our area; however, not all spiders with red markings on their body are poisonous to people.

The orchard orb-weaver is just one of our many orb weaver spiders that help manage insects in a landscape. Photo Credits: http://frank.itlab.us/venusta/

One very common spider found in most every garden is the orchard orb-weaver. It is a small spider with an abdomen longer than wide. There are two red orange triangles on the underside of the abdomen (not an hourglass) and often red spots on the upperside of the abdomen. These spiders may also have green, yellow, and white markings on their bodies. The spider builds small spiral orb webs often situated among the branches of shrubs. The web is usually slanted instead of being straight up and down in the shrubs. Females hang in the webs waiting for an insect meal. Widow webs tend to be irregular without any circular patterns. Most widows are found in less open areas.