The Benefits of Spiders in the Garden
While many homeowners are concerned with getting rid of garden pests, there are actually many beneficial insects living in the garden, and spiders are among them. While some pests will destroy your roses or other beautiful plants, many types of spiders can actually improve the overall health of your garden.
Get to Know the Friendly Spiders
The most common garden spiders tend to be black and yellow, but that doesn't mean that you won't see other types of spiders in your landscape. (For example, in parts of the U.S., black widow spiders can be found in the garden, even though they prefer other habitats.) Once you know what beneficial garden spiders look like, you can evict the non-helpers and venomous types and leave the good guys to do their work.
How They Help
Perhaps the biggest benefit of garden spiders is that they eat insects – mostly the unwanted pests that you don't want in your flower beds, like aphids, wasps, beetles, mosquitoes, and flies. They work hard, keeping those pesky populations in check before they can harm your favorite perennials or sting you. In other words, garden spiders help you maintain a healthy balance in your landscape.
Garden spiders begin removing insect pests from your garden beds early in the spring, as soon as they wake from dormancy (which is about the same time insect pests awaken), and continue eating them throughout the growing season. Garden spiders have voracious appetites, too, eating at least one insect pest per day, so the more garden spiders in your landscape, the more helpers you have.
Why They're Good for Plants
By controlling pests, garden spiders can actually reduce harmful plant pathogens. Insect pests transfer many types of fungal and bacterial diseases from plant to plant. These diseases damage plant tissues and sometimes even kill the plant. The fewer pests there are in your garden, the fewer ways there will be for certain diseases to spread.
How to Attract Garden Spiders
A healthy garden filled with lush bushes and perennials makes a great habitat for many garden spiders. Using grass clippings as mulch specifically attracts wolf spiders. While wolf spiders don't have the bold yellow and black markings that true garden spiders are known for, they benefit the garden in similar ways – and are more proactive about it. Instead of building webs and waiting for prey to come to them, these hunters actively hunt for their dinner. Grass clippings provide them with a hunting habitat.
Do Garden Spiders Bite?
Most spiders will bite if provoked, but very few spider bites are actually dangerous to humans. If you happen to brush up against a garden spider's web and it bites you, the bite area may swell slightly and itch, but that’s all. In most cases, these spiders will leave the gardener in peace.
As you can see, there are many benefits to having spiders in your garden. Of course, if you find that you have an abundance of pests, you should certainly try to decrease their numbers with an insect control product like Ortho® Insect Killer Rose & Flower Ready-To-Use. Afterward, though, take steps to attract garden spiders to combat future pests that enter your landscape and garden.