When you see spiders in your garden, you may wonder if they can hurt you or your pets. The good news is, most spiders are not likely to bite or cause lasting harm if they do. Plus, they provide natural pest control! Here are a few spiders commonly found in gardens and landscapes:
Garden spiders or orb weavers spin funnel-shaped webs that cover plants or soil. This spider waits for prey to touch its web and then consumes it.
Crab or flower spiders look like tiny crabs. They use their enlarged front legs to stalk or hunt their prey.
The black widow spider is known and feared by many people due to its venomous bite. However, in the past decade in California, a change in widow spider populations has occurred. A newer invasive spider called the brown widow may be displacing black widow spiders in some urban habitats.
Brown widow spiders are now common in urban areas of Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, San Diego and San Bernardino counties. People have also reported finding them in Ventura and Santa Barbara, and experts believe they may eventually be found in other areas of the state.
Residents may be relieved to learn that brown widow spiders are less likely to bite and if they do, the symptoms are more mild than a black widow...
[From the February 2013 issue of the UC IPM Green Bulletin newsletter]
During the last 10 years, a new widow spider has moved into parts of Southern California. The brown widow spider, Latrodectus geometricus, is closely related to the well-known black widow spider, L. hesperus, (Figure 1) that occurs throughout much of California.
A recent survey of widow spiders in Southern California led by retired UC Riverside entomologist Richard Vetter revealed new information about the distribution of brown widows. Currently brown widow spiders.../span>