In late summer, female garden spiders, ranging in body size from a little over a half inch to just over an inch, wait in the center of their webs for an appropriate mate. Male garden spiders, with more subdued coloring, are three times smaller than their female counterparts.
During the mating ritual, male garden spiders approach their potential mates, plucking the females’ webs to attract their attention. After garden spiders mate, the female spiders deposit eggs in strong weather-resistant sacs directly on their webs. The male garden spider dies after mating, while winter temperatures usually eliminate females. With warmer winters worldwide, female garden spiders can survive several years.
Known as orb-weavers, garden spiders spin circular webs. Most spiders have two claws on each foot but garden spiders are equipped with an extra claw to assist in spinning their complex zigzagging X patterned webs. Even garden spiderlings possess the ability to weave complex webs. This highly visible pattern or stabilimentum’s exact function isn’t clear to entomologists, but some think that these web decorations may function to divert birds from accidentally destroying garden spiders’ webs, by flying into them.
Garden spiders spin their webs in sunny areas, with a favorable potential for prey, including flies, bees, mosquitoes, beetles and other flying insects. Producing venom to immobilize their prey, garden spiders generally pose no health treats to humans.