Garden Critters: The Yellow Garden Spider

Yellow Garden Spider, argiope aurantia, garden,

The Yellow Garden Spider


Have you seen one of these around your garden recently? -Say hello to the Yellow Garden Spider!

This female (pictured above) gave our employees a bit of a scare at our site this week. The spider species Argiope aurantia is commonly known as the yellow garden spiderblack and yellow garden spidergolden garden spiderwriting spidercorn spider, or McKinley spider. Although their colouring is frightening, the yellow garden spider is not aggressive or poisonous to humans. The adult female spiders are the most visible during late summer, which is why you might be noticing them more right now.
Yellow garden spider on web
These spiders are one of the largest species of the orb weaver family, and can be found building their webs near open fields, tall vegetation or outdoor buildings. It is common for the female spiders to stay in one location for much of her lifetime. Yellow garden spiders are found throughout:

  • The contiguous United States
  • Hawaii
  • Southern Canada
  • Mexico
  • Central America

The yellow garden spider is an annual spices, meaning they don’t survive through the winter. The male spiders mature in July-August and the females mature between August-October, and are typically 4x bigger than the males. The male spiders will spend most of their life searching for a female to mate with, and will sometimes build its web near, or on, a female’s web. The male spiders die off shortly after mating, and some experts believe that mating induces their death and other sources say that the male spiders die of starvation and exhaustion, due to mating.
In late summer, after mating, the mature female will produce an egg sac containing 400-1,200 spiderlings. The spiderlings will hatch and overwinter inside the protective and insulated sac, emerging in the spring to complete their cycle of life.

Fun Fact: The Argiope aurantia (Yellow Garden Spider) takes almost all of its potty breaks at night, and often leaves its web to do so!

– Jenna Monk