These beautiful little spiders are common throughout the state, but they often go unnoticed because of their small size. Mature females are only about ¼ inch long, excluding their legs, and males are even smaller. Orchard orb weavers prefer to build their small, wagon wheel-shaped webs in low-growing bushes and shrubs around the edges of wooded areas, as well as in landscape shrubs. The webs, which are only about 12 inches in diameter, are positioned horizontally, with the spider resting upside down in the center. The webs are usually located about waist-high, give or take a foot or so, which makes it relatively easy for gardeners to see that smile-shaped orange mark.
On rare occasions, orchard orb weavers are mistakenly identified as male or immature black widows--because of that striking orange spot they have on their belly. But orchard orb weavers are harmless to humans. Next time you encounter one, take a few minutes to examine it, and you will probably be impressed with its striking color patterns.
Blake Layton, Extension Entomology Specialist, Mississippi State University Extension Service.
The information given here is for educational purposes only. Always read and follow current label directions. Specific commercial products are mentioned as examples only and reference to specific products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended to other products that may also be suitable and appropriately labeled.
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