P&PDL Picture of the Week for
October 9, 2006

Spiders are a sign of good luck – when they are in your neighbors yard

Tim Gibb, Insect Diagnostician, Department of Entomology, Purdue University

During late fall many large orb web weaving spiders appear around homes and yards.  Often these are the most colorful and ornate spiders in the state.  While these are beautiful in photographs, no one likes to run into their webs out in the yard or to deal with the messy webbing and dead insects that they leave in a window sill.

Still, spiders are beneficial because of the number of insects that they capture and kill and their presence has long been considered good luck.

An old saying by an unknown author illustrates mans long held appreciation of spiders.

“Kill a spider, bad luck yours will be
Until of flies you’ve swatted fifty-three.”

This photo is of a golden garden spider (Argiopes) and is just one of the more common, large, web spinners near homes at this time of year.  These and other very visible spiders that build webs outside of buildings do not bite people and should be of little concern as they will be gone after the first hard freeze.  Removing their webbing is a small price to pay for the benefit that they provide in fly control.   What is unclear is whether they can provide the same benefit – only from your neighbors yard.

Orb weaving spider

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service