Benefits of Spiders In the Garden

Arachnophobes everywhere may cringe at their sight, but these eight legged creatures of the garden protect and defend twenty four hours a day, seven days a week! Mites, thrips, slugs and other pesky bugs, are no match for the spider thugs. Joking aside, garden spiders are peaceful dwellers that naturally reduce the proliferation of damaging pests and diseases. Instead of squishing these specialized hunters, gardeners should encourage their growth and existence in the garden. Put your fears aside, discover the benefits of spiders, and then learn how to encourage them to visit your garden crops!


Benefits of Spiders - 
Brown Jumping Spider. 
  • Eliminate Pests - Almost every common garden pest that you can think of is a meal for some spider! Plant pests such as aphids, spider mites, thrips, caterpillars, and cutworms are all prey. In addition, spiders can also help reduce flying insects like mosquitoes, wasps and moths. 
  • Reduce Plant Pathogens - Many fungal and bacterial plant infections use common insect pests as a transportation vector to move from host to host. Utilizing open wounds created from hungry pests, these pathogens can enter into plant tissues and begin their own destructive sequence. Since spiders reduce the number of damaging pests, they'll also lower the chances of disease spreading. 

Attracting Spiders -
  • Don't Use Insecticides - Chemical insecticides will not only get rid of many garden pests, they'll harm spider populations too. Besides reducing the number of spiders in your garden, the toxic compounds found in chemical insecticides can be harmful to your health as well! If a pest infestation has reached a point where human intervention is needed, use organic treatment options and administer sprays early in the morning when spiders are less active. 
Common garden spider on the
underside of a tomato leaf. 
  • Mulch - Adding mulch in the form of compost, straw, yard clippings or bark chips not only increases moisture retention in the soil below, it also provides great shelter for spiders. With plenty of places to take cover and ample food abound, ground foraging spiders will flourish. 
  • Leave Overwintering Materials - While you may be tempted to clean up the garden area by removing all leaves and dead plant material, don't! The debris will provide shelter for spiders to endure the winter months. In the spring, the leftover materials can be tilled into the soil.

While some may still squirm, just remember that spiders are friends, not foes! You may spend a lot of time in your garden, but a spider will spend more. Thanks for reading this guide on the benefits of spiders in the garden.

Orb Weaver Spider on its web. 

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