Along Came a Spider…

Along Came a Spider…

…who sat down and ate the moth beside her. OK maybe that’s not the story you’re used to hearing but that’s what happened. This little guy is a common one in North American gardens. You’ve probably seen him somewhere, Phidippus audux a common jumping spider. At least that is my best guess. I’m not an entomologist by any means.

He was hanging out on out back porch door, just floating on the glass waiting for a meal. Spiders are great for the garden because they eat bugs that feast on our plants. To me they are an asset for the garden. They can seem kind of creepy until you think about how much they can help you. I still remember seeing Arachnophobia in the movie theater and feeling like little legs were crawling up my legs. I’m glad real life isn’t like the movies.

This little guy isn’t poisonous but his bite can hurt so it’s best to shy away from him. Your odds of getting bitten are very low since he prefers to munch on the insects and will likely just run away from you. If you think about it, a giant like you (when compared to the spider) would be pretty intimidating!

In general it’s best to leave spiders alone. In Tennessee the two most popular spiders to be concerned about are the brown recluse and the black widow. They are common but if you are cautious you can avoid them. When we were getting ready for our snow day a while back, I picked up my boots and knocked out a dead black widow. I discovered that it’s a really good idea to check your shoes if you keep them in a garage or area easily accessed from outdoors.

One unusual fact about these jumping spiders is that they hunt in the daytime while other spiders hunt at night. For some more information about spiders and bugs go visit Penn State’s Entomology pages.


Dave has written since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 5 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. I always check my shoes when putting them on. 🙂


  2. This is why we keep our shoes and gloves in the utility room of the house instead of the shed! I worked in a pharmacy and have seen what spider bites can do to human flesh. ..
    I try to always wear gloves when playing in the garden due in part to spiders. Especially when moving around stones. I really hate it when walking through a spider web while working in the woods. arggg

  3. Some people will shudder at this post, but I like the photos and the information, of course. Luckily for us we have neither black widows nor brown recluse spiders here, but I still treat all the species we do have with respect–outdoors, that is. Inside, they get stomped, and rain be damned. 😉

  4. I’m with you on the stomping part, Jodi. I do have a phobia about spiders. As does my daughter, who is also allergic to their bites. I know they serve a useful purpose, but I’d rather kiss a snake than have a spider crawl on me. 🙂 Wuss!!

  5. I just love spiders in the garden. Especially the big black and yellow ones. My big son (much bigger than me) is afraid of them and would not work in the yard until I disposed of one. Go figure. In addition to shoes, I’ve had problems with them in my water meter area.

    Nancy, Kiss a snake than have a spider crawl on you? funny.

  6. Jenny,

    You should share your spider story. 😉


    In college a friend of mine had a brown recluse bite that we kept telling him to go to the doctor for. He did after a couple days but by then a large circle of skin around the bite had wasted away. It was not pretty.


    I usually do the same. Sometimes we’ll let it out of the house. I will probably start putting them in a jar and releasing them into the garden. As long as they aren’t the brown recluse or the black widow. Those will be unceremoniously stomped!


    With a daughter allergic to them I can see why you would be concerned. I’ll tell you this though, I like snakes but not that much! 😉


    I think I’ve seen the kind you’re talking about. Those are pretty neat. I had one of them on my lemon trees last fall. I forgot to post a link to it in the post. I might go back and do that.

  7. Great shots! We have garden spiders in Nova Scotia and for some reason their population seemed to be increased last summer. To my knowledge we don’t have any poisonous ones.

  8. Great pictures of the spider! I’m not scared of spiders, snakes, mice, etc. But then, we don’t have much in the way of poisonous snakes or spiders here. It’s live and let live around here. Mosquitoes, well that’s a different story.

  9. I was looking through some pictures files today and found a good picture I snapped of a black and yellow spider! It is actually a pretty spider. I bet it is the one Tina is talking about…

  10. Skeeter, Looking forward to seeing the pic sometime and a post!

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