Spiny-backed Orb Weaver Spiders
( Gasteracantha spp. )
SIZE: The body is one-half of an inch or less in length.
COLOR: A brightly colored spider that has a hard, white abdomen with red markings and black spines protruding from the edges.
BEHAVIOR: The spiny-backed orb weaver spins flat, orb-shaped webs in shrubs, trees and in the corners of windows, soffits and similar outdoor areas of buildings. These spiders capture flying, and sometimes crawling, insects found around a home. They are not dangerous and would easily be overlooked if not for their unique coloration. They do not invade indoors unless carried inside while living in a potted plant.
This spider is common along the southeast coast of the United States and is a regular inhabitant of yards in Florida.
Tips for Control
Spiny-backed orb weavers are not dangerous and are beneficial animals. They should not be killed if at all possible. In situations where numerous spiders are present, the webs can be regularly knocked down. Steps should then be taken to determine what conditions are attracting so many insects to a home where such a large number of spiders can feed. You may want to switch exterior light fixtures to yellow “bug lights,” which attract far fewer flying insects.