Very often homeowners will confuse the banana spider with the garden spider, or vice versa. Both have their own unique physical characteristics, but they are very similar in behavior. Banana spiders and garden spiders have menacing appearances but make for a beneficial partner in any garden. This spider will not usually enter homes. If you are experiencing spiders inside, please see our discussion about getting rid of spiders in the house. Banana spiders are often seen constructing webs between gutters, bushes, and downspouts, blending themselves into the landscape and preying on flying insects.
The banana spider has a solid yellow abdomen. Unlike the garden spider, their abdomen is shaped closer to a square or oval than a circle, a key difference in identificiation. Found all over the United States, the banana spider is hallmarked by its large and boisterous webs, sometimes spanning over three feet in total length. Its correct name is the Golden silk orb-weaver. The banana spider has legs that are evenly distributed around its body, not coupled into pairs like the garden spider. The legs are typically yellow with black rings. The abdomen may also contain a mix of black, red, and yellow to warn predators and humans of its toxicity.
The banana spider's web silk is a yellowish or golden hue and very strong. It prefers constructing webs in fields, between trees, and shrubbery adjoining the side of the home. Their webs are constructed of a spiraling circle, with supportive lines radiating from the center, coupled with a zigzag pattern down the middle. The spider will center itself in the web with its head pointing down, as it waits to catch gliding or flying insects. Orb-weavers are known for replacing their webs with a new one each night.
The banana spider bite poses little threat to humans. Although their bites are quite painful, they are only mildly toxic and may cause itching, reddening, and swelling. If bitten, apply an ice patch to reduce swelling and take some Tylenol for mild pain relief. Please note, this is very different from the banana spider located in South America and Brazil, whose bite is necrotic and potentially lethal. If you wish to remove a banana spider from your property, you can do so using the wide end of a broom.