Banded Garden Spider: Are They Poisonous to You and Your Plants?

The banded garden spider (Argiope trifasciata) is an orb-weaving spider known for its striking appearance and unique web patterns.

These spiders are commonly found in gardens and fields, with females being larger in size, measuring between 13 and 14.5 millimeters in length, and featuring silver hairs covering their carapace.

Though these spiders may look intimidating, they are not considered poisonous or harmful to humans.

Banded Garden Spider: Are They Poisonous

Subject: Harbinger of Armageddon?
Location: Shenandoah Valley Virginia
October 28, 2013 6:28 pm
Hi Bugman!
This recently deceased trespasser found its way into my garage where it met a swift end. I was wondering what it was as the internet has been of no help!
He was about 1.5” long. Was very slow moving. His back was quite shiny. It is October and we live in Virginia.
Thanks
Signature: Considered burning my house down after finding this.

Their venom is primarily used to subdue their insect prey, and even if they were to bite a person, the effects would be minimal and not life-threatening.

So, while encountering a banded garden spider might give some people a fright, they can rest assured knowing these fascinating creatures pose no significant danger.

Banded Garden Spider Overview

Appearance and Size

The Banded Garden Spider (Argiope trifasciata) is known for its unique appearance. Its abdomen displays thin silver and yellow lines, along with thicker black and spotty lines.

The spider’s carapace is covered with silvery hairs, and their legs have black and yellow stripes.

  • Females: 13-14.5 millimeters
  • Males: smaller and thinner

Habitat and Distribution

These spiders are commonly found in North America and can be spotted throughout the United States, Central America, Canada, Mexico, Alaska, California, and Colorado. They usually build their webs in gardens and shrubs.

Banded Garden Orbweaver

Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Family: Araneidae
Banded Garden SpiderYellow Garden Spider
Slightly smallerLarger
Pointier hind endRounded hind end
Thin silver & yellow lines on abdomenProminent black & yellow patterns on abdomen
Silvery hairs on carapaceNo mention of silvery hairs

Web Characteristics

Banded garden spiders create intricate webs to catch their prey. Their webs are composed of silk, which they produce from spinnerets at the end of their abdomens. A typical web has:

  • Radial lines extending out from the center
  • A spiral pattern that connects the radial lines

These spiders often construct new webs each day, and their webs are similar in size and shape to those of yellow garden spiders.

Stabilimentum

A stabilimentum is a unique feature found in some spider webs, including those of banded garden spiders. The stabilimentum serves multiple purposes, such as:

  • Strengthening the web structure
  • Attracting prey with its reflective properties

However, it’s not uncommon for the stabilimentum to be absent or variable in shape in their webs.

Banded Argiope
Banded Argiope

Diet and Prey

The banded garden spider (Argiope trifasciata) has a diet consisting primarily of insects. They play a crucial role in controlling pests in gardens and other environments.

  • Eat: Banded garden spiders consume a variety of insects.
  • Prey: Known for trapping and devouring mosquitoes, flies, and other pests.

Banded garden spiders use their intricate webs to catch prey. Once caught, they inject venom to immobilize their victims.

Although their venom is effective on insects, it is not considered dangerous to humans.

Banded Garden Spider: Are They Poisonous?

Poisonous or Harmless

The banded garden spider is considered a non-aggressive and harmless spider to humans.

While it does possess venom, it is not harmful or dangerous to people. Some key characteristics of banded garden spiders include:

  • Non-aggressive nature
  • Harmless venom
  • No threat to humans

Bite Symptoms

If a banded garden spider does happen to bite, symptoms may include mild pain, redness, and discomfort at the site of the bite.

However, these symptoms are typically temporary and do not cause any long-lasting issues.

Treatment

As the banded garden spider’s bite is not harmful, treatment is usually straightforward. Some recommended steps to alleviate symptoms include:

  • Applying a cold compress to reduce swelling
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers if necessary
  • Keeping the affected area clean and avoiding infection

Banded Argiope
Banded Argiope

Banded Garden Spider as a Pet

Banded garden spiders (Argiope trifasciata) can make interesting and low-maintenance pets.

Housing and Setup:

  • Small, ventilated enclosure
  • Sticks and plants for web building
  • Minimal additional supplies required

Feeding:

  • Feed on small insects, such as crickets
  • Typically need food once every few days

Compared to other popular pet spiders like tarantulas, banded garden spiders require a simpler setup. Here’s a brief comparison:

FeatureBanded Garden SpiderTarantula
VenomMinimal risk to humansVaries by species
Web BuildingOrb-weaver, builds intricate websGround-dwelling or burrowing
Lifespan1-2 yearsUp to 20 years
InteractionLimited handlingMore handling possible

Pros of Banded Garden Spider as a Pet:

  • Low-maintenance
  • Intricate web-building provides visual interest
  • Non-aggressive and minimal risk of bites

Cons of Banded Garden Spider as a Pet:

  • Short lifespan (1-2 years)
  • Limited handling
  • Not as well-known for pets, so resources may be limited

Conclusion

The Banded Garden Spider (Argiope trifasciata) is a captivating orb-weaving spider renowned for its distinctive appearance and intricate web patterns.

Commonly found in gardens and fields, these spiders are not harmful to humans. Their venom, while potent against their insect prey, poses minimal risk to people.

In fact, if bitten, the symptoms are typically mild and transient. Beyond their appearance, these spiders play a pivotal role in controlling garden pests, making them beneficial to garden ecosystems.

Their unique web structures, often featuring a stabilimentum, are both functional and visually intriguing. As with many creatures, understanding and appreciation can dispel unwarranted fears, and the Banded Garden Spider is no exception.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about banded garden spiders. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Banded Argiope

An orb weaver but what kind????
Hi there,
my niece found this rather lage spider in her back yard!!! I don’t know the name of the species but I believe it’s an orb weaver. Is this a male or female??? She told me it was about 3 to 4 inches long or so, they live in whittier California.

The picture was taken last fall around mid october to november, unfortunally they killed it because they didn’t want it to come in their house. But it is an awesome picture even though I hate spiders!!!
Sincerely,
Darcy Jimenez
Montebello, CA

Hi Darcy,
Your niece photographed a female Banded Argiope, Argiope trifasciata. They are closely related to the common Yellow Argiope. It is common in the west and tolerates arid climates. It is a harmless and beautiful spider. Sadly, she will not be procreating.

Letter 2 – Banded Argiope

Large spider photographed near Nanaimo, B.C., Canada

Thank you for your photo of a female Banded Argiope, Argiope trifasciata.

Letter 3 – Banded Argiope

Argiope trifasciate (Banded Garden Spider)
Hi! LOVE your site! I used it to identify what I believe is an Orb Weaver, Argiope trifasciata (Banded Garden Spider). Thought you might enjoy the attached photos of one of our dear backyard friends. She (?? we think) has graced us with her presence for over 3 months now.

She is at least 2″ long and her web is gorgeous and spans about 3 feet. I am a Certified Veterinary Technician, so we have a VERY animal friendly home and yard! We are using this striking creature to teach our 3 year-old the benefits and beauty of all insects.

We go out into the yard at least twice a day to say “hello” and see how she is doing. We even go out at night with flashlights to wish her “pleasant dreams.” We are doing our best to instill a “ooohhhh, isn’t that cool” attitude as opposed to the more common, “ICK! GROSS!” response and its resulting carnage. Your site is helping us do that. Thanks and keep up the awesome work.
Carolyn
South Georgia

Hi Carolyn,
Thank you for your touching letter. We are thrilled we are helping to reduce carnage.

Letter 4 – Banded Argiope

Unknown Spider
Bugman,
I found this spider while hiking in Virginia. I’m from Wisconsin and have never seen a spider quite like this one. Could you help me out and tell me what it is? Appreciate the time!
Adam

Hi Adam,
This is a Banded Argiope, one of the larger Orb Weaving Spiders. They are not uncommon.

Letter 5 – Banded Argiope

What’s this?
Would please tell me about this spider in the attached picture. I almost mowed it down with my tractor, but I’m glad I saw it first.
Thank you very much
Barbara

Hi Barbara,
Nice photo of a Banded Argiope, one of the larger North American Orb Weavers.

Letter 6 – Banded Argiope

Whats that bug??
Hey Bugman! Let me first say that I think your site is great! My brother and I work together and during our “slacking” moments (not many) we walk outside to bug hunt. We’ll probably be asking you more questions in the near future, we tend to find some neat looking creatures.

This time though, my brother found something on his own last. He found a crazy looking spider in his yard while cutting the grass. He lives in Berwyn, Illinois, a suburb right outside of Chicago. The spider has a silver back, long legs with yellow stripes, and 2 yellow stripes down his black belly.

Do you know what he is?? We’ve never seen a spider like this guy before. By the way…do I have to check the site for your reply, or do you email me back AND post the email and answe ron your site? Thanks a lot for all your help!
Wendy Vargas
Chicago, IL

Dear Wendy,
Though the coloration is not typical, this is a Banded Argiope, Argiope trifasciata. The best letters and images get posted as well as a personal email. Some letters just get an email. Some letters, more than we would like to admit, never get answered.

Letter 7 – Banded Argiope

gorgeous white backed spider w/slight greenish coloring (Fallon, NV)
Here’s to hoping that you can get to this entry, because I cannot for the life of me find this spider on your page. Including the leg span, it was about the diameter of a silver dollar (perhaps a bit larget) and had some odd markings on it’s back.

I’m in the Fallon, Nevada area and fairly distant from any major bodies of water. I almost wanted to say it’s either some type of garden spider, or a fishing spider (despite the only bodies of water nearby being canals) but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Please take a look, and let me know if you guys and gals have time. 🙂 Thank you so much for your great site. I hope this will make a unique entry for you.
Sincerely,
Jeremy

Banded Argiope
Banded Argiope

Hi Jeremy,
Thanks for resending your query.  The original letter arrived amidst our site migration transition period.  This is a Banded Argiope, Argiope trifasciata, a species that is relatively well represented on our site.  Your specimen has much subtler markings, hence your trouble identifying it properly.

Letter 8 – Banded Argiope

Subject: Orb Spider?
Location: Northeastern Utah
January 28, 2013 6:27 pm
Here is a spider I found while doing some trimming in Northeastern Utah. Pretty cool looking
Signature: Bryan

Banded Argiope

Hi Bryan,
This really is a beautiful example of a Banded Argiope, Argiope trifasciata.  It is indeed an Orbweaver.  Despite their large size and noticeable coloration and markings, members of the genus Argiope pose no threat to humans, but it is possible that they might bite if carelessly handled.

Letter 9 – Banded Argiope Discredited

Subject: Harbinger of Armageddon?
Location: Shenandoah Valley Virginia
October 28, 2013 6:28 pm
Hi Bugman!
This recently deceased trespasser found its way into my garage where it met a swift end. I was wondering what it was as the internet has been of no help!
He was about 1.5” long. Was very slow moving. His back was quite shiny. It is October and we live in Virginia.
Thanks
Signature: Considered burning my house down after finding this.

Lost Female Banded Argiope
Lost Female Banded Argiope

Dear Considered burning my house down after finding this,
You are overreacting. This was a mature, female Banded Argiope, a harmless orbweaver that only survives a single season. They do not stray from their webs so something must have caused her to scuttle clumsily along the ground and right into your broom. 

Banded Argiopes are capable of biting a human, but they are reluctant to do so. Should a human happen to get bitten, the reaction would be similar to a bee with local swelling and sensitivity. When Armageddon arrives, it will have nothing to do with this luckless Banded Argiope, nor any of her relatives.

Letter 10 – Banded Garden Orbweaver

Is this one of those Silver Argiope?
Location: Mansfield, Ohio
September 23, 2011 5:24 pm
OK so i am REALLY NOT a spider person but i have never seen this kind of spider. She hangs out on my garage door where here huge round egg sac is.

I have read about the orb weavers but one difference i find is that she does not have a bumpy thorax. They also said they are not common in the north, i live in Mansfield, Ohio. She is full size cause i bet she measures if not a full inch close to it.
Signature: Freaked out by silver spider

Banded Garden Orbweaver

Dear Freaked out …,
You have the genus correct, but not the species.  This is actually a Banded Garden Orbweaver,
Argiope trifasciata.  Like the other members of the genus, the Banded Garden Orbweaver is not considered dangerous, however, it might bite if it feels threatened or if it is carelessly handled.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

4 thoughts on “Banded Garden Spider: Are They Poisonous to You and Your Plants?”

  1. I found a spider similar to this,, I live in Southwestern Ontario Canada.. As south as u can get in Canada, near Point Pelee National Park . While I was outside the otherday I seen a spider like this and cannot seem to figure out what it is.. The one I found was metallic silver with no markings on the body.. The legs were the same although the body seemed somewhat flat.. I have emailed this website and a conservationalist at Point Pelee in hopes for a response as to the type of spider I seen.. I have never seen a spider like this in my location, when we spotted it I quickly ran in the house to get the camera. I’m glad I was able to catch it on film because it ran away pretty quick… Does anyone know, is this spider common for my area? We have many many bird species here that are rare, Point Pelee is a migratory rest spot for many many birds and butterfly, which made me think this spider is not from our area and it to possibly migrated here???

    Reply
  2. I was searching for 2 days to find out what kind of spider my daughter found in the bathroom. This banded argiope is an exact match. I attempted to email this site, but the photos I had wouldnt upload. I am in Corona, California.
    The weather here is in the high 90s with a touch of humidity. I am wondering if this is normal climate for such a spider. I have never seen one like this before.

    Needless to say, my daughter screamed loud enough to wake my husband up at 8 am sunday morning. HAHA

    Reply
    • Banded Argiopes do not readily bite humans, and the bite would typically cause a localized reaction, like swelling and tenderness. This is not considered a dangerous species, but it does have venom.

      Reply

Leave a Comment