Attribution: Charles Haynes, [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
This is a large spider with a body up to one inch long or larger and a leg span of up to three inches.
The garden spider’s color varies, but the most common species is black and yellow.
Garden spiders spin very large, flat, orb-shaped webs across open spaces between tree and shrub branches. The webs will be located along natural flight paths for flying insects. This spider sits in the center of the web, head facing downward, waiting for an unwary insect to fly into its web. The spider then hurries to the insect, bites it to subdue it, wraps it tightly in silk, and carries it like a prize to a more protected area of the web to feed on it later. The garden spider begins repairing the web immediately to prepare for its next flying prey.
Garden spiders usually live in fields and forests, but occasionally will be found next to homes or in yards.
These spiders are beneficial animals and are not dangerous, despite their large size. Garden spiders should not be killed, but should be relocated to another part of the yard where they will be out of the way of human traffic.