Your typical residential lawn contains well-groomed grass, a back porch, and maybe a garden or two. It goes without saying that all sorts of creepy-crawlies exist below porches, but a massive amount of spiders and other insects can be found nestled within the blades of lawn grass as well. Some spiders, like wolf spiders, maintain an abundant presence within lawn grass, but most backyard spider species prefer to dwell within gardens. Most garden spider species are web-builders, as an abundance of garden-plants allow spiders to attach webs to stems in nearly every location within a garden. It is not easy to build a web on a flat grassy lawn, but lawn grass is an ideal habitat for spiders that rely on mobile hunting rather than webs for catching prey. Gardens also attract a variety of insect species that consume stems, leaves and roots; and since spiders feed on insects, there is no better place for a spider to build webs than in a garden. Some garden spiders can wind up in homes on occasion, but since these spiders wait for their prey as opposed to seeking them out, garden spiders typically remain within gardens where food is easy to come by. However, spiders that seek out their prey are more likely to wind up within homes, as these spiders often wander into homes while hunting.
The Venusta Orchard Spider (Leucauge venusta) and the Trashline Orbweaver (Cyclosa turbinata) are two garden spider species that are frequently spotted within yards in the northeast. The thin-legged wolf spider is one of several wolf spider species known for inhabiting lawns in great number in the northeast. The orchard spider is recognizable as being one of the most colorful spider species in the world. A combination of different colors decorate this species’ abdomen. These colors include green, red, orange and yellow, and the presence of each color varies by specimen. The trashline orbweaver is unique for incorporating plant matter into their webs. The purpose of this plant matter is debated among experts, but the plant matter may attract insects to webs. This species is abundant within parks, gardens, fields and meadows, but they are not often spotted indoors. Wolf spiders, on the other hand, are frequently found indoors and these spiders are unique for possessing eyes that reflect light, similar to how deer and cat eyes glow at night when exposed to light. Considering how abundant wolf spiders are within residential yards, it is not surprising that they often wander indoors. Shining a flashlight over a lawn will make the eyes of wolf spiders visible, but most people would prefer not to know how abundant the spiders are on their property.
Have you ever found a wolf spider within your home?