Golden orb spiders! sometimes referred to as banana spiders are easily identifiable by their long lanky legs, brown or yellowish hue, and unique golden web. But what are they for real? why are they called banana spiders? the mention of banana quickly brings to memory the picture of a yellow, elongated, edible fruit usually taken by humans and animals as well.
Golden orb spiders do not look like bananas, they do not smell like bananas, and are not always found on bananas, no! they got their names from the fact that they shoot out webs the same color with a banana and are yellow just like a banana.
Are these golden creatures poisonous? do they bite? what attracts them? how can they be controlled? these and many more are a few of those questions this article is set to unravel. Well, without further ado, let’s paint your mind golden!
Interesting Facts About the Golden Orb Spider
As stated earlier in our intro, the golden orb spider is not called that because it is made of gold or banana spider because it looks like a banana or is found on a banana but because it shoots out webs that look the same color as a banana and is sometimes found in banana shipments. You probably weren’t aware of this right? well below are some key points you should take note of about the golden spider:
- A golden orb spider, also called the giant wood spider is easily identifiable by its long legs, brown or yellowish hue, and unique golden web.
- It has 3 different names, the golden orb spider, the giant wood spider, and the banana spider.
- They can be found in regions such as Africa, Asia, Australia, and the southeastern United States.
- This beautiful wonder of nature shoots out golden web silk.
- Its specie is the oldest surviving spiders on earth.
- They have very quick abilities to escape very tense situations.
- The biggest orb spider ever known was discovered in Australia and was known to be 2.7 inches in length. Females are usually bigger than males.
- One very striking fact is that the female golden orb spider feeds on the male after mating (Besides they’re bigger).
With this briefly highlighted facts, you should be able to identify this spider if you ever encounter one.
Behaviour Of the Golden Orb Spiders
Just like other spiders, this spider has certain things it gets attracted to. People often term these spiders to be very dangerous because of their big-longlegs structure, but are they really dangerous? well, keep reading to find out. One thing’s certain, these spiders do not cause any damage to household properties or any wooden furniture they come across. Wow, that’s so cool.
Sadly, this spider has a very short lifespan of only 1 year. When the large female banana spiders (as they are often referred to) suddenly disappear from their webs, it is often believed that birds have taken them. Although this is not always the case as older females also die natural deaths soon after they have reproduced.
Now let’s get a little deeper into its behavior!
What does the Golden Orb Spider Eat?
Of course, spiders are known to feed on a wide variety of insect pests and this golden spider is no exception. As you read further, you will see that we’ve been able to highlight those things that may attract these guys in your home, well, guess what? they also feed on what they are attracted to. Crazy right?
In case you don’t want to keep reading further (trust me, you don’t want to), let us clear our thoughts on that. Below is a list of things the giant wood spider feeds on:
- This spider preys on a wide range of flying insects such as Bees (Since bees are attracted to flowers the banana spider shoots out brightly lit silk to attract them), Mosquitoes, Butterflies, Small moths, Flies, Wasps, Grasshoppers, Stinkbugs, Leaf-footed bugs, Beetles, Dragonflies, etc.
The feeding habit of a golden orb weaver is somewhat beneficial to man as it helps in the reduction of pests population in the home. After hearing this, you still feel like killing them? lets clear your mind off that.
How does the Golden Orb Spider Feed?
The golden orb weaver feeds on a variety of flying insects, ranging from small flies to larger insects such as locusts. One amusing thing about this spider’s feeding habit is that they can also feed on small birds, as well as bats. Although the giant spider feeds on a variety of insects, it feeds mostly on larger prey than smaller ones.
They get alerted by vibrations on the strand, signifying that potential prey has been caught on the web. As the vibration continues, the spider becomes aware of the prey’s location and can be used to tell the size of the prey. The spider creates a cache for storing food, and this cache can be found above the hub of the web (the food items are wrapped to prevent dehydration).
A cache is created as backup storage for food whenever food source is scarce (they often use the food items stored as bait to trap more preys as well). The orb spider can be seen moving its web whenever there is a scarcity of food sources.
Does the Golden Orb Spider Bite?
The fact already stated is that these spiders are not much of a nuisance to humans and they are not also blood-sucking parasites. But do they bite? guess what, yes they do bite.
The golden orb spider has been discovered by scientists as a timid creature that would run away or escape danger at the slightest chance or opportunity, but it will only bite if it feels threatened or scared and is in a situation where it cannot escape.
A bite from this spider is not as painful as the sting of a bee or a bite from other dangerous spiders, as it is non-toxic. But be careful though, as it can cause a little discomfort.
How does the Golden Orb Spider Reproduce?
When the young males reach the stage of maturity, they depart from their webs in search of a potential mate. More than one males attempt to mate with a single female, but the smaller males are more successful as they use their speed against the larger males (it is not always easy though, as the competition for who will mate the female is very high).
The males approach the females with caution to prevent an aggressive response, and will only approach her when she’s feeding to ensure that she is relaxed. In order to make himself known, the male makes an entrance by tapping on a web strand to making sure that she’s open. If the males are met with aggression from the females, they disengage from the mission until she’s relaxed again.
Sadly males often lose their lives after mating as the females exhibit a cannibalistic behavior towards the males. This cannibalism is mostly common with larger males and older females since the larger males are slow to escape.
After the young golden spiders emerge from their egg case, their first meal is their eggshell, and feed on their shed skin next, after this, they find their golden way in the circle of life.
When the young spiders emerge from their sacs, they are referred to as spiderlings. The spiderlings depart from the egg sac due to environmental changes (warm and moist conditions during spring). After departure, they then live together on a single web, feeding on dead siblings and web remains for about a week before moving out from the web to construct individual webs.
Spiderlings are not always able to build yellow-colored silk at their young age, and due to their appearance (color and shape), they are often mistaken for young orchard spiders.
How & Why does a Golden Orb Spider Shed Its Skin (Molting)
The process of shedding the skin in the golden orb spider is termed “molting”, but why do they molt? well, the answer is simple! it occurs due to the formation of a new exoskeleton inside the old, present one. It often happens when the mass of the spider is too much for the present exoskeleton to bear or inhibit. As the skin is shed, the new exoskeleton becomes harder and tougher, and this process continues and continues.
Molting is termed as a process of growth in the golden orb spider and stops in both males and females at the arrival of the mating season. Whatever size they stop molting, they remain that way for the rest of their lives.
How do I Identify A Golden Orb Spider?
People often ask this question most times on the internet. Will I see them on bananas? will I see them ontop a platter of gold? nope, that’s so untrue. Below is how you can identify these spiders if you ever come across one:
- Colour: The color of the golden orb-weaver varies from red to yellowish-green, with a notable whiteness on its head and thorax.
- Legs: It has long, striped legs specialized for weaving golden orbs.
- Size: These spiders could measure from 4.8 cm to 5.1 cm in females while males could measure less than 2.5 cm (females are larger than the males).
- Habitat: They are mostly found in dense vegetations and areas with high prey populations and a low number of predators.
How Do I Control Golden Orb Spiders in my Home?
As mentioned earlier, these spiders are not in any way harmful to humans as you suppose them to be, but they do bite (only if they feel threatened). Before you are given control measures pertaining to the orb spider, let’s look at certain reasons why you would or wouldn’t want to harm these creatures.
Are Golden Orb Spiders Poisonous?
The simple answer to this question is yes, but not as deadly as that of a black widow venom. Although this spider is poisonous, it’s venom is not so strong to cause fatal circumstances. Its bite may cause allergies such as blisters, redness, and pain around the bitten area but these symptoms will go away after a day or two.
Allergic reactions to the poison are rare, but in most cases cause difficulty in breathing and muscle cramps. If any of these after-effects are noticed, then medical advice should be sought immediately. As stated earlier this spider is also beneficial, especially in gardens as it helps prevent the spread of insects, such as fruit flies.
Are banana spiders poisonous? well, now you know. Do you still want to kill them? Well, your choice.
How do I Treat a Golden Orb Spider’s Poison?
A bite from these guys is not always serious, and not everyone is seriously affected by a bite from the orb-weaver but some people are allergic to them, and serious measures need to be taken to reduce the effect of this poison. Below are ways of treating a banana spider’s poison:
- Wash the bitten area with soap and warm water to keep it clean.
- Apply ice to the affected area to prevent swelling.
- Apply Benadryl cream to the affected area to lessen the symptoms and reduce itching.
- Do well to apply aloe vera gel to the irritated skin.
- Contact your doctor if symptoms persist.
How do I Control a Golden Orb Spider Infestation
In case you still want to stop these guys from wandering about your environment, below are ways of getting rid of them:
- Keep your house and environment tidy to avoid some nasty insects from coming into your home, as this will attract these pests to your home. Cleaning your home will help reduce their population, as there will be a low population of prey.
- If you spot any of these spiders in your home, use a long stick to swirl around its web and place it on any flower you want to be protected from insects attack (this can still stand to your own advantage).
- Finally, you can make use of insecticides to get rid of them. But you don’t have to as they mean no harm.
There are a lot of mistakes people make when it comes to nature such as the case of the Golden orb spider. People often mistake the orb spider to be a banana lover, they are not sure if its a banana spider or an orchard spider, and they are sometimes confused if these spiders are dangerous. But luckily this article has been able to answer one of these many questions, Are these golden orb spiders? Alas! it is.
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