Banana Spiders Make Big Local Comeback

September 16, 2013

The golden orb weavers are back in greater numbers this year. More commonly called banana spiders, they seemed to have taken a break the past few years, only to return to our woods, trails and around homes with a vengeance this summer.

“That’s a cause for justifiable arson,” a commenter wrote on a local’s Facebook photo of a banana spider under the eaves of house, blocking a family’s entire kitchen window.

They can grow to several inches across, which can be scary if you don’t know that they really won’t hurt you physically (mentally is perhaps another story).

Because of its size, people sometimes assume that the banana spider is dangerous to people. The body of the female is 1 to 1 ½ inches long, plus an inch or two more when the legs are included in the measurements. The bodies of the males are much smaller, about ¼ inch, and are dark-brown. They are often found in the webs of females.

In reality, it is a shy spider (as nearly all spiders are). Just know this species is considered medically harmless to humans.

There is little danger to a healthy adult from an encounter with the banana spider. It will only bite if held or pinched and the bite itself will produce a localized pain with a slight redness, which quickly goes away. On the whole, the bite is much less severe than a bee string. It is best avoided, but it won’t kill you.

The banana spider preys on a wide variety of small to medium sized flying insects, which include mosquitoes, grasshoppers, stinkbugs, leaf-footed bugs, bees, butterflies, flies, small moths and wasps. Banana spiders have even been seen feeding on beetles and dragonflies.

The banana spider’s other name, the golden orb weaver, stems from the golden yellow color of their strong silk. Their large webs can typically be found in trees, along trails, under the eaves of houses, or other places where they’re likely to catch a lot of insects.

The University of Florida/IFAS Extension Service contributed to this story.

Pictured: A banana spider at a Bratt home. photos, click to enlarge.


27 Responses to “Banana Spiders Make Big Local Comeback”

  1. Palmer Short on May 15th, 2020 10:12 am

    The’re use to be a female banana spider on my kitchen window screen. She would greet me every morning.I would tap on the window and she move just a little bit to let me know she had seen me. She stayed for quite a while then I saw little spiders scampering around the web. No reaction from mama. I went outside and tried to provoke her into moving but to my despair she was gone. She did her duty and expired. With gloved hand I plucked her from the web and moved her to another tree and as nature works she will be consumed by another creature. That’s the way it works. I still miss her but so far no new banana spider has found my window. I keep hoping.

  2. TngGam on February 7th, 2019 8:14 pm

    I’ve had these spiders as pets they are very laid back non agressive sweet spiders. Don’t let side scare you. They are big babies. Let them live they do us a lot of good.

  3. Larski on October 1st, 2013 9:37 am

    When my wife and I first moved to Florida some 9 years ago now, we enjoyed walking the nature trails provided by the state and federal government. The first time we came across the infamous banana spider was in a walk near Deerfield Beach Fl. As we walked through the canopies we were amazed (and sufficiently frightened) at the amazing sight of the spiders gorgeous web. The spiders ranged in size form about an inch to ….. well lets just say scary huge. I must have snapped a dozen photos of the gigantic but beautiful web. The other thing that struck me is they seemed to have some sort of social structure as several spiders occupied the web like a community. The web itself was so large It would have covered my car easily. They are truly an amazing arachnid and fun to observe. Now and for the first time I went out to my orange tree and saw a family of banana spiders taking refuge in my little tree. For the record I am not mentioning this to my wife.

  4. Rachel on September 18th, 2013 11:36 am

    yeah, they are all over the boardwalk at turtle point. I think they’re gorgeous. they keep the unwanted bugs away. sure they look creepy but they make the most intricate webs. I have about 7 pictures, all of different banana spiders on the turtle point boardwalk. Do not bother them and they will not bother you.

  5. David Huie Green on September 18th, 2013 6:10 am

    It ain’t sporting unless you’re shooting from at least 200 yards away.

  6. NO Excuses on September 17th, 2013 7:09 pm

    To “I don’t know, is broken”,

    I’m with you. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. They are a nuisance because of where they place their webs, nothing more. They don’t need to be killed for that. We have several over our grape arbor and must remove at least part of the web to pick the grapes! However, I don’t kill them because they keep our insect population down.

  7. eu nao sei, esta quebrado on September 17th, 2013 6:39 pm

    Sure, lets eradicate all the spiders and snakes, let us get overrun with insects and rats. I’m all for it.

  8. Lisa on September 16th, 2013 10:28 pm

    They make good targets for shooting your pistol, good spiders & snakes are dead ones.

  9. Jim Stanton on September 16th, 2013 7:53 pm

    I’ve actually seen fewer of these spiders this year than in years before, only one here at the house and one on my camper so far this year. Normally they are all around both by now, I usually just leave them around the camper especially the ones on the door, it might keep someone from trying to get in when I’m not there. Several years ago on the way to my tree stand well before daylight during bow season I walked into one of these webs that was wet with dew, I’m not sure if the wet web in the face, or the wet spider that was apparently asleep and fell down my collar and went to running around on my back was worse.

  10. jcellops on September 16th, 2013 7:15 pm

    my exhub was running around the farm, through the woods, on his 4 wheeler at nite….he got a big ole spider/web right in the face…..i wasnt there, but..i bet he screamed…..still cracks me up!

  11. MicheleG on September 16th, 2013 6:43 pm

    September to October is their mating time. You will see lots now. Watch the power lines in the mornings. They love to stretch between those too!

  12. Wharf Rat on September 16th, 2013 5:16 pm

    There are good spiders and snakes that benefit mankind. You need to know the difference. Find one of the golden orb webs drenched with dew and the sun behind it, and it will make an interesting photograph.

  13. Front St on September 16th, 2013 2:42 pm

    I know they will not hurt me but dang I have to keep a stick on my lawnmower to knock them down so I won’t run into them. They surely make me shiver all over at just the thought of them on me.

  14. David Huie Green on September 16th, 2013 12:21 pm

    I like my spiders and their golden webbing

  15. Sue B on September 16th, 2013 10:08 am

    We have one that has been undisturbed for a bit and the gold webbing is amazing. I was shocked to find this big one but so fascinated that we left it alone for the time being. She will have to move soon.

  16. Melody on September 16th, 2013 9:44 am

    I remember going to an Aunt’s house in Nokomis, Fl when I was a little girl. There was at least one these spiders on the corner of her porch every time we would visit her home. I can remember her teaching me that the “Banana Spider” was a good spider that it ate insects. To me, a little girl – I can remember thinking this thing could eat your house it is so big

  17. sniper on September 16th, 2013 8:36 am

    I wish their prey of choice were love-bugs. They would triple in size.

  18. Chris C. on September 16th, 2013 8:07 am

    True “banana spiders” are Brazilian wandering spiders and are extremely venomous. You don’t find these in the U.S. The Golden Orb Weavers are not dangerous at all. Folks, please don’t kill every spider you see!

  19. Native 1950 on September 16th, 2013 8:07 am

    We have lots of these every September on the nature trail down in our woods. Just wish these little guys would prey on the love bugs around here!!

  20. MolinoMomma on September 16th, 2013 7:59 am

    Happy to hear that they are not dangerous but eeewwwww!!!!

  21. Dennis HE Wiggins on September 16th, 2013 7:39 am

    I have a huge problem with mosquitoes around my house. If these fellas will help with that, they are MORE than welcome!

  22. mommymoye3 on September 16th, 2013 7:30 am

    Same here!! They seem to be everywhere. Walk into a spider web after seeing some of these guys and you’ll freak out for sure! They are huge!

  23. Anastasia on September 16th, 2013 7:24 am

    I have walked the same trail where I live for 3 years and never noticed the spiders before until day before yesterday. You couldn’t help but notice them. They are very interesting creatures indeed.

  24. Janet on September 16th, 2013 6:15 am

    I have one now by one corner of the house, Very unique web.. down the center it looks as if a it used a zig zag pattern. I also have two more at the back of my house under the eaves but they have much more red near their bodies. It’s a shock to look up to find it hanging there!

  25. Don on September 16th, 2013 6:10 am

    A couple of years past I was on my riding mower,did’nt see the web in time to turn and caught it all in my face,spider included! I screamed like that guy in the home alone movie with the tarantula haha….

  26. JD on September 16th, 2013 3:19 am

    I’ve tried to kill the large banana spider in my backyard. I thought it was dead but apparently not… It’s back and has an even larger web. So it’s time to start a war with this dang spider. I definitely don’t like them.

  27. fnb on September 16th, 2013 1:47 am

    You are not kidding! I have literally dozens of them in and around my yard!

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