The golden silk spider (also called banana spider, golden orb weaver) is so named not for the color of its body but for the color of its web.
The golden silk spider (also called banana spider, golden orb weaver) is so named not for the color of its body but for the color of its web. The female is orange and brown and, at three inches long, up to six times the size of the male. The legs have hairy tufts. The males are brown and one-half inch long and are generally not noticed until they appear on the female's web during mating season. Sometimes several males will be seen on the same web.
This spider is common in many parts of the Southeast, from North Carolina to Florida, west along the Gulf states and into Texas. There is usually one generation each year. The males typically appear in midsummer to early fall. In the fall the females produce at least two egg sacs containing hundreds of eggs. The larger the spider, the more eggs and egg sacs she creates. Each bundle of eggs is woven into a golden basket.
Small- to mid-sized flying insects are this spider's typical prey. Webs are found in woodlands, along forest edges, in orchards and in backyards. Unlike many other spiders who spin webs repeatedly, the golden silk spider's web is more or less semi-permanent; the spider doesn't spin a new one until the old one can no longer be repaired.
The golden silk spider are considered harmless. They don't bite unless they're physically threatened, and even then, the bite is mild — much less painful than a bee sting.