Arachnids are not categorised as insects mainly because they have eight legs instead of six (although mites do have a six-legged stage during their development). Most spiders are beneficial in the garden but some mites aren’t.


As with any beneficial critter, the message is to encourage them.

Don’t rip down webs for a start and don’t disturb spider egg cases. Egg cases are usually white, fuzzy balls of various sizes, depending on the spider species. Egg cases of Huntsman Spiders, for example, are marble-sized.

Incidentally, Australian Huntsman spiders are a diverse and relatively harmless group of spiders, with 13 genera and 94 described species. They are one of the most beneficial garden spiders, plus it’s good luck to have them in your house – at least that’s what my mother assures me!

Female Huntsman are protective of their eggsac (shown here) and will stand guard over it, without eating, for about three weeks until the spiderlings emerge. She will then stay with her brood for several weeks.

Huntsman spider bites usually result only in transient local pain and swelling. However, some Badge Huntsman spider bites have caused prolonged pain, inflammation, headache, vomiting and irregular pulse rate.

To encourage spiders minimise the use of insecticides and miticides. Heavily vegetated areas or hollow structures are good habitat for spiders. However, the most important thing gardeners can do to encourage them is not to kill them!

Spiders hatch as miniatures of their parents and grow by gradually molting their exoskeleton.

For home gardeners, avoiding spiders is often their goal. The solution is simple – wear gloves when gardening!