Spiders are a great ally in controlling insect pests around the garden. They are however general predators – consuming both harmful insects as well as those that we consider beneficial such as honeybees, hoverflies, praying mantis and butterflies. Some spiders spin webs and others hunt, they are not seasonal predators as such, that turn up when a wave of pests such as aphids arrives but are more a constant means of year round pest control. In spring they are one of the first predators to meet the new wave of pests that accompanies the new growing season. Spiders are well-worth encouraging as they do interrupt the breeding cycles and reduce numbers of shield bugs, aphids, flies, moths, cabbage white butterflies, and wasps that pose issues for us as gardeners.
Avoid using chemical pest controls as they can wipe out an entire generation of spiders that can take some time to re-establish. Pests however will re-populate your garden far more quickly and you’ll have no allies around to help out. Biological pest control is all about patience, when the pests turn up the predators will not be far off.
Allow some parts of your garden to remain untidy. Spiders use tall plant stems, twigs, old boxes, broken pots and the like as places to spin their webs and as shelter.