Have you seen this big, scary, nasty looking spider found in Minnesota called a marbled orbweaver? Some (not entomologists) call them pumpkin spiders. Extension Educator in Rice and Steele County Claire LaCanne said she has been getting calls and some pictures with people asking what they are and if they are as scary as they look? They are very large compared to the typical spiders we find in Minnesota.

Claire who is an entomologist (bug geek) said these scary nasty looking spiders are actually "good guys" if an insect can be good? They do not harm people, they eat other insects and it is rare to find them in your house or indoors. I have never seen one, I would remember seeing a spider this big and ugly. You may see them in their large webs in trees, shrubs and grassy areas. If they fall to the ground they do not move very fast either.

Image Credit: University of Minnesota Extension Office
Image Credit: University of Minnesota Extension Office

They are quite large for a Minnesota spider as they can be up to 3/4 of an inch long. They have a large orange abdomen but it can also be pale yellow or beige colored too. Okay, so now I have three bugs that I like. My favorite beneficial bug is the lady bug because they eat soybean aphids. Thanks to lady bugs maybe I do not have to spray an insecticide on my beans to control soybean aphids. Because I like to eat, I do like the pollinators but I try and avoid them. When I get stung it is a trip to the emergency room or urgent care as I am allergic to them.

Plus, as long as the marbled orbweaver (pumpkin spider) eats other insects, does not damage my crops, leaves me alone, and does not try and get indoors it is now one of my favorite bugs too!

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