What is it?
Orb weaver spiders spin the classic circular webs that most people are familiar with. The largest species around here and therefore the ones that attract the most attention include the shamrock spider (Araneus trifolium) and the jewel spider (Araneus gemmoides).
The females can measure up to 20 mm (three quarters of an inch) long and have thick, hairy legs ringed with black. The shamrock spider has a large round abdomen, whereas the jewel spider has a couple of large bumps on the abdomen behind the head.
What's the problem?
Late in the summer, people are sometimes concerned or even afraid if they encounter one these relatively large spiders, especially if they have built their web during the night on the porch or near a doorway.
What can I do?
These spiders are not poisonous to humans and are beneficial as they feed on a wide variety of flying insects in the yard. Control of these harmless creatures is not necessary.
If a web interferes with an entryway, you may want to use a broom or a strong stream of water from the garden hose to remove it. You can also use a jar to relocate "Charlotte" to another area of the yard.