This harmless species (aka the Black and Yellow Garden Spider, Banana Spider or Corn Spider) has a geographic range encompassing southern Canada, the lower 48 states, Mexico and central America.
Females build their webs, averaging 2’ in diameter, in heavily vegetated areas. This species breeds once a year. The smaller males search for females, building a small web near or inside the female’s web, courting females by plucking strands on their webs. After mating the male dies, and is sometimes eaten by the female.
Brown egg sacs are often suspended on her web. Each spider produces from one to four sacs with up to a thousand eggs inside each. She guards the eggs, becoming frail, and eventually dying around the time of the first hard frost.
In the spring the barely visible spiders exit the sac. Some remain, while others exude a strand of silk that carries them away to other areas.