Q: Recently I've seen a lot of spider webs spanning my garden paths and patio, and even across my driveway. Should I worry? A:
If the occupant is mottled brownish, with a body about 1/2" long, and sits in the middle with its legs drawn up (less of a target for its predators) it is most likely a common orb weaver (Neoscana oxacensis
). These spiders will rush to the edge of the web if you disturb it to get away from you. They could bite if you provoke them and don't let them retreat, but they are not dangerous like black widows. Most eat the web each day and spin a new one so the webs usually are pretty debris-free. These, like all spiders, help to keep down the number of insect pests and, since common orb weavers are only present in the garden fom late summer to fall, I usually leave them alone if at all possible and just walk around them.