This type of spider is commonly found in gardens, orchards, forest edges, old fields, and farms. An annual species, males die not too long after mating and females usually die off towards the end of the fall, or early winter. Females typically lay 3 or 4 egg sacs, roughly 7-15 days apart. Each sac can contain 400 to 1,200 yellowish eggs, sometimes even more. Spiderlings hatch within the egg sac in late autumn and overwinter inside the protective, insulated sac, emerging the following spring.
These spiders are beneficial to our environment because they eat so many insects. They are generally harmless to humans, but will bite if provoked. Supposedly their bite is much like a bee sting. But...after learning that *one* of spidey's egg sacs may contain up to 1,200 baby spider eggs, I'm not too keen on that thought! We may need to explore relocation.
This photo was taken only minutes after Ange placed a grasshopper in the spider's web.
Spider into from: http://www.spiders.us/species/filter/wisconsin/