Posts Tagged: garden spider
Oh, what serious webs they weave.
Perfect concentric circles. Perfect for snagging prey. Perfect for capturing a few photographic images.
Orb weavers take on the classic shape popularized by Charlotte the spider in E.B. White's children's book, Charlotte's Web.
They rid the garden of many flying insects, such as gnats, mosquitoes, and moths.
Occasionally a honey bee becomes entangled in the web. The orb weavers are not particular in what they kill, wrap, and eat. It's part of the fabric of life.
This orb weaver (below) is a western spotted orb weaver, Neoscona oaxacensis, as identified by senior museum scientist Steve Heydon of the Bohart Museum of Entomology at the University of California, Davis. Notice the round abdomen and the spots.
If you want to see some other garden spiders, check out the UC IPM website. Also, access BugGuide.Net, where scientists and citizen scientists have posted some great images of these amazing western spotted orb weavers.
A western spotted orb weaver, Neoscona oaxacensis, finishing its web. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Western spotted orb weaver patrolling its web. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Note the round or globular abdomen on this western spotted orb weaver. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
When Paul McCartney of The Beatles wrote "Let It Be," released in 1970, he wasn't writing about honey bees.
No, he was actually recounting what his mother (who died when he was 14) told him in a dream. In real life, McCartney and his fellow musicians were clashing. In the dream, his mother soothed him: "It will be all right, just let it be."
But sometimes you just can't let it be.
We recently encountered an industrious honey bee nectaring catmint (Nepeta) in our yard. A gorgeous bee. Here she is buzzing from flower to flower, sipping nectar here, sipping nectar there, and then she makes a huge mistake: she buzzes right into the web of a cunning garden spider. As she struggles to free herself, the spider begins approaching her.
We captured the spider/honey bee scenario with our digital camera--four frames in one second--and then released her.
Not going to be a wrap today.
We let her "bee."
Honey bee is snared in the web of a garden spider. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Honey bee struggles to free herself. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The spider edges closer. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Just as the spider reaches her, the photographer frees the bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Mama said there'd be days like this,
There'd be days like this, Mama said...
When Van Morrison wrote the lyrics to "Days Like This," a song popularized by The Shirelles, he probably wasn't thinking of a mama garden spider or her prey.
Still, when Mama Spider weaves her web and snares three pollinators in two days, that's a "Wow." A double, triple "Wow!"
Garden spiders are good to have in the garden when they're capturing and eating pests, like flies, knats, mites, lygus bugs, katydids and the like. Just wish they'd quit picking on the pollinators.
Still, Mama has to eat.
Mama spider snares two in one web. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)