A SEASON OF ORBS

It’s Orb season.

Every year in late summer

Orb spiders begin to build their itricate webs.

This year 2 came to the garden in early August.

Signature zig zag woven into an Orb spider's web

Then a third one appeared by the breakfast room window.

Number four built a mansion of a web in the hydrangea bushes in the front yard.

Then last weekend John discovered number 5 in the boxwood outside the den window.

We have spent hours watching the spider in the front yard.

I’m sure people walking through the neighborhood are beginning to wonder about our sanity.

John loves feeding them. 

At first he would just catch a small moth and toss it into the sticky web.

Dinner!

Now he seeks out food for them

Moths big and little – dead crickets from the garage

Since some things seem to stick better than others

He’s developed a technique of making sure dinner stays put.

Tweezers – who knew?

Once “dinner” has flown into or been placed on the web the Orb will move to it

and begin to spin a cocoon around its victim.

 

This happens with great speed.

After the cocoon is spun and the “meal” is stabilized the Orb begins to eat.

She usually begins with the head.

Now…Orb spiders are no small thing.

The big one in the front is about 3″ – 4 ” long.

Yet it moves with lightening speed and accuracy.

Because we are spending so much time in the front we have shared our fascination with anyone walking by.

Which seems to be mostly mothers and young daughters.

First came Torry, Cassidy and Sloan.

No fear of giant spiders here.

Cassidy caught a bug and placed it on the web – twice.

Cassidy fixing dinner

Mom’s not afraid – why should I be.

Next came Michaela and Bridget on their way to school one morning.

Had no idea these California girls were so into spiders.

But not everyone.

By Saturday when Jessica and Madeline strolled by we could tell they were polite

But squeamish.

Giant spiders aren’t for everyone and that’s OK.

I’ve done a little research on these creatures.

They don’t bite unless aggravated

Their bite hurts but is not life threatening.

They have a life span of one year

The female is the big one

The male is only 1/2 inch long.

You can see them both in this picture that Debra took when she came to visit this week.

The female will lay one or more egg sacs and encase them in the same thread material as their food.

Each egg sack can contain between 300 and 1400 eggs,

She attaches her egg sacs to one side of her web

Close to her in the center of the web.

She will watch her eggs until the first hard freeze

When she will die.

Around here the hatchling spiders will remain dormant in the egg sacs till spring.

When like many things the cycle begins again.

They like to make their homes among flowers, shrubs and tall plants.

Which makes them lovers of Hydrangea.

I have taken endless pictures of these busy creatures.

Spiders, John, Elliott and neighbors.

It is nature in a pure form

Well, except for the part where we catch the bugs.

Watching these intricate sticky webs.

So strong that they withstand wind and rain and stupid human tricks

Knowing that they work hard to create the next generation.

And make the world a safe place.

We all have something in common

We share the same space

What an amazing space this is.

Take care,

Gail

P.S. And just when I think I’ve taken the last picture – last night’s dinner was a DRAGON FLY!!!

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Filed under Fall, Gardening Friends, Gloriosa Daisy - Rudbeckia, Hydrangea, late summer garden, Orb Spider, Perennials, Uncategorized

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