The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Sunday, August 19, 2007

More Spiders and Weeds

Why can't the plants I buy at the garden center grow as easily as the weeds? OK – I know really – the weeds are native – so they are in a sense the perfect plant for the place where they are growing. Those "ditch daisies" I transplanted from the yard do very well – all over my backyard. They pop up in places I really don't want them – but I can't bring myself to pull them up or spray them. Finally I found a spray to take care of the wild blackberries that spring up any and every place. I was so happy! I spent the better part of the hottest day spraying them and any other weed in the yard. Guess what? The only things looking "ill" are the blackberries. All the other weeds are just as perky and healthy looking as they were when the daily temperature was 100+. I don't want to pull them up – especially where I see those huge spiders. Today I will mix up some Round Up (the regular kind) and spray the weeds in the pea gravel path. I will leave the weeds in my flower bed (only one is really very weedy) alone until those spiders are gone….frost anyone?

The green lynx spider has moved on to another perch. Daylily blooms don't last long – so I imagine she stays on the move. The writing spider is still in her same place – in fact I found two more near her (and another that looks slightly different and smaller – I think it is the male). In my Google search for the proper name of this spider (Black & Yellow Argiope or Argiope aurantia) I found photos of the egg sacs. I have two of these! The egg sacs were found objects in the yard – I kept them. One of them had "hatched" and the other never did. When you shake the unopened one it has a maraca sound. The two I assume are the egg sacs of the black & yellow argiope are oblong in shape. I have another that is completely round. This, too, must be the egg sac of some type of spider – maybe the green lynx? The photos I took of the green lynx (Peucetia viridans) the other day are nice – but I haven't taken one of the black & yellow argiope that I am happy with yet. Since this is the writing spider – I will call the larger one (my main subject) "Charlotte." Later today I will photograph Charlotte and hopefully get something I like.

It has been a while since I went on a black widow (Latrodectus mactans) hunt. When we lived in California the newspaper printed information on how to find them – to know they were around your home. After reading it in the paper – I scoured the patio and found three! Now, I leave the garden spiders alone – but black widows…. Well, they either end up in a jar of alcohol or sprayed. I don't like to leave them when I find them. One of the best ways to find a black widow is to find the web first. They make a very messy web – very messy. You know how you can look at a spider web and think it is pretty? You would never say that about a black widow's web. Along with being messy, the web material is very strong. Find a stick (a long one) and let it tangle with the web. You will be able to feel the strength of the black widow web. Once you find this messy, strong web – you know you have a black widow some where. They like dark places and small places. More than likely they are hiding in the dark, small space while you are tugging on the web. If you don't see the spider – spray around anyway. If you see it – you can be 100% sure it is a black widow. This spider is so black and shiny – it looks lacquered. If you get a chance to spot the under side, you will see the tell-tale red hourglass.

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