Garden Spiders

Loren's Field Notes

During the late summer and early fall, many of us in Southern California are lucky enough (my opinion anyway) to have large orb webs strung amongst our trees and on the eaves of our homes.

Orb weaver spiders, or garden spiders, are wonderful creatures; just ask Wilbur -- the pig from Charlotte’s Web.

The spider made famous in the children’s book makes it’s home in many parts of the world and does extremely well on the insects it finds in San Diego County.

One of my favorite tricks is to reach into the web and lift them out for children to see. They are completely harmless and will not bite, yet they are large and creepy looking.

They grow quickly as the days shorten and will ultimately die when the weather cools and after having produced an egg sack full of babies.

Orb weavers are beneficial in the garden as predators. They nab flying insects in their web, wrap their prey in silk and then consume the treat later.

Many orb weavers will anchor their web on the bottom using a eucalyptus leaf or small twig. Look around your garden for a dangling leaf or twig on a foggy morning and you’ll find the webs to be a work of art dripping in dew.

Author E.B. White’s Charlotte wrote "some pig" in her web…. I’m sure Wilbur would return the compliment.

Just watch them for a while in their web and soon you’ll announce…SOME SPIDER!

-- Loren