The Big Yellow Garden Spider, a Beneficial Spider
Argiope aurantia - the yellow garden spider
Yellow garden spider food.
The distinctive web of a yellow garden spider
My friends, the yellow garden spiders
The largest spiders I have ever seen were all these large, mostly yellow and black garden spiders. I've never actually seen one in a garden, but a garden perimeter would be an excellent place for these spiders to be. It might be a good idea, actually, to encourage them along your garden fence. These spiders absolutely have their place alongside we human folk and our gardens. Very beneficial these spiders are to us. Oh I know you may not be so fond of the idea of having them for neighbors, but should you be so kind as to give a yellow garden spider a chance to coexist with you, you will learn to appreciate them. Me? I feed them. I see them grow, and grow, and grow.
Try talking sweet to these spiders. Courtesy goes a long way with you, does it not? Why would the spiders be any different? Six more legs and web spinning, and suddenly two legged folk think a thing a monster. Enough of that. Me, I feed the spiders. We get far too damn many of the stupid differential grasshoppers around here for anyone's well-being, and should the hop-grazers be so impudent as to land on your arm, then you've got a better place for them to go then, don't you. Into the web now, isn't it? I say it is, eh, and you should too. I'm for seeing who can grow the biggest pet garden spider. I'd advertise my giant spider as grasshopper fed, all natural, purely organic.
Sometimes in the Texas summers the differential grasshoppers are so damned ubiquitous it would seem as though father Moses had plagued us with them on behalf of the one sovereign God. The only respite from said plague is the feeding of said yellow garden spiders on the silly grasshoppers. One summer a great yellow garden spider spun a web on the back porch, and into it I stuck the grasshoppers who most offended me. The spider grew and it grew, come fall the thing was so very large that my father became offended, shot it with a four ten shotgun, he did. I grieved for months.
The large yellow garden spiders are hardly unique to Texas, they inhabit all of the USA, Canada, Mexico, and central America. These spiders are known by many names depending upon location. The yellow garden spiders should never be killed by humans. These spiders feed upon many more pests than just the grasshoppers, they eat flies, fleas, wasps, mosquitoes, and aphids. You can't bloody well complain about a mosquito bite or worry on about mosquito born illnesses if you've killed the yellow garden spiders who the creator gave you specifically to protect you from such.
Yellow garden spiders are venomous but docile
Yellow garden spiders are, in fact, venomous
Yellow garden spiders are venomous. These spiders have absolutely no interest in biting you, or anyone you know. You'd have to make the spider feel threatened in order for it to bite you. Why would anyone threaten a spider who's life is all about ridding you of pests? I suspect an unruly and poorly minded child may be the only sort to cause the yellow garden spider such distress that it would bite. Should the parent be educated on the value and peaceful disposition of these spiders, then the parent to child knowledge should prevent any spider bites.
Should an actual spider bite from a yellow garden spider occur, then it isn't something to worry much about. It is reported the spider's reluctant bite is about as painful as a wasp sting, and no doubt, the sting of a red wasp or a yellow jacket is painful; these wasp or spider bites, however, are nothing serious outside of an allergic condition. Simply avoid irritating these fine and beneficial spiders, and you won't be bothered. There are many video examples of persons handling these docile spiders without fear or bad result, and you can certainly verify what I say.
The yellow garden spider's amazing spider web
Yellow garden spider webs
Female yellow garden spiders grow larger than the males, and this isn't unique to this spider species, but is common with spiders in general. The females are also homesteaders, that is to say they tend to live their happy lives in the same place. The will not leave their webs without good cause. Those webs of theirs do a fine job of catching flying insects, and of course, you are welcome to stick a cricket or grasshopper, or other offending insects in the web for her. It's a two way street, is it not? She's ridding you of nasty things, and you should probably display some appreciation from time to time.
The spider's webs can be three foot across, or more. The spider will live in the center of this web, and the center of the web is the sturdiest part of it. Note the zig zag pattern at center, while the exact purpose of this isn't clearly understood, the common notion is that it serves to warn off birds from flying into the web, damaging it, and ruining our friend the yellow garden spider's blessed day. Not sure the spider could eat a bird were one to get stuck, but then again, the bird was adequately warned via the design.
Yellow garden spiders, besides being beneficial to humanity, friendly, and all around good members of the community, are also conscientious about their webs. Webs are repaired daily. These spiders seem to have some sort of neighborhood association codes they follow religiously. Compared to the ugly, disorganized, and altogether shoddy webs of black widows, the yellow garden spider's web may as well be a mansion.
Beautiful yellow garden spiderlings.
Yellow garden spider reproduction
Sex is deadly for male yellow garden spiders. They always die after mating, and sometimes they are eaten by the larger female. This isn't particularly sad, as the male always dies after mating to begin with. They give their all for the furthering of their line. Very noble fellas, they are, but they are also rather cautious. The males initiate the seduction by literally intruding into the female's web home, building their own webs within the females web. The males then approach cautiously, all the while having an emergency escape silk drop line prepared should the female attack rather than mate with them. I find this to be sound thinking on the part of male yellow garden spiders, and well, I'm going to incorporate something similar in my own endeavors. These spiders only breed once a year, and for obvious reasons, were it more frequent the lives of the males would be shorter.
Mother cares for her spider eggs, guarding against threats, for as long as she can. Around the time of the first freeze of the year following the summer, mother spider dies. In spring the spiderlings hatch from their eggs, and set out on their, hopefully, year long lives of service to both themselves and humanity. Quite noble are these spiders, and I hope I've relayed that message here for you today. Friends, I hope you'll learn to appreciate these spiders, and much else besides in this natural world of wonders. Thanks for reading.
© 2016 Wesman Todd Shaw