20 Aug 2011

Saturday Snap: Tangled Web Woven

Spider web copy
Arachnophobia?  Luckily, not something that affects me - and you have my heartfelt sympathies at this time of year if you really don't like spiders.  This past week, the weather has felt more than a little autumnal and the effects of this on the arachnid population have been seen both indoors and out in my home: I've been releasing spiders back into the wild (aka my balcony) and spotting delicate webs appearing overnight. Spiders are seen most often in September or October in Europe; this little lady (the females are bigger than the males) had spun a large beautiful web on my balcony herbs one morning, so perhaps she could feel the summer's end already. (Although, please, let's be wrong about that!)

It was quite hard to see the fine, sticky threads of the web but I wanted to clearly show the spider and her web to a fascinated but very young visitor - without small pointing fingers wreaking havoc.  Here's how I did it:  I fetched my tea-strainer and a tiny spoonful of flour, then gently sprinkled a dust cloud of flour over the web.  This won't harm the spider - in fact, she didn't even move - but the web and its tiny insect-catching threads can then be clearly seen. (If you have a fine spray bottle, a light misting of water would also work.)

This spider, I think, is an Orb-Weaver and very common in the UK garden. The web is spun in the morning; any insects caught in it are either eaten straightaway or devoured when the web is eaten at suppertime. The next day the process starts again - sort of Groundhog Day, spider style.

9 comments:

  1. Great photo Caro - haven't seen any myself yet but when I do I will try your little trick.

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  2. Lovely photo, my wife's scared of spiders so I'm forever transferring them from house to garden.

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  3. Love the idea of groundhog day for spiders... Not seen many in our garden yet, I always hate to disturb them, so once they web across chairs or between chairs and walls, I can be seen taking very strange routes around my garden! I figure they deserve a little consideration given how hard the work on those webs.

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  4. I don't generally mind them, and I find their webs fascinting. I try to leave both alone if I can. Flighty xx

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  5. Elaine, glad you enjoyed it! It's a neat trick if only to remind yourself where they are!

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  6. Damo, after a few years living in the Yorkshire countryside it was a phobia I rapidly outgrew! But don't get me started on earwigs ... !

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  7. Hi Janet, I'm the same! I'll also swerve around spider webs to preserve their hard work and usually remember where they are; it's the kids who cannonball through them so it's a good way to introduce respect for nature.

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  8. Flighty, I agree - the webs are endlessly fascinating and beautiful and, after all that hard work, definitely best left alone (if possible!) x

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Caro x

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