Garden Spider and Beetles

Garden spider
Our friend Barbara sends the following news:

For the past few weeks we’ve been in the asparagus patch daily, picking Japanese beetles off the plants.  At first, there were hundreds, but of late just a few or none.

At one point, this wonderful spider appeared with her web in the tops of the plants.  She wanted to catch the numerous beetles;  I guess she finds them tasty.

First she spent time adding a vague white design down the center of the web, and a few days later pulled this material into the lovely zig zag pattern you see below her.    Maybe bugs find that attractive?

When she caught a beetle, she wrapped it completely in her silk like a neat package, and these were placed on the web for future dinner …. we saw as many as four of these bug packages attached to the web — but once she was done with the meals, the bug-packages were cast off.

In this photo (it took many tries to get one in focus), she is eating her last package…she huddles over the bug bundle, sticks her jaw into the package, manipulates the package with her elegant long legs, and neatly seems to pull out the insides of the bug.

Such simple entertainment.  We’ve spent hours watching her patient progress.

Now I know why EB White spun that wonderful children’s tale about Charlotte. Maybe it is time to re-read that story?   Doesn’t she give Wilbur advice about life, and other good things? It’s a good thing we didn’t spray anything on the plants to kill the bugs — look what we got instead!

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