I realize this doesn’t quite follow the waste not theme, but I couldn’t help but share! I work at a botanical garden (lucky, I know!) where I am surrounded by birds, butterflies, and blossoms on a daily basis, but today…today was a spider kind of day. While they may cause the hairs to stand on the back of your neck, the majority of spiders are quite harmless, beneficial even! Spiders are a sign of a healthy garden and if you can learn to identify and avoid the dangerous ones, you can live quite harmoniously with these little eight legged friends.
You probably recognize this one, the red hour glass is a dead give away. This is the Western Black Widow, and yes it is one of the dangerous ones. If bitten, the neurotoxins in their venom affect the nervous system causing some not-so-desirable complications. If you’re a healthy adult, a bite will not likely kill you. Phew. This black widow was hanging out right outside, we didn’t kill it and haven’t seen it since. So, it either went away or is hiding out under my desk waiting to strike at any moment (just kidding…i hope).
This spider is awesome. The Green Lynx Spider (even a cool name) is an extremely beneficial bug. A hunter who perches on flowers waiting to ambush its prey, the Green Lynx eliminates many garden pests, though sometimes it also hunts beneficials like this unlucky honeybee. Sorry honeybee. Bites from this spider are rare, non-toxic, but painful.
The two spiders you see above belong to the Orb-weaver Family, you can probably see why. This family includes Garden Spiders, those are what you see above. The first spider is the Black and Yellow Garden Spider and its friend below is the Banded Garden Spider. Garden Spiders mate once a year. To court the female, the male builds a small web near the females and plucks the strings of her web, always with a drop string ready just in case she decides to attack.
If you are searching for a spider in the picture above, don’t bother, you won’t find one. This is a beautiful Matilija Poppy, some relief from the creepy crawly but oh-so-cool spiders.
Sorry to stray from the waste not theme, but to be fair, I am sure spiders lead very sustainable lifestyles…
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“The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.” –William Blake