Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Banded Garden Spider

This is a Banded Garden Spider, or Argiope Trifasciata. It is related to the Black and Yellow Argiopes (Writing spiders) that I posted about HERE. Out of more than 30 of the argiopes that I've found in my yard, only two of them are this type. They are just as common as the black and yellow kind (just not in my yard), but I think the metallic silver on their backs makes them way cooler.

We're protecting (that means I told the kids to leave them alone) about half a dozen garden spider egg sacks. While I wouldn't want one crawling down my shirt, fearing and destroying them is irrational. They're great at pest control. I didn't have to spray for Japanese beetles this year because of them.

*On the butterfly front--The Black Swallowtails that we have been waiting for seem to have stalled out. It has been more than 3 weeks now. That means one of two things. Either this generation will overwinter and not emerge until spring, or we've had catastrophic caterpillar failure. Which would be very sad. I'm going to give them a few more days and then find cold storage for them, just in case.