Thank you for a different look at these much-maligned beneficials. I have had a barn spider (orb weaver) build in front of my porch light each summer for the last 3 years; all named after the wicked woman from the Lonesome Dove series (Elmira I, Elmira II, etc.) She is absolutely fascinating to watch and has had at least one egg bundle each year. I like to think all the Elmiras are related.
I agree that spiders deserve respect. Many are afraid of spiders; esp. my mom who has been bitten by a brown recluse and a black widow. I love this time of year because the friendly beneficial spiders are out. I work in a skyrise and 3 spiders have decorated my window with their webs. I'm really enjoying the view! My yard is covered in the funnel spiders right now. I almost hate to mow the grass. I'm glad that so many others appreciate our web weaving friends who keep the insect world in check. My spiders are all named Charlotte. Salutations!
Thank you greenbrain! I shudder to think where our world would be without spiders. They are truly a marvel. I'm sorry your mom has had run-ins with the more poisonous ones. Even those spiders usually won't bite unless provoked, frightened, etc., which is what most people don't understand. They won't just jump on you for the sake of biting you...unless you're a tasty fly, of course. :)
Just a couple of days ago I removed a bazillion baby spiders from our basement--their empty egg case was hanging on a storage rack, and they were all congregated on a network of webbing. I took a couple of branches and scooped them all (well, most) up on them and laid the branches down outside in the woods. I have 'rescued' many spiders from the bottom of my mother's shoe. Since we live in the middle of the woods, there are always wayward souls who find their way into the house.
I like seeing the nursing spiders carrying their egg cases. You have to wonder how they don't lose them.
We also have some enormous wolf spiders, and it's always fascinating to see the Moms with all those babies hitching a ride...it must take incredible patience to be a spider Mom!
Thanks for the interesting article!
Nice to hear from TN & KY folk. My parents relocated from Weakley Co., TN to the St. Louis metro IL area; where I was born & raised; in the early 50s. My mom says that she was glad to get away from all the spiders and snakes! (My mom recently called me upset because she discovered a black snake living under her steps.) The doctor told my mom that something in her body chemistry attracts spiders. She was bitten in her car while driving & in bed while sleeping. I like the idea of relocating the spiders. I already do that with wasps when they find their way into the house. I just won't relocate them near my mom's home. LOL
Since I began gardening, I've become downright fond of spiders (I'm even kind to the ones that give me the creeps, like wolf spiders). A few weeks ago, I was standing in a restaurant lobby when I discovered a spider sitting on my chest - I must've walked smack into his web and not noticed. I brushed him off and was about to scoop him up to take him back outside when this man squished him, thinking he was doing me a favor. I was so mad!
This article also reminded me of a Neil Gaiman novel called "Anansi Boys" - one of the central characters is (obviously) Anansi, the story-telling trickster spider god:
"Spider venom comes in many forms. It can often take a long while to discover the full effects of a bite. Naturalists have pondered this for years: there are spiders whose bite can cause the place bitten to rot and die, sometimes more than a year after it was bitten. As to why spiders do this, the answer is simple. It's because spiders think this is funny, and they don't want you ever to forget them."
-Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman