Friday, 2 September 2011

Nature's Own Pest Control?

While weeding the garden and harvesting tomatoes this morning, I came across a rather large spider who had spun a web across the top of my sweet potato leaves. It is the largest spider that I have come across in the garden this summer and it caught me by surprise.

I immediately grabbed my daughter's empty terranium and captured this large arachnid for further examination. I had noticed over the last couple of weeks that I have been running into spider webs in the garden that appear to be stronger and more fibrous than what I would normally experience.  I have left those spiders alone happy to know that they would be feasting on the little aphids that have been devouring my lettuce and other leafy vegetables.  My Bok Choy has been completely devoured by an insect that is barely visible to the naked eye.  Keep up the good work Mr./Ms. Spider!

I am not an expert in identifying spiders, nor am I particularly interested in taking the time to capture one for identification purposes - unless it is big and/or unusual.  I quickly researched the spider online - and I mean quickly!  It appears that this may be a Fishing Spider however, I am not 100% certain.  I am 100% sure that this interesting arachnid is going to remain outdoors and will not be brought into the house.

I am not afraid of insects or other "garden helpers" and have lovingly taught Ava.  My daughter is accustomed to handling earthworms, snails and caterpillars.  I do not want her to be squeamish around insects, but to appreciate them and the important role that they play in nature. 

I probably shouldn't repeat this but a few months ago, Ava came to me and was very proud of the "worm" that she had found in our pile of brown leaves from last Autumn.  Well, it wasn't a worm, it was a maggot.  I calmly encouraged her to part with her new friend and to return him to his work helping to turn the leaves into soil.  Whew!  Who said parenting was easy anyway?

                                                          Fishing Spider

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