Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Invasion of the Orb Weaver(s)

Last Thursday morning I was busy finishing packing for a weekend getaway. All excited and ready to escape for several days. I opened the back door to start loading my car and was greeted by a new resident in my back yard. Not just in my back yard but on my door frame.
Very startled to discover a female Golden Orb Weaver had taken up residence over the night - it took a moment to register and then I was off to get my camera. My motion detector and awning over the door makes for the perfect home for spiders. But, generally much smaller ones.I made a phone call and put in a request for her to be moved to a nicer more suitable home before I returned from my trip. So, the next day Ms. Orb Weaver was relocated to a flowerbed portion of my yard. Someplace she could still dine on the insects of my yard but not pose the opportunity to fall on me as I come and go.
Before returning from my trip I heard that this stubborn creature had made the journey back to my door frame and resumed her original spot.
Then, I heard she brought along a friend.
So, when I returned home I was greeted by a doorway that looked like it belonged to an abandoned home. I was only gone for 5 days!
Ms. Orb Weaver can be seen in the top right corner and her teensy bit smaller friend can be seen towards the bottom left of the picture.
So, instead of unloading my car after a long exhausting airport day and flight and drive home - I am at my back door photographing spiders that are blocking the easiest path back into my home.
When I start taking photos I notice Ms. Orb Weaver is not alone. She has a potential mate in her web. I watched these two flirt and court for a bit all the while waiting to see if he was going to become her next dinner. I had read that after mating an orb weaver may kill her mate.

Notice the cool zig zag pattern in the web. These Golden Orb Weavers are known for that from what I read.
This is a closer view of the 2nd Orb Weaver that showed up. All lonely in her web.
So, tonight I return home to just the two female weavers. Male either escaped or suffered a sad end. I took some more pictures as I reviewed my spider relocation plan.

Obviously the flowerbed hadn't been far enough away. But I really didn't want to walk down the street to the creek with all the neighbors wondering what I was letting loose out of my box. Plus, I wasn't sure I could catch and contain both of them in one box and didn't want to make the trip twice.
I used a box lid to carefully swipe the web and spider off the door - going for the smaller spider first - and moved her to the far corner of my yard by a tree. She stayed still in the box until she felt the box start to tip - then she spun a web and floated down to the ground. From there (don't know how) I lost her. So no pics of her relocation.
I went back for Ms. Orb Weaver. The larger and more formidable of the two.
Even though the tree is huge with some pretty ivy growing on it - she wasn't too fond of the idea of getting off the box. It took some coaxing to get her off the box lid.
After a bit of nudging she was on the tree. Already shooting out webs. A perfect new home for her to raise her spider babies.
Now, I am really hoping not to wake up in the morning with one or both back on my doorframe. If I do - we'll be taking a spider roadtrip.