Thursday, March 20, 2014

cobweb spider ~ 03/20/14 ~ at home

A couple years ago in October, a friend expressed disgust at the amount of cobwebs around our front door.  He even offered to clean the stairwell for me.  I told him to leave it alone, because I was letting nature do my decorating for Halloween.  Ha!  Truth be told, I'm a lazy housekeeper. Then, last spring when dead crane flies and moths* were accumulating at an excessive rate, I finally did the deed and attacked everything with a broom, vacuum, and a rag.  Quick and dirty. I discovered that a big broom is ineffective against the nickel-sized tan egg sacs that are almost always laid against a corner or crevice.  Bugger.  The spiders dropped and fled for their lives. 

So, I've been watching her up by the porch light the past few months.  I started worrying that she might drop on my head.  Not likely, but still.  This year I decided it was time for Katie's Spider Relocation Program (KSRP) to kick into gear.  I armed myself with an old sock, an old toothbrush, a wide-mouth jar, and a magazine paper advert.  Because of her sticky cobweb, it was really hard to catch her.  I may have accidentally dented her abdomen.  Phooey. Hand-in-sock and the toothbrush worked wonders with removing webbing and those stubborn egg sacs.  She, her eggs, and a smaller male companion are now spending the rest of their days in the neighboring park.

For blogging purposes, I had hoped this was the false black widow (Steatoda grossa).  I can't be sure.  None of my pictures clearly show the markings on the front part of her abdomen.  It looks like there might be a lighter colored stripe that curves around, but it's hard to tell.  I'm satisfied only going to family for ID.  Sonja had me use the a Golden Guide Spiders and Their Kin when I fielded spider ID calls at the museum.  I have the older green cover 1990 edition, and it's still pretty handy if you're not fussed about getting exact species. 


biobabbler said...

Nice. I would like to state for the record than any time I really clear out cobwebs I am subsequently INVADED BY ANTS. Therefore, I am disinclined to clear them out. I'd MUCH rather have cobwebs than ants.

A geologist friend suggested I get the Golden Guide to geology. He said every professional geologist ALWAYS has that in their field gear. SUPER cool to know. =)

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Interesting, bb. Although, our house ant problem preceded any cobweb clearing on my part. For us, rain is more of an indicator of an invasion.

Some of those Golden Guides were great. I also love the Butterflies and Moths one, and I keep a larger hard copy that's 50 years old.