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.