At the new barn in a corner where we recycle is a web.   It’s a place that’s dry, a bit dusty and gets no direct sunlight.

Apparently it’s the perfect spot for Argiope aurantia.

This is her.

SpideyonCenter

I know its a she because she’s a big gal and Argiope females are always big. (She’s over an inch, not counting her legs).

She is a common garden spider found along the Gulf coast and sometimes she’s called a yellow garden orb-weaver or a golden garden spider  or a golden orb-weaver or the writing spider, but I think her name is Helen.

She’s been making her web for about 2 months. She likes it where not much wind blows across her silvery threads. She must have picked a good spot because not only has she doubled in size since she took up residence, but she has also produced this:

WholeWebSeptember

Do you see it up in the far upper, right corner?

That’s her babies.

There are thousands of them in there. Well, at least hundreds.

She sits in the middle of her orb, almost 2 feet across now, her delicate, spidery legs poised and wary of any changes to the tension of her web.

I threw this in this weekend and look at what she did.

WrappingBug

See the gossamer swathing bands coming from her spinneret? Is that magical or what?

She ate the beetle, nothing left of it, in less than 5 minutes.

I’m going to give you some reports through the winter on Helen because I am happy she has chosen to become a resident of the farm.

She’s good for the place.

She eats a wide range of flying prey including flies, moths, beetles, wasps, and even mosquitoes.

But more than that, the legend is she writes. That’s why some call her the writing spider, that zigzag in the middle of her orb, it’s her ‘stabilimenta’. She can’t see very good, but she can feel a lot, and its the daytime she does her most, hanging upside down, in the middle of her stabilimenta, in the stifling heat, eating the bad bugs of my garden.

Welcome, Helen.