As you know, I got sideswiped by circumstances last May and it threw my whole summer. And now Fall has made itself known. I am not a fan of Fall on a good year and this is not a good year. It means Winter is coming. My least favorite of the seasons since it is one long season of torture for me. Constant, never-ending cold. On top of that I lost my summer. I am not yet ready for Fall. Anger and resistance abound. “Life” and Mother Nature do not care. They keep to their cycles and move forward with or without you.
It is now dark right after dinner. No more long after dinner work sessions outside. It is dark when the Husband leaves for work in the morning. According to www.almanac.com our day is now only 11 hours and 46 minutes long. And the leaves are beginning to turn. *Sigh*
If that were not enough, the bane of my fall window cleaning has shown herself. Neoscona Crucifera.
This is a picture from http://bugguide.net/node/view/28154/bgimage?from=24 a really cool website for identifying bugs of all kinds.
Normally when it comes to spiders, I am a live-and-let-live kinda person. I usually catch them and throw them outside when I find them in the house. I enjoy viewing their webs, which are masterpieces of construction. And they eat bugs. A very good thing. But every year I have complained about those damn spiders that show up every fall and hang around my windows. They can build huge webs up to 2 feet across. I didn’t want to be scrubbing away and get bitten. One year they were so bad I had my husband take the hose and go all around the house blasting them down. This year, however, will be different for me.
Yesterday, early evening, my husband called me outside. And showed me this:
There she was, between two electric lines coming into our house. The specks are bug remains.
I realized that I had never bothered to identify this spider. Or learn about it. Why, for example, did I only ever see this spider in the fall? And why on earth always around my windows?
Neoscona Crucifera is a Orbweaver who normally builds her web at night. Frequently she uses windows and porches as support for her web to take advantage of the bugs coming into the light. As morning approaches, she eats her web and any remaining bugs she has caught and then retreats to a place of safety so that she does not become a meal for someone else. Young Neoscona Cruciferas are a favorite of the Pipe Organ Wasp.
The spiderlings hatch in the spring after overwintering in the egg sac. Some make silk ‘balloons’ and float away. Many stay in the area near where they hatch. The spiders reach maturity in the middle to late summer. The males lose the ability to make webs and spend their time looking for mature females to mate with.
As fall approaches the females begin egg production. As you might guess, this requires an enormous amount of energy. The female must keep herself well fed. But with the approach of fall comes cooler nights and less nighttime bug activity. So the female spiders begin to leave their webs up during the daylight hours to catch the necessary amount of food. Which is why I only find them hanging out around my windows in the fall.
Also of interest is the fact that Neoscona Crucifera is not a danger to us humans. She would rather run or curl up in a ball than fight. And if I was stupid enough to poke my finger right up into her face and she did bite me, she isn’t poisonous to us humans. Oh, that isn’t to say getting bitten wouldn’t be painful. But she won’t send me to the hospital. I feel kinda bad now about blasting those ladies out of my windows. This year I’ll have more respect and less fear. Knowledge is a wonderful thing.
I had hoped for a better daylight picture, but she had eaten her web. That little bump is her waiting out the day. Her web tonight is glorious, but it wouldn’t show up in the camera flash. Maybe we’ll get lucky and it will still be there in the morning.