Sunday, May 11, 2008

Well Hellooooo there Spider!

As I was out in the garden this morning surveying the damage from last night's hail storm I noticed a leaf on my eggplant that was not entirely unfurled. Being the good plant Samaritan that I am I reached down to presumably unstick the part of the leaf that was stuck.

It offered a lot more resistance than I had expected so I gave it a harder tug. As the leaf opened I was greeted with the horror pictured below.

I bout nearly had to change my britches. I jumped back about 20 ft and after my racing heart slowed down its machine gun patter I slowly approached the plant again. Very slowly.

Still there. Better call in back up. Or go in for a while and recover from that nasty shock. It has an eggsack...ICK!

Later on when my husband and daughter were outside I called them over to witness the monster living on the eggplant leaf. My daughter squatted down beside me and as she was looking at the spider part of a tall onion brushed up against her elbow. She bout came out of her skin. I, of course, fell about howling. It is always so funny when that happens to someone else.

I decided to send her in for the camera so I could get a picture. We decided that the spider should be rearranged for a better photo op. Bell suggested we poke it with a stick. I said, "OK." She picks up a piece of pine straw and says, "Here Mom." I said, "Shiiiiiiiittt........Kid, you are gonna need a much bigger stick than that...hell go get me the chainsaw."

We were both too scared to prod the massive monster too much. Those creatures can move much faster than the eye can see....or at least much faster than my considerable ass can move away from it. We had to be content with a partial monster shot.

And, why are we so scared of spiders? How can something so small make a grown person act like a complete fool? I mean, I outweigh this one by .....god knows how much. Could easily squish it, or drop something on it or spray it with a chemical....but the first thing I want to do when I see one is get the hell away from it FAST! In fact, I am much more likely to perish from a broken neck trying to get away from a spider than from an actual spider bite. That makes them doubly dangerous.


Don said...

Several times I’ve discovered Black Widow spiders while gathering crops like bush butterbeans. Just yesterday I picked up a small article that I use to cover the plastic caps on the ends of my soaker hoses and found one under it. Hornet and wasp spray usually will kill the suckers.

Speaking of insects in gardens, are you seeing any honey bees? I seldom see one any longer and the garden used to be full of them until a couple of years ago.

Loretta Nall said...

Black Widows!!! YIKES!!
I have seen a few around here too. They are always promptly squished.

I think the one currently residing on my eggplant is some variation of the regular garden spider, which I don't kill because they eat bugs that eat my plants. That is the only thing that saved her.

As for honeybees ....some weird virus or bacteria is killing them all. It makes adult honeybees abandon their hives. We are near crisis level because farmers depend on them for pollination. It is a HUGE problem across the US. I saw a showlast week that said their numbers had declined 30% since last year.

KentAllard said...

As someone who narrowly survived an unprovoked attack from a giant spider
, you have my sympathy.

Loretta Nall said...

I knew you would be able to relate Kent.

KentAllard said...

By the way, although it's hard to tell from the photos, what you've got there seems to be a species of Thomisidae, usually called a "Crab spider". They won't hurt you (unless you pick them up and squeeze them - but why would you do that?) and eat mostly bugs that would harm the garden. They will occasionally eat a bee, but since we don't have many left in Alabama, probably not a problem.

Loretta Nall said...

The number of emails and responses I have gotten from readers concerned with the spiders well being is pretty amazing.

Its like PETA only with Spiders inserted where animals would be :)

NOTE TO ALL: I did not harm the spider. I did some research earlier and came to the same conclusion as Kent. It is a variation of garden spider, ugly as hell and twice as scary, but harmless, unless you are a juicy bug trying to eat my eggplant.

This spider is welcome in my garden as long as she long as she doesn't sneak up on me. In the event I look down and she is crawling on me I make no promises as to her continued well being.