That’s what I call gardening!

We have a small nature garden in our backyard — lots of local plants and flowers, all growing wild and untended, and it’s full of flowers…and bees. Step out there, and it’s just buzzing nonstop. This was all Mary’s idea, and she did all the planting.

It was missing something, though. Yesterday we went out to a local grassy field and collected some new specimens. Warning: you can guess, given my participation, what the new residents are.

We just transplanted two of them yesterday, and already we’ve got big gorgeous webs in the backyard.

Argiope loves bees. I was watching them for a bit this morning, and they’ve already caught some flies, and I saw two bumblebees bumble into the web and bumble frantically right out again. Boy, one thing that will stir up those spiders is a big fat bumblebee on the line.


  1. MattP (must mock his crappy brain) says

    I have some plain stainless steel wire strung on posts around a small flower/cactus bed and it is covered in Argiope. There are well over a dozen in communal webs strung in the corners of the ~15’x12’x12′ triangle beside the driveway munching mostly on smaller things like mosquitos. The fence is to keep the deer from trampling the peonies or munching the liatris and other bulbs. They will walk right up to the house and have likely emptied the cat foodbowls inside the garage at least once. They certainly will empty the birdfeeders if they can reach them.

  2. christoph says

    @#3: Bees seem to be dying off too quickly, they don’t need help from spiders. Besides, they’re also pollinating PZ’s garden. Feeding them to spiders seems a tad ungrateful.

  3. blf says

    Import murder hornets to deal with the bees.  </snark>

    I kindof doubt the spiders will take too many bees to add to the bees-dying-off problem in the garden / localised bee community.

  4. says

    I’ve been checking out these guys throughout the day.

    This morning: perfect, classic orbwebs, pristine and empty of debris.

    This evening: tattered, broken webs with great big holes punched through them, but each spider has a couple of big mummy-wrapped prey items. When I just left them, each one was fangs-deep in a bee or large fly.

    I’ll be interested to check on them tomorrow morning. I suspect they’ll completely rebuild their webs overnight.

  5. Ridana says

    Are different species nocturnal or is that an individual, opportunistic thing? A couple years ago I had a big orb weaver who would spin her web each night from my house, across the steps, to the edge of the porch. By morning, she’d reeled it all in, only to build it again after dark. I don’t know if she was targeting moths or was thinking big, like that Far Side cartoon with the park slide (“If this works, we’ll eat like kings!”).

  6. PaulBC says

    Mary, Mary, quite contrary
    How does your garden grow?
    With blooms and bees, a gentle breeze,
    and spider webs all in a row.

    (Sorry, not my best effort. I would have liked to fit in Argiope somehow but I am unsure of the pronunciation.)

  7. blf says

    I would have liked to fit in Argiope somehow but I am unsure of the pronunciation.

    “Arrggghhhh!!!!!”, perhaps? </snark>

    Merriam-Webster gives it as ärˈjīə(ˌ)pē (very roughly, arg-gee-oh-pee but some searching also suggests ar-gi-ope (possibly a USAian / British difference?); no idea about any form of Latin).