Allow me to introduce my favorite garden tenant. Having found my tomato plant gustatory paradise, this fellow has taken up residence. His primary web is woven with a zipper-like juncture down the center where he positions himself waiting for foolish insects to meander by. Secondary webs lace between stems throughout the entire plant. We have come to a silent understanding – he doesn’t stir when I forage for ripe tomatoes and I permit him rent-free residence and all the bugs he can eat. It’s a win/win situation. If someone can tell me what kind of spider he is I would be ever so appreciative. I don’t think he’s poisonous…..
****Warning! Graphic descriptions and photos below!!****
I gave my spider a treat this morning! While going about my morning inspection, I noted several blobs of caterpillar poopie. Yes, they chew the heck out of my plants and then leave a trail of digested plant matter behind. It is truly as gross as it sounds. I’ve found that following the trail of poop is a good way to locate the little b**!!#!s and sure enough I found him on a chewed up branch nearby. Heh heh, I figured Mr. Spider hadn’t had breakfast yet, so I shook the caterpillar in to a bottle cap and then tossed him on to the spider’s web! Oh diabolical joy! The spider froze with delight but after a few minutes the temptation overcame him and he reached out and started spinning the nasty/yummy critter into a cocoon! He must have been somewhat concerned by the generous yet gigantic monster pointing a big black box at him so he paused mid-web until he could have a more private moment to finish off his treat. Have I mentioned that he’s at least tripled in size since I first noticed him in the tomato plant?
Fall Canker Worms. The top left is an actual worm I captured, identified in a gardening book, photographed for my Most Wanted Hall of Fame and promptly dispatched to one of Dante’s circles of hell. Any of the nine will do. Just yesterday I pulled up and destroyed a sunflower plant because it had been colonized by a new hatching of these awful things. The photo below shows the damage done to my sweet potato plant. At least I know today one less voracious monster exists to wreck havoc in my beautiful garden!
And the transitory population:
A posse of these orange with black polka-dots critters hung out for awhile but seem to have gone on their way. They don’t seem to have done any damage….yet. I don’t have any photos of them in my gardening books so I hope that’s a good sign. Any ideas what they are?
Soldier bug! He’s a good guy. He eats the bad guys. He can hang out as long as he likes. I’ve created a fascinating menagerie in the backyard but I can’t wait for the winter growing season when most of these critters head for the hills and my biggest problem is remembering to watch the forecast so I can blanket my plants with sheets to keep them cozy during the occasional frost. Happy days!