To say I don’t love spiders is being understated. I have a major fear of anything with 8 legs, but writing spiders? (AKA yellow garden argiope, yellow garden orb-weaver, golden garden spider, golden orb-weaver, and the writing spider.) I may have a soft spot in my arachniphobe heart for them.
Last year, Charlotte, as we called her, took up residence right over the doorway of our pool house. Initially, I was petrified to even try to walk under her web, but unlike phlegm, I became desensitized to her presence and even became happy to see her. She was eating her weight (and then some) of house flies, stink bugs and mosquitos! I posted a blog about her on Random Musings, because I actually grew quite fond of her. (Who knew, right?) She left a couple of egg sacks for us. We figured we’d be inundated with a gazillion tiny arachnids, but we weren’t. Only six, plus multiple males, and counting.
So spring came and went this year, and in May I was transplanting some plants from a haul to a local nursery. I went to grab a spare pot, and there, in one of them, was a really tiny Charlotte. She had made her signature zig-zag web, but it was maybe the size of a quarter. Then she disappeared.
Two weeks ago, we found this right outside of our back door in the corner of our deck:
She’s positioned herself right in front of our outlet, so in order for me to light up the deck and the hammock stand, I would have to put my hand through her web, and I think we all know that’s not happening. She’s eating flies and I even found a daddy long-legs carcass at the bottom edge of her web. She really needs to relocate, but my husband said she’ll do that on her own, when the time is right.
Then there is Big Charlotte, who’s strung up her mansion in the above-right area off our porch by our front door. I know that the eats are plentiful, because she’s about doubled in size over the past week.
The porch lights, which we usually leave off because they attract bugs, have been on more frequently so that she can get her dinner on.
While there is still a shudder-factor when I see the girls, I’m not going to swat them down, because I know that they are not pests. (Just, please, Ladies, don’t try to take up residence inside my house, otherwise all bets may be off.)
Big Charlotte has actually found a mate (or three), who are a fraction of her size and have their webs just below hers. They’ll mate later in the season and she’ll eat them. It’s what they do. Nature, right? Then there will be another egg sack floating around that we might find, or we might not. She’s gotten a LOT bigger since the first image. Use the siding panels as a guide:
My grandson was here one weekend and went after Little Charlotte with a broom because he could reach her. Nana had to ask him not to, because that was the Original Charlotte’s baby. (It’s hard to put this into language that a three year old can comprehend, but he did remember the original Charlotte, and I showed him the shell of the egg sack and some how, he got it! He leaves her alone. Go figure!)
At any rate, while Little Charlotte is kind of too close for even my comfort, she stays, and I don’t even give as wide a berth going in and out of the back door as I might have before, but that I even let them be THISCLOSE to where I traverse? That speaks volumes for someone who almost drives off the highway because there is a spider in her car.
In the ten days since I posted the original images we’ve had some additions to our spider family.
Last week we found another large female and collection of her male harem under the eve by the driveway. She’s just Driveway Spider.
We also discovered The Twins, two females that have taken up residence against the back wall of my former studio earlier this week. I’ve tried to get a picture of them together, but both are so scared of me that when I attempt to approach them, they scatter. How’s that for a bizarre change of pace?
This morning, on my way out the door, I discovered the sixth (AKA Nikki Six) on on the far right of our front porch.
We are becoming overrun, it seems, but I don’t have it in me to kill them. I’m not even sure how I would go about relocating my two original door guards. With the absence of pests at both doors? I’m not sure that I’d really want to.
If someone could find a way to desensitize me in airplanes? I’d be almost totally fearless, except for that slow-death-by-cancer-thing!
*Originally published at Medium.com in the Members area.