Monday, June 11, 2007

The Spider and the Wasp

I don't know how this happened but I have to say that the big black guy is on my team. In past years we have had growing numbers of golden paper wasps on our deck. Some people have told me to just spray them, but I don't do that. Insecticides are poison for people too. Any one who reads the label knows that. And I don't want to wipe out the population, I just don't want them on the deck; just like I don't want spiders in the house, but they can be anywhere else they want to be.

This spring I read a little bit about the life cycle of Golden Paper Wasps and decided that if I knocked down their nests faithfully in the early spring, they just might go else where for nest building, and we could sit peacefully on the deck. I was afraid of their stingers at first. Because the nests are up under the eaves, I got my red handled broom which I hold by the bristles, out at arms length, and then I knock down a nest. I quickly learned that when the next comes down the wasps fly straight out off the deck, so I'm safe if I'm standing to the side. They don't seem to recognize the broom handles as threat, or connect me to the broom, so I've been safe. They seem to fly randomly around after that, but none have come after me. When I was first knocking down nests in early spring, I would probably knock down a dozen in a session. Yesterday there were only two tiny ones and I hadn't checked on them in a couple weeks. We had a lovely, peaceful, lunch on the deck in the fresh spring air with no flying insects checking out our food.

But this is where the photo comes in. As I put away the table umbrella, I found this 1 inch big black spider pulling a dead golden paper wasp of equal length along.. I've seen this kind before, but they have always been half the size. I instantly decided that the big guy is my buddy. He's on my team, and he gets to stay.

I got out my Field Guide to Insects and Spiders by the National Audubon Society and found out this guy is a Daring Jumping Spider phidippsu audax. They are really interesting spiders and you can learn more about them at this interesting site.

4 bouquets of wildflowers (Comment here):

Pamela said...

gulp. I think he's eaten a dozen of those wasps.

We get the wasps in our eaves.

Pamela said...

home-school tip requests

Charity Grace said...

My enemy's enemy is my friend? Is that it? :)

La Tea Dah said...

How's your summer going? I'm missing new posts on your blog (gulp) and am having trouble keeping up with them myself. There's just SO much to do in the summertime! Right now I should be packaging up blueberries for my freezer --- bought from over your direction and OH so yummy! I hope all is well. I'm missing you!