What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Argiope Aurantia – Question about Life Cycle
October 23, 2014 11:37 am
Dear Bugman and friends,
We have been lucky to have had three yellow garden spiders in our yard this year build webs where we could easily observe them. Our family watched all three build daily webs, eat, and grow for a few weeks. One spider got very large (in our opinion), perhaps a body of about an inch, not counting her legs. The other two were a bit smaller than that. One seemed to have a mate after some time, a little fellow that hung out on the edge of her web and crept closer over time (although we don’t know if there was ever any “action”). They all followed the same pattern, web building, eating, growing, and then disappearing. We are wondering if you could tell us why they just disappear…They are around for 2-3 weeks. The first one who disappeared possibly did not get enough to eat at the end; however, we did feed her a few flies the night before she disappeared, which she declined to eat (although she had eaten other flies we had gotten her previously). The other ate a really great meal one day,
at least 3-4 decent sized bugs (in fact, she had another bug caught in her web that she didn’t get to), and then disappeared two days later. What we noticed on the two we were able to observe closely is that they ate fine one day, but didn’t rebuild their webs that night, hung around kind of crooked the following day, and then were gone the next day. We were just wondering if you could let us know if this is typical for their life cycle. It did not get cold, it seemed like they had enough to eat, we didn’t see a dead spider on the ground under the web, no one walked into the webs, two were high enough that the only predators would possibly be birds (but one was right up against our window so it seems like it would have been very hard for a bird to get her without smacking against the glass). We got attached to all three, which may sound silly, and were really sad when they disappeared. So, I thought I would write you to find out if you could offer any insight. I know you are busy,
but just wanted to try. Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated. We have looked online and have been unable to find anything ourselves. Thanks again in advance.
Linda, Steve, and Gage
Signature: Linda Vincent

Golden Orbweaver from our Archives

Golden Orbweaver from our Archives

Dear Linda, Steve and Gage,
Sadly, we don’t know what happened to your Golden Orbweavers.  We have had similar experiences with individuals in our own Los Angeles garden.  They seem to just vanish one day.  The life cycle of Golden Orbweavers is a single season, and even if the weather if fine, it is still nearing the end of the year.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide you with some information.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

2 Responses to Questions about Orbweavers

  1. I keep a close eye on our crop of orbweavers in a now unused pasture. They are my “therapy spiders” as I WAS terrified of them until I started to get to know them. In the height of the summer, there is literally 1 spider per square foot, especially in the purple loosestrife patches where there are also oodles of bugs for them!

    Whenever they disappear for the season, which is about the time of the first frost, I always keep an eye out for their egg sacs, which inevitably show up very close to the spiders hung out for the summer. I have never been able to find a dead spider anywhere in the vicinity though, but they do tend to stay low to the ground once the first frost hits, instead of up in the tall grass in their webs during the summer.

  2. Linda says:

    Thanks so much for your consideration and posting the question. I look forward to hearing about others’ experiences. We just got another one yesterday so we will see what happens to her now!

    Thanks again. You all are great!!

    Linda

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