Greed or Need?

Sep 14, 2015

Talk about greed. Talk about gluttony.

How much food does a banded garden spider (Argiope trifasciata) need?

For 30 minutes, we watched a well-fed banded garden spider catch bee after bee in its sticky web that it had cleverly anchored between two lavender plants. It's all about location, location, location! Go where the floral visitors are.

Then it would race toward the struggling bee or hover fly, inject its poisonous venom, and wrap it for later eating.

At last count, there were 20 spider-wrapped prey dangling in its pantry. Build it (a web) and they will come.

Seven deadly sins? Wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony? Well, deadly for sure. A predator at work.

Then a smaller spider arrived on the scene and made the fatal mistake of engaging the resident spider. As soon as the intruder touched the banded garden spider, it, too, joined the trophy menagerie. 

Another encounter, another prey, another wrap. 

That's 21.

(Note: See more information on garden spiders on the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management (UC IPM) web site.)