Simply beautiful, and helpful too; the orb weaver spider. This pretty female builds a large, circular, silken web..intricate and amazing in itself. She is generally found in garden areas (though we have several in our barn as well). My greenhouse seems to be their favorite place to call home..these spiders have nested and set egg sacs there for several years now. Every summer new orb weavers hatch, grow, spin and work in all around our farm.
Not a particularly harmful lot (however, anything with a mouth will bite), these spiders are quite ominous to encounter. Their body alone can be as large as your thumb; then add in legs that are even longer. Bold in color and striking in size, you can't help but notice one if they are around you. Females are large and bold in color; males are much smaller and tend to stay neutral in color but similar in pattern. Orb weavers have several different external appearances, yet are identified by their circular web pattern.
Each year we have at least one web that spans the entire width of the greenhouse (always barricading one door). The open corner of our barn awning is home to another, and last year two took residence outside our backdoor. We do not bother them, but let them do their work to keep nastier creatures at bay. If bothered they tend to scurry to a hiding place near their web, making no attempt to attack us.
This year, once again, we are home to many of these amazing arachnids. Soon males will be seen on the web with their mates (yes, she devours him when his job is done..and leaves his exoskeleton hanging on her web...interesting, no?). Later then, egg sacs will grace every corner of the barn and garden buildings. God continues His glorious seasons in nature and life.
We encourage you to learn and know about the creation that shares space with you...a wonderful way to marvel at God's amazing beauty and intricate plan. To read more about the orb weavers we have here on our farm please visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orb-weaver_spider another interesting site is http://www.spiderzrule.com/orbweaver1.htm.