Joe the Bug Hunter: Spiders, Spiders Everywhere

Joe hummed “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” as he watched the small black spider spin its web. He’d been watching it for 10 minutes and marveled at its grace.
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But, what kind of spider is it? A question he couldn’t ignore.

Sighing, Joe watched as the little bug climbed down the wall, seemingly finished with its web and perhaps going to hunt. He had the bug gun waiting and the bug house standing by for observation. Gently he squeezed the trigger, sucking the scared little thing into the containment jar and slowly dumped it into the waiting bug house.

And now for the research.

Spiders are amazing creatures. Joe read wide-eyed the many talents of the house spider. The males wander around hunting small bugs. They rely on their vision and speed to catch food and carry it back to the web. They are sensitive to light and, depending on the threat level, will either move toward or retreat quickly from it.

“Cool,” Joe whispered when he read that they have 8 eyes, six of which look forward for prey…the other two darting side to side to keep a lookout for threats or more tiny bugs to eat.

They don’t just wander, unless they are not bothered by any threat. They move with purpose and stop to think and evaluate where to head next. They can run long distances if they need to. Joe imagined a tiny spider marathon.

Joe looked back at the web and noticed that it was funnel shaped, a common way to catch its prey. It was also very intricate with silk threads spun over the flat window sill. Joe’s eyes widened when he read that the webs could get very big if they were left undisturbed.

The girls can live a long time…one to two years if no one squishes them, so they try to find spots that are hidden like the basement or the attic. Joe wondered why this one picked the window sill in the living room.

Eggs are laid in late fall. There could be up to 50 eggs. Whoa! Joe smiled thinking how much his mom would like 50 little spiders racing around the house. NOT.

They hatch in the Spring and molt over 7 times to become adult spiders.

Joe read how they retreat when attacked or disturbed rather than fight back. It is easy to catch them as they will walk straight into a cup or container. If they do bite, it doesn’t hurt. Joe wasn’t willing to test that theory though.

Joe thought it was cool that they caught bugs. If he told his mom that, would she leave it alone? Probably not.

He thought and thought, looking outside at the swingset and shed.

The shed! He could relocate it to the shed. If he just let it go outside the poor thing would die when it got cold, but maybe in the shed it would have a better chance of survival. He checked the web to see if eggs had been laid yet and seeing no egg sac he took the bug house and headed outside.

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Once he got into the shed he looked around trying to think where to let it go. He finally decided it had the best chance up in the rafters.

Slowly he turned the bug house on its side and opened the lid. The spider stayed very still for a few moments and then tentatively darted forward, stopped, and then quickly ran out of the bug house. It settled itself in the corner and after a few minutes started to reconstruct its web.

Joe decided that if his mom ever noticed the spider in the shed, he would let her know that they eat garden pests like aphids. She would like that.

3 responses to “Joe the Bug Hunter: Spiders, Spiders Everywhere

  1. Your stories are getting better and better. With Linda’s drawings you two should write a book.

  2. Pingback: Joe the Bug Hunter: The Big Thaw | a pinch of homestead

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