Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tomato Sentry

Much to my delight I have at least 3 Garden Spiders in my tomato plot.  They are also known as Argiope aurantia.  I have observed them with Leaf Footed bugs and Stink Bugs in their webs.  The Leaf Footed bugs and Stink bugs are harmful to tomatoes among other fruits, vegetables and nuts.  They use their mouth like parts to inject their saliva into the food material, dissolve the contents and suck in the digesting mixture.  This negatively affects the flavor and causes cosmetic damage to the object they are feeding on.  They are no match for the Garden Spider.  It is fascinating to watch the Garden Spider pounce on their webbed prey and spin them up in their silks so they can't escape.   These spiders are very beneficial to a gardening landscape.

Garden Spider with Brown Stink Bug

Garden Spider with Leaf Footed Bug (right)

I have to admit one thing.  The second picture was a result of my experiment where I caught a Leaf Footed bug and tossed him in my female Garden Spiders web to see what would happen.  Wow .. that was fun!

Until next post.


  1. Found you! I'll make sure to show this new blog to Josh, too. I'm hoping he'll get interested enough in back yard gardening to one day help me get some raised beds like yours built for us! :)

    I definitely have wanted to do the same with the lovely spiders we sometimes get (throw them some big fat juicy ones). I have not had the gumption though to actually capture a leaf-footed bug (they are so gross and stink), or else the timing was not right (no available web when one of the kids was willing and able to catch one for me).

    I had a Garden Spider like yours on my rose bush 2 years ago. I have stopped seeing spiny-backed orb weavers in my yard (look like little smiley-faces with spikes around their backs) and I worry that a neighbor used a bunch of pesticide and killed them off. They are the most incredible weavers. I hope you get some where you live. One more that I hope you get to see is the Orchard Spider. They are metallic and really cool to see, shining in the sun!

    Great seeing your family yesterday!

  2. Thanks Lindsey. It was great to see you and the kids Saturday.

    Glad you found me! Sounds like you really know your bugs! It is one of those things I have learned to appreciate since I started my garden. I am constantly trying to attract beneficial insects. I love those spiny-backed orb weavers. They are really cool, although I don't have them in my landscape at this time either, but I have seen them before. I wonder if the mosquito sprayers kill them :(. Since this post I found 2 more garden spiders. I don't believe I have ever noticed and Orchard Spider. My spiders get a healthy dose of leaf footed bugs from me or they catch them without my intervention constantly. Take care.

  3. If the mosquito-sprayers kill the good spiders, that might be the only thing it "works" on. At least in my area, they sure don't seem to affect the mosquito population AT ALL! Shame.