An Update on Autumn’s Egg Sacs

Last fall, I had the pleasure of observing the life of a large black and yellow garden spider who had built her web just outside my kitchen window.  I named her Autumn.   She was a joy to watch and I learned a lot watching that spider work so hard.  I wrote posts about her here:

Post #1- Spider in the Window

Post #2- The New Egg Sac

Post #3- Lessons Learned From a Garden Spider

Autumn laid 2 egg sacs and I observed her with much fascination as she did that.  I watched her meticulously lay webbing all around them to protect them.  And then Autumn’s work was done.  She died the day after Halloween and I felt such a sadness.  I buried my little friend under the red maple tree that sits beside the deck – close to her egg sacs.  I promised Autumn before she died and when she died that I would watch her egg sacs for her.  And I have kept that promise.

I was baffled this spring when they didn’t hatch.  Did Autumn lay duds?  I was so let-down and disappointed as week after week after week passed and the eggs just sat unchanged.  Mid summer came and then late summer and still those eggs just sat there.  And then I did more research and I learned that those egg sacs probably won’t hatch until early fall.  They are still well protected and surrounded by thick silk webbing and there are multiple dead bugs caught in that webbing – a stink bug, a  lightning bug, a moth, to name a few.  I’ve read that these are for the spiderlings to feast on upon hatching.  I have cringed when predators like wasps and mud daubers come near to the egg sacs.  I have run outside and run them off.  I cringed when we kept having raccoon visitors this spring.  I ran them off too.  And I cringed again when a black rat snake kept visiting my backyard this spring.  I don’t know if snakes eat spider eggs but I know they sure love other eggs.

So far, the eggs are still there, just at the top of my kitchen window.  And so I watch and I eagerly await for Autumn’s babies to arrive.

Autumn’s two egg sacs

Gail 

About Gail

I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend, veterinarian, and wanna be writer. I love nature and animals of all kinds, music, cooking, and spending time with my family.
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4 Responses to An Update on Autumn’s Egg Sacs

  1. I bet there are a lot of babies in there and I bet a lot of them survive. I always see baby garden spiders in the mud dauber nests when I wash them off of the house. Which tells me they get them after they’ve hatched.

    • Gail says:

      I’ve read each egg sac can have 1000 baby spiders in it so we may have 2000 little spiders hatching soon! The dirt daubers sure have been interested in those eggs! If they don’t hatch to early fall and then they did with the first frost, those spiders sure don’t have a very long lifespan…. maybe a month or two at the most????? I just assumed they would hatch in the spring but they sure never did.

      • That’s way too many spiders for me! LOL! It seems really strange that they would hatch out just before winter. Like you, I’d have been looking for them in the spring. I know I’ve seen them around here during the spring & summer. Interesting. Maybe Autumn was a late hatch? With subsequent hatchings getting later & later? Just guessing here. 🙂

      • Gail says:

        Your guess is as good as mine. I honestly don’t know what is going on with these eggs. It is hard to find information. It depends on where you live and climate I’m sure as to when they hatch. Or at least that’s my guess. For now, we wait and watch.

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