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:
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.