Labor Day Travails
Today (Labor Day) began just like any other day.
And it ended just like any other day, except for the Labor Day celebrations that we humans plan.
For Nature's predators and prey that frequent our garden, however, it was an intertwining of life and death.
A western spotted orb weaver, Neoscona oaxacensis, spun a web on our tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii, and snagged, killed and wrapped a honey bee. Using the web as its lifeline, it tugged the bee into the shadows to eat it, undisturbed.
The tower of jewels, in bloom now for five months, looks like a tower of bees when the honey bees, syrphid flies, and carpenter bees share it. The plant is looking a little ragged now--it's going to seed--but it's still producing spectacular reddish-pink blossoms.
The spiders know where to spin their webs. They will be back tomorrow, as will the honey bees.
Western spotted orb weaver snares and wraps a honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
The spider's spots are visible in this photo. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
After tugging the honey bee into the tower of jewels, the spider proceeds to eat it. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This honey bee narrowly missed being a target of the spider. It is nectaring on a tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)