Along Came a Spider...

...who sat down and ate the moth beside her. OK maybe that's not the story you're used to hearing but that's what happened. This little guy is a common one in North American gardens. You've probably seen him somewhere, Phidippus audux a common jumping spider. At least that is my best guess. I'm not an entomologist by any means.

He was hanging out on out back porch door, just floating on the glass waiting for a meal. Spiders are great for the garden because they eat bugs that feast on our plants. To me they are an asset for the garden. They can seem kind of creepy until you think about how much they can help you. I still remember seeing Arachnophobia in the movie theater and feeling like little legs were crawling up my legs. I'm glad real life isn't like the movies.

This little guy isn't poisonous but his bite can hurt so it's best to shy away from him. Your odds of getting bitten are very low since he prefers to munch on the insects and will likely just run away from you. If you think about it, a giant like you (when compared to the spider) would be pretty intimidating!

In general it's best to leave spiders alone. In Tennessee the two most popular spiders to be concerned about are the brown recluse and the black widow. They are common but if you are cautious you can avoid them. When we were getting ready for our snow day a while back, I picked up my boots and knocked out a dead black widow. I discovered that it's a really good idea to check your shoes if you keep them in a garage or area easily accessed from outdoors.

One unusual fact about these jumping spiders is that they hunt in the daytime while other spiders hunt at night. For some more information about spiders and bugs go visit Penn State's Entomology pages.