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The Writing Spider: a Gardener's Companion

Making It Grow Minute

  Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Late summer is the time when spiders seem to be at their population peak around my house and garden. For most gardeners, the writing spider, Argiope aurantia,is a treasured companion, as their large web contains white designs called stabilimenta which looks like something you’d scribble on a piece of paper. The name stabilmenta refers to the now-disputed idea that it strengthened the web, other ideas are that it makes the web more visible to birds so they won’t fly through it. At any rate, the web itself catches insects which the spiders eat. If you tap on the web, the spider will shake her web vigorously, trying to scare you away. These spiders eat insects that eat your plants  and although they do use poison to kill their prey, are of no danger whatsoever to you. 

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.