“The Incy Wincy spider climbing up the spout. Down came the rain and washed poor Incy out. Up came the sun and dried up all the rain and Incy Wincy spider went climbing up again.”
— Nursery Rhyme; British version; 1910
Spiders are not always appreciated, especially when they appear unexpectedly. There’s one spider most everyone would like. Spider lilies appear so unexpectedly they are also called the surprise lily, red magic lily, red spider lily, equinox flower, hurricane lily, and naked lady. Probably the last name came as the lily sends up a green shoot about the circumference of a pencil and about twelve inches tall with no foliage at all. Then suddenly one day you look out the window and there are masses of red lilies atop the naked stem. Without any foliage, the stem has at its tippy top 6 tiny green stems symmetrically splayed in a circle. From each tiny stem come 6 red petals. From the center of the petals come 6 stamens. At the end of the stamen is the anther where the pollen is located and where yellow butterflies flutter. While the symmetry of the spider lily is remarkable, where it grows nobody knows — at least here at the Prairie home. Some sprout in flowerbeds, some randomly around the yard or in the perennial garden. A mass of spider lilies grows on a hill in the woods drifting down toward the lake like red-headed soldiers. They are enjoyed each morning from the breakfast table. Thankfully, deer do not eat spider lilies.
While spider lilies are harbingers of fall, so are the spiders we don’t like very much. The little critters weave their wicked webs and tangle in our hair and on our faces prompting the spider dance with thrashing of arms. It must be frustrating for the little spider having humans wreck their exquisite homes day after day. Often the webs are quite beautiful, especially when it’s early enough in the morning to find dew still clinging to the web. Spiders offer some saving graces more than just annoyances.
Outside spiders eat insects, especially those that damage plants like grasshoppers, beetles and flies. To prevent spider webs near entrances and exits, be sure to turn off any night lights. Lights attract insects and insects attract spiders.
While some spiders have a vicious bite with poisonous venom and should be avoided, others are shy and reclusive and want no more than to get away. As fall arrives it would be good to check fall shoes and boots and dark hidey holes for nesting spiders. Fall is the spider’s mating season so they are building little homes for future spiders. If you wish to relocate a spider rather than swing, swat and stomp there are a couple of options: Gently remove the spider and web with a broom to a more appropriate place. There’s a gadget called “My Critter Catcher,” A brush on the end of a long handle lifts the spider and retracts it into a tube where a trigger releases the spider back into nature to continue to do what nature does.
Shannon Bardwell is a writer living quietly in the Prairie. Email reaches her at [email protected]