Saturday, March 7, 2009

What Is It?



The above picture is of something I saw in a tree. It's about the size of a quarter so, despite looking somewhat like a hornet's nest, it's too small for that. It was the only one of its kind in the tree. However, nearby there were more of them in privet. The ones hidden in the privet (until we cut back the privet, exposing them) were closer to ground level than in the air.

I have googled it and don't like the answer I kept coming across, so I am putting this out there for identification. Surely I am missing something else that it could be. Any ideas?

8 comments:

Journey2thepast said...

Is it spiders?

The Country Experience said...

That was the answer that I kept coming to when looking it up. But it isn't just any old kind of spider who has a "nest" like that--oh no. It is the black widow spider who builds nests like that. Typically they build them lower to the ground than this one, but it could have been due to a perceived threat at the time that made the spider think it needed to build it higher. (There was a lot of rain last spring, so maybe that made it build higher up.)

Fortunately I looked it up on-line the same day I found them, and we promptly went out and torched most of the ones we found. Two we crunched underfoot and examined. They looked like they were old nests--which is worse, because that means the spiders already are out and about. Ughghghg! It makes me want to do the "creepy spider" dance just thinking about it. I'm not a fan of spiders but I do understand they have a place in the cycle. Garden writers/orb spiders are interesting even though they are scary big. Black widows, though--no thanks.

::shudder::

See why I was hoping someone would say it was something else? I'm so hoping I'm wrong and someone will come along and say, "Oh, that is a nest for a beautiful butterfly"....um, well, except for the we-already-killed-it part. They apparently were old nests, though.

countrypeapie said...

We have found black widows around here before. You have to be careful if you're picking up something that's been in the yard for a while (gloves are always good). Spiders will pretty much leave you alone, and I think black widows are beneficial, actually (other than that whole poison thing), because they eat other pests that don't have anything to offer. Not that this helps you feel any better....

Sonya said...

Oh.My.GOODNESS!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Country Experience said...

Sonya, that is exactly what I said, lol!

CPP, that is interesting and good to know, but no, they still scare me. Frequently when I'm out walking around I'll see spiders scurrying around on the ground, but I've never paid much attention to them. Now I probably will.

As the Garden Grows said...

I know what it is! It is a praying manits egg case. If you find a hole in it they have already hatched and left the casing. If not, I sometimes put them in the garden or near it. They are very beneficial insects to have in the garden and are really interesting creatures.

countrypeapie said...

Oh, Praying Mantises are very cool! I once had a boss that we referred to as The Praying Mantis. Except when we referred to him as Skeletor. He was nowhere near as cool as an actual Praying Mantis.

The Country Experience said...

Whoohoo! A praying mantis I can definitely be excited about!

Now I feel absolutely awful about torching what might have been a good egg case. Hopefully it had a hole in it and was old like the others.

The interesting part is that all of the cases were already near the garden, lol. Mama praying mantis was giving her young as good a start as possible.