A little help from my friend(s?)...

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xiphius

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A couple months back, I started to notice small weblike strands of silk on some of my plants (no distinct web, just kinda chaotic strands criss-crossing between the leaves). My immediate thought was "oh no! not spider mites!" but a closer inspection of the plants revealed no sign of mites or mite damage. When I calmed down, I also realized that spider mites were unlikely given the high humidity and wet moss conditions. Perplexed, I removed the webbing and resolved to just watch closely. The webbing re-appeared regularly over the next several weeks, despite there being no sign of any mites, other insects, or plant damage. It actually seemed to be spreading throughout my grow tent. I was baffled. I still couldn't find any sign of the perpetrator(s). Last night, all that changed. I think I finally caught the culprit. I was doing some late night plant maintenance (after the lights been off for a few hours) and needed some extra moss, so I reached in a grabbed a pot to cut some off. That's when I just barely noticed this little guy proudly sitting on a leaf next to what I can only assume was a freshly spun thread of silk.

orchidspider.jpg


It is some kind of very tiny, reddish-black spider (1 mm or less in size). This is the first and only one I have ever actually seen, but I assume there is probably a small population in there since I have hard time believing that the extent of the webbing in all of my pots is the product of just one individual. I have no idea where he (err, they) came from (eggs in my most recent bark mix probably?), but I assume they are probably after fungus gnats (but I have yet to actually see anything caught in one of the webs)? That's the only thing I can think of that they might be feasting on at their size (I do often see gnats in the grow tent). Since this is the first one I have seen and it was only when the lights were off, I am guessing nocturnal, probably retreating into the moss or leaf bracts during the "day."

Anyone ever seen these little guys before? I admit, it was a sigh of relief to find it was an actual spider, and not spider mites. As far as I'm concerned, if they are feasting on other insects in the tent, mi casa es su casa. They can stay as long as they want. After all, the webs aren't doing any harm to the plants :wink:.
 

xiphius

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Nice! I can certainly see where that would be helpful.

Well, these little guys showed up uninvited (probably eggs in some bark mix). Certainly not sad to see them though. Mostly just relieved that they aren't mites. Their webbing is quite strange. There isn't really an ordered web at all, just a mess of chaotic threads between leaves. At a superficial glance, it really looks like the plants have a bad infestation of spider mites.

If they're eating the baddies though, I'll roll out the red carpet any day of the week.
 

blondie

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I have webs over nearly every orchid in the greenhouse as a lot of spiders move in over the winter and the smaller ones seem to stay in there now.

I'm sure I upset them all on watering day when I end uo breaking the web's with water. I have a bamboo cane at each of of the two greenhouses as I'm fed up of getting webs all over my face when i walk in to the greenhouses.
 

xiphius

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I have webs over nearly every orchid in the greenhouse as a lot of spiders move in over the winter and the smaller ones seem to stay in there now.

I'm sure I upset them all on watering day when I end uo breaking the web's with water. I have a bamboo cane at each of of the two greenhouses as I'm fed up of getting webs all over my face when i walk in to the greenhouses.

Yeah, I kinda feel like a dick when I water now. Still, I have to imagine that out in the wild their webs would be frequently destroyed by rain ...or rampaging squirrels. So they gotta be used to re-building :wink:.
 
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