Spiders are your friends...sometimes

This is probably not-so-new information for seasoned gardeners but I just got my first experience with a helpful little spider. A few days ago I went to check on my black bean plants and found the leaves mauled. I thought maybe our cats had started chewing on the leaves but the evidence didn't look like something they could manage. So I figured it was some type of insect but which? I'd never seen any caterpillars in our yard...which definitely doesn't mean they're not there but I hadn't seen any on those leaves or any others leaves for that matter.

So today I was turning the compost and decided to take a look at the plants and alas there he was, a little spider on my half-devoured plant. I almost flicked him off thinking he was the culprit...what kind of spider eats leaves?! But as I looked closer I saw he was eating something else. A tiny caterpillar! That's when I noticed a bunch of them under the folded leaves. Evil little things. So now our little spider, who Derek named Spike, is now our little hero. Click on the picture for a better view.

Here he's eating one under the fold. There's another caterpillar to the right of him with a black head. Maybe they're exacting revenge on me since my cat Orie has been killing butterfly after butterfly in our yard. Hopefully Spike can take them all :)

Until next time. Peace.