I put that title because some folks need preparation for a discussion of one of the largest families on the planet, insects. Early fall is the time they are most abundant as their food supplies, plants and animals, have reached peak levels.
I cannot take a walk in the woods without encountering a spider web across my arm or across my face. I do not do the crazy dance when I run into a web because spiders do not bite humans unless they are cornered...such as inside a shoe or glove. They rapidly climb out of the way when you encountered their gathering net. Spiders are designed to catch small insects and 99.9% of the time cannot penetrate your skin! "Only about a dozen of the approximately 40,000 spider species worldwide can cause serious harm to the average healthy adult human. In North America, there are only two groups of spiders that are medically important: the widow group (which includes black widows) and the recluse group (brown recluses)." This quoted from an arachnologist who actually has had brown recluses crawling on his arm and studied spiders for decades and has never had a spider bite! Therefore, avoid putting your appendages into dark places, but do not worry about everywhere else!! So take a deep breath and look at the beauty that moved from our BBQ when we wanted to use it and had to break its web to outside the window of our dining room. It spent about three weeks staying there and collecting and eating those nasty stink bugs that crawl on our walls in the fall and early winter before moving on.
I am pretty sure this is a Black and Yellow Argiope that is a common orb web spider. Orb web means it spins a web like a circle. In the early morning when the dew is still on the webs I can see these webs 20 feet off the ground between trees. They are so mathematically beautiful and we have them in our gardens as well. I run into their webs fairly often. The female can get pretty big and thus scares mankind.
Some spiders are great at camouflage. There is a spider in this cosmos seed cluster above because it moved when I took the photo. I cannot find it now as I study the photo! Anyway, there are tiny spiders and big spiders and if you are outdoors in a good non-paved environment they are EVERYWHERE! Yet, you are not bitten, are you? You do not actually see them, do you? They are very important to us, so call a truce if you are a bit arachnophobic.
These dramatic caterpillars I did declare war on. They were completely eating all of my milkweed plant, which is the only one I plant for the Monarch larva. These caterpillars are the larva of a plain brown moth which is abundant. I would have left them if they only ate a small part of the plant, but no such luck.
This little guy on the petal of the cosmos is some beetle that eats other bugs. Hopefully he eats bugs that eat my cosmos. I did not know he was there when I took a picture of this glowing cosmos flower.
And, of course, we all love the butterflies. No one swats them away or does the crazy dance when they fly in our face! This little skipper butterfly is in abundance in my yard.