Thursday, October 07, 2010

More Critters in the Garden

Just the other week I was wondering why I hadn't seen any praying mantids around my yard. Apparently it wasn't time to see them yet. Now is the time to see the full adults.

How do I know? Because in the last two days I've seen two different types in my front yard! (Also, I think I squished a male a few weeks ago. It flew close to my head and freaked me out. In my defense, I was near the wasp nest, so I was primed to kill anything that came too close to me. I'm sorry little guy!)

Well, from the research I've done, it looks like they're both the European mantid, only one is green and the other brown.
Clicky to enlarge all the pics!

Tuesday's mantis was discovered while Eric was repairing the sprinklers. Yes, repairing the sprinkler line that I punched not one, not two, but four holes in with my pitchfork while ripping out plants in the front yard. This was just after we had the sprinkler guys by to fix the part that was too much for Eric, down in the junction box. We were checking to see if they worked properly and Whoops! There goes a geyser! The next morning, after Eric repaired the hole that I knew about, we turned the sprinklers on again, and Whoops! Another one!

Repeat 2x more. Eric was not amused. Sorry honey!

I discovered today's mantid on my Zebra grass. Funny thing about the giant grass in the front yard: I love the way it sounds when it sways in the wind, but it makes me jumpy. All sudden, jumping sounds make me think Mice instead of Grasshopper or Mantid.

When I looked closer, though, it was a mantid! Woo! Apparently all of the ones you see at this time of year are a) female and b) totally preggers. Those fat abdomens are just waiting to lay some eggs! On the bright side, now I know what all of that weird, tan, foam-insulation-type stuff is around the yard! It's the egg case for praying mantises!

Of course what I'd really like to see is one of them noshing on a grasshopper or three. I have quite a few of those, all over the backyard.

In the front yard, though, I have honey bees everywhere.

Happy little bees! I have to tell you, they really like the catmint that blooms throughout the season.

Speaking of bees, I just received a gift of locally produced honey from a neighbor as a thank you gift! As I mentioned previously, I'm in the process of ripping out plants and re-setting them, which means I have a whole lot of plants that I'm giving away in my front yard. The beekeepers dropped by to say thanks for the free plants recently (e.g. irises, strawberries, caryopteris, Keys of Heaven, and yarrow) and over the years. It was so nice, it made my whole day!

My work on the front yard has hardly begun, but I've had lots of positive reinforcement from the neighbors as they drive by. Getting the honey was just icing on the cake! I love working in the front yard for just that reason. Well, I'd better get back to work! I've got yards and yards of landscape fabric to rip up and plants to relocate.

How are things looking in your garden?

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

I enjoy the praying mantis in our yard but we don't ever have very many. Sometimes I see them on my grasses too tho ~ and I've found egg cases from time to time when I'm cutting them back in spring too. (I save them) This summer I actually got "attached" to one that lived in my pansy basket underneath the back porch light. I wasn't sure how I felt when a baby oriole plucked him out. :-( But I love the orioles too so it was a toss up.
Anyway, thank you for visiting my blog and leaving your nice comment.

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