Monday, April 05, 2010

Garden Guardians - Preying Mantis

Part of having a sustainable garden is trust. Trust that if you offer nature the opportunity to create balance that the predators will help control the species that can be pests.

Realistically, balance has to be nurtured.

For example, this egg cluster was laid by a preying mantis last fall. She produced two foamy masses with eggs (that I know of). One on a grape vine and one on the wisteria. When I pruned both of these vines during the winter, I made the conscious choice not to prune the section of vine with the egg cluster.

If I hadn't been paying attention, I would have clipped off these twigs and tossed them in the green bin. I would have lost 50-100 potential garden guardians. The preying mantis is an important beneficial insect, eating a wide range of garden insects. Besides, the female who laid these eggs visited a class that I taught on insects. When I released her back into the garden she laid this egg mass and I promised her I would watch after them.

The more you know about the beneficial creatures and plants in your garden, the more likely you are to identify their needs and offspring. Give them a helping hand by proving native plants and you will helping to restore a natural balance in your home ecosystem.

I don't spray any insecticides in my yard. Instead I provide a safe place for natural predators–mantises, beetles, salamanders, lizards, spiders, bats, birds and more.

Is my trust in nature's balance founded? The proof will be revealed in how successful my veggie garden is this year. Any bets?

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