Natural pest removal for your garden comes in many forms. From non-caustic chemicals/oils to other bugs to combat the first problem bug. (what then happens to the new bug? Do I need to new bug for him?)
Problem: Winter moths love maples, elm and to a lesser degree oak leaves. A few November’s ago I came home to a fairyland scene in my headlights.
Thousands of winter moths had hatched and were flying all around laying eggs in my trees. I love my maples (as you can imagine) and the winter moth loves my maples also!
Enter the Mantid!
Solution: The last two years I have tried a natural remedy for my winter moth problem. I was asking at Highland Nursery just up the street from me about what I could do?
Treatments for winter moths
They said it was too late for oils which have to be sprayed on the trees while dormant (February) and they said come back in May and get some mantid eggs (Ootheca).
Mantide are ferocious hunters and very effective at keeping bug populations down and our winters are a bit too much for them so they may mate and leave a Ootheca casing but it doesn’t always survive.
The first year out of 4 egg casings,I put out, I found one mantid in the fall. All 4 casings had gotten knocked out of the bushes and I assumed birds had gotten them.
So with 1 survivor, I had hope for the following year. The second year I made a chicken wire basket surrounded by a larger wire basket and I wired it all into our lilac bush.
On July 4th as friends were arriving I took a look and saw movement around the casing. Did I mention how small they are? well 30 or so had come out and I ran to get my tripod and macro. The trip to the beach was delayed until “She who must be obeyed” put her foot down.
Appearance of an adult
In the fall my neighbor said she had a mantid in her bush and I told her that it was one of mine! I photographed the adult over the next few days.
This year I picked up my mantid casings and I built a plexiglass terrarium and placed one Ootheca in there and the other out in the lilac.
I’ll go into more detail on the camera and light set up in the next installment where I hopefully have some mantid to show you!
Soapbox alert! shop local and buy American!
I want to take this moment to say if you are here in Salem then please stop in at highland garden center and support the small business man.
I know Home depot and Lowes have tons more stuff but please give the local guy a chance first!
While you may be in Texas or California reading this, I bet you know of a small business near your home that could use your dollars more than a big chain store.
I found a page where they talk about raising Mantide and they say you can feed the nymphs ground burger. So maybe I don’t have to fill the cage with lots of bugs. That will make my wife much happier. :-O
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Jeff “Foliage” Folger
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