I found a Praying Mantid sac this week. Good news. When these little guys emerge they come out hungry. So hungry they will eat their siblings if there is nothing else to eat. If you find one of these, let them be.
In my University of Maryland Master Gardener education program we had a wonderful instructor come in and talk about bugs. This truly was my favorite class. I am the bug person in my house. I can deal with anything with more than 4 legs. (I suck at mice.) We learned about Integrated Pest Management.
"IPM is a knowledge-based, holistic approach to managing pests at an acceptable level. It emphasizes biological, cultural, and physical methods to prevent and manage problems." (UM MG handbook)
The gist is - do not kill bugs indiscriminately. When we blanket our gardens with insecticides, we kill all the good bugs as well. This means butterflies and honeybees!
|Monarch butterfly caterpillar|
|Spicebush Swallowtail butterfly caterpillar|
If I plant certain plants, in some cases weeds, predator insects will live in my garden to help balance the population of insects I don't want.
I do use some pesticides. Bt to control cabbage worms. This is a bacteria that kills only cabbage worms. It is safe for birds and people and other bugs. Insecticidal soap to kill aphids. Water spray works too. So does waiting for the lady bugs to show up! Milky spore to kill Japanese beetle grubs in the lawn.
There are some bugs you want to encourage and leave alone if you see them.
|Praying Mantid (Mantis)|
|Spined Soldier Bug|
I know it looks like a Stink bug. Look for the spikes on the shoulders.
I brought in some forsythia branches to force a few days ago. Spring is almost here!