06 May 2013

Bug Patrol

While in college, I had several jobs where I worked closely with insects.  I did everything from clean out cockroach cages, handled bloodthirsty female mosquitoes and trapped stable flies to nursing housefly maggots to adulthood so I could run all sorts of experiments on them.  Despite my discomfort, I learned volumes about bugs which has been put to good use on our acreages.
A praying mantis egg pod--50 to 200 of the little guys will hatch in about a month.  I'm going to keep an eye on them and will be rooting them along!
This year's insect population--flies, mosquitoes, ticks, slugs--has already been astounding.  With children around, we try our best to keep harmful toxins to a minimum and when there's a natural solution, we're even happier.  Jack had a conversation with a coworker that eventually led us to ownership of four praying mantis egg pods.  After our weekly family home evening, we went outside together and strategically placed the pods.  In a month or so, the praying mantis young will emerge and literally devour any insect they can get a hold of, including each other.

Here's where a fresh pile of manure is handy:
Thank goodness we have an endless supply on hand (I took the opportunity to remind Jack that the horses aren't total lawn ornaments).  With a pile of manure under each egg sack, it will attract smaller insects that will nourish the praying mantises until they're big enough to go after the ticks, mosquitoes, flies, slugs, etc.  Seriously, we can use all the bug patrol we can get out here.
One of the pods attached in the horses' pasture.
After our leisurely walk around the property, we picked a few ripe strawberries from our infant berry patch and headed inside for some ice cream.  Mother Nature will take care of the rest.
Taking a peak at some flowers in our slice of forest.

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