Something is eating my veggies and I cannot find the evil-doer(s). I turn every leaf. Noone there.
The ducks and the chicks keep roaming the fields and they seem to eat plenty but still, some plants show holes.
My friend at the nursery suggested I go out at night and catch the bad guys but I cannot see myself leaving neither my cozy bed nor my snuggely man to go outside in the middle of the night, armed with a flashlight to catch some BUGS?!?
I am also not a fan of cheamical weapons, I much prefer the one on one attack; seems more fair.
Then I kept running into people trying to sell me Praying Mantises. Maybe it was a sign? For sure, praying was involved here.
So, I asked my nursery-girl and she raved about them, "They are beautiful creatures and they eat every bug they can overcome. I love holding them. You can pat them."
She also tells me that they are 100% carnivores, which is great, because the feather-heads are getting the best of our salads and today, I even caught Lotta munching grapes. Tze tze.
Anywho, I got some of these wonder-predators. Or not. Apparently, you can only buy them still in their egg case and have to hatch them. Given our amazing success (NOT!) with hatching chickens, I am a bit concerned whether I will get even one mantis out of these two egg cases. Allegedly each case hatches about 100-200 mantises. But then again, we set 16 eggs to hatch and only four chicks hatched.
So, you can apparently either hatch these guys indoors; a paperbag is recommended, or outdoors. Mine were tied on a branch, under a few leaves. I put one egg into the pear tree and the other into one of the passionfruit shrubs.
They say it takes up to eight weeks for anything to show up. Oh my, by then all my veggies will be eaten already. Either by the mystery bugs or by us.
I read that Praying mantis have a huge appetite, eating almost any other insect. Waiting patiently in quiet ambush for hours and when an insect innocently comes wandering by they suddenly jump out and attack.
Praying Mantises can be grey, green, even pinkish and turn darker with age. While they 'blend' into vegetation, you may not even be able to spot them. Cool, because I can just see the ducks wanting to munch the mantises.
OMG, the whole Homestead turns into a bloody massacre... And we had peace in mind when we started out...
They got their name because at rest, they appear to be "praying", holding their "hands" together. Maybe they are praying for more bugs?
TO BE CONTINUED ...
"Nature never says one thing and wisdom another." Decimus Junius Juvenalis