Sunday, July 7, 2013

our favorite carnivore

At this time of year there are bugs of all kinds, everywhere. The one we dread most are the ones that eat a plant down to nothing. We see some that eat the leaves on plants and others that eat the stems. 

Either way it makes it difficult for the plant to bear fruit. If the leaves are filled with holes it makes it difficult for photosynthesis to occur. If the stem is chewed out it makes it difficult for the flow of water and nutrients to happen. 

Enter the praying mantis. One of these eats a ridiculous number of smaller insects, and it does so both day and night. They will select a spot and sit still in it, waiting for a bug to pass by. They grab it with their front arms that are covered with barbs (makes it tough to get away) and then eats the bug. A voracious eater, it will eat all night and during the day too. 

Loved by us. And a big reason why we don't use insecticide, either synthetic or organic. Because it kills the good bugs too, washes away or evaporates, and then the bad bug make many, and the praying mantis life cycle does not catch up. 

Of course, we hand pick bugs too. Everybody works on the farm. 

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