Authors in Bloom Blog Hop: Spring Brings Good Bugs

Authors in Bloom Blog Hop BadgeAfter such a snowy winter ⛄ (Boston broke a record with something like 108 inches this season!), those of us in New England are very much looking forward to spring. Some are likely looking for that first telltale sign of a robin hopping along the grass, or maybe the brightly colored daffodils anxious to reach the sun ☀. For me, I’m eagerly waiting for the birth of a new crop of praying mantises.

That’s right, when I think of spring, I think about bugs. 😀 Late May/early June is always an exciting time in my garden because that’s when the little mantises emerge from their egg sacks (easily identified on various bushes now that I know what to look for).

Years ago praying mantises used to be a rare sight. The rumors in school were that it was illegal to kill a mantis or pick a lady slipper flower (found in the swampy areas around town). Now it would seem strange to me not to see a mantis in my garden since they’ve been a regular fixture for many years. Even seeming to increase in numbers, although that might just be me noticing them ore often.

Certainly canceling the pest control service that was spraying our house foundation for ants has helped the mantis population stay healthy. Nowadays, I prefer organic pest control methods and a hardy group of praying mantises is a great help.

There is one small downside: while they are voracious insect eaters, they aren’t choosy about what they eat. One of my mantises’ favorite hangouts is the butterfly bush. Yup, guess what’s on there menu there every day? 😀 Fortunately, the butterfly population is also very healthy around here, too, thanks to a garden full of butterfly-friendly flowers.

The mantises also like to hang out on my cucumber vines and that’s a good place for them to be to keep pesky aphids and other troublesome bugs away from the veggies. Occasionally, they nab a bumblebee coming to fertilize the blooms, but mostly they hang out under the leaves and the bees come and go without incident.

Two praying mantises hanging on a cucumber vine

A doubly well-protected cucumber vine

An insect you may not think of as helfpful to the garden is the common yellow jacket wasp. I know…ooo-ahhh, wasps, they’re nasty, they’re mean. Actually, I think they’re largely misunderstood. As a child I was petrified of wasps (I mean, panic-stricken to the point of freezing like a statue, on the verge of fainting the moment I saw one enter a classroom window, whether it came near me or not.) Finally I decided to confront my fear and learn more about the yellow jacket. I reasoned that it had to have a purpose or why was it here. Surely not just to torment us (although I haven’t found a reason yet for ticks).

I learned that yellow jackets, while they eat nectar like bees, their young are voracious meat-eaters. So, to feed the offspring in the nest, adult yellow jackets go out and gather up other insects. I personally saw a yellow jacket pluck a large broccoli worm off my plants and fly off with it. Thank you, Ms. Yellow Jacket! They also love to eat those nasty tent moth caterpillars that destroy so many tress in New England each summer. How can you not love that?

So, while they might be a bit on the aggressive side, a yellow jacket is not something you should just squash indiscriminately. Like bumblebees, praying mantises and ladybugs, they serve an important role in your backyard garden.

Blog Hop Giveaways

What’s a blog hop without a few prizes, right?

Leave a comment here on my page about what you’re looking forward to most this spring and then visit ALL the other pages of the blog hop (and comment!) and you’ll be entered into a drawing for the Grand Prize: an ereader of their choice (up to $200 value) with second prize a $25 gift card to the ebook retailer of their  choice.

NOTE: Be sure to include your email address in the comments areas of the blog hop participants so you can be contacted if you win.

Only visitors who visit every stop on the blog hop are eligible for the grand prize.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE OTHER BLOGS IN THE HOP

Beaded "Caterpillar Eye" Earrings by Catherine ChantVisitors to my blog here, are eligible to win:

A pair of handmade beaded “Caterpillar Eye” earrings.

To enter MY DRAWING, leave a comment for one chance to win. Like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter or join my monthly newsletter for additional entries. A Rafflecopter has been set up to make entering easy:

***Enter my drawing via
this Rafflecopter Giveaway
***

 

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE OTHER BLOGS IN THE HOP FOR MORE PRIZES!!!

The winner of my giveaway will be announced in the comments section of this post on April 18. The winners of the eReader and second prize will be announced on the blog hop organizer website: www.diannevenetta.com by April 20. Good luck!! 😀

49 comments

  • Loving this Blog Hop idea.

    Liked by 1 person

  • kimberlykcomeau

    Like you, I cherish my praying mantises, and am glad to see their population increasing in my garden, as well. I didn’t know that about yellow jackets, and will view them more kindly in the future, even though I’m allergic to their sting. Snakes are another species I hold in high regard, and I go out of my way to protect those that live in my yard.
    casey 4 4 6 at hot mail dot com

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like snakes, too. I’ve rescued a few from the outdoor cats and let them go under the shed. We have a large mole population (based on the cats’ “gifts” so the snakes help keep that in check.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • kimberlykcomeau

        Have you ever tried growing mole plants? I don’t have moles, thank goodness (and didn’t have any before buying the plant), but I grow mole plants because they’re visually interesting. They grow as a single stalk, straight up, then branch at the top, bloom, and seed. The main stalk looks a bit like a lily without the showy bloom.

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      • No, I’ve never heard of those. I’ll have to give that a try. Thanks for the tip!!

        Like

  • Catherine, when I think ‘spring’, I think ‘bugs’ too… but in my case, the bugs are carpenter ants. Since my husband (oh-so-smart-man-that-he-thinks-he-is) removed a dead tree stump from our back woods a few years ago, the ants (who had made the stump their home) decided to seek revenge and headed for our house. Now every spring we must call the ‘Ant Man’, who cometh with his spray filled with pesticides. I can only hope that it is not something that will harm the environment, but I don’t ever want to see ants crawling up the walls of my kitchen again!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Cnnamongirl(at)aol(dot)com

    I always look forward to Spring and planting my garden. We live in the country and have snakes too . They don’t bother us though. Ants seem to get into my home to in the Spring ! Interesting facts you shared about the praying mantises and the yellow jackets. I wasn’t aware of these !

    Liked by 1 person

  • I have only seen a couple of praying mantis in our yard, one was hanging around our hummingbird feeder, I wasn’t happy about that.
    skpetal at hotmail dot com

    Liked by 1 person

    • That can be a little unsettling. I have seen a video where a praying mantis caught a bird (yikes!), but I think that would be rare. Let’s hope your mantis was just there to catch the flies that were after the hummingbird food. 🙂

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  • Thanks for the hop. I get introduced to a lot of authors I have yet to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  • To be honest, while I do know mantises are actually useful, I can’t really suffer them much. I’m not one to kill bugs unnecessarily, but I do run away while screaming if I see a praying mantis…especially because they are so well versed in hiding themselves I usually do not even notice them until I’m almost or even actually touching one. I may sound childish, but they look scary to me :/
    Thanks for taking part in this fun event! I love hops!

    ellis_dream (at) hotmail (dot) com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Completely understandable. They are quite large when full grown. And the way they cock their heads and look at you when you make a noise is almost alien-like. We just have plain brown and green mantises here, but some of the mantises in tropical areas are pretty ultra-freaky looking.

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  • Great way to meet different authors. Thanks for the giveaway.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Every spring I anxiously look for Robins dancing and singing in the yard, and crocus and daffodils peeking out (sometimes from under snow). Once I see those things, I know spring is close. After that, I just love to see all the colors of plants, flowers, and trees.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love looking forward to the Robins, too. I know they are over wintering birds, but you never really see them then because they don’t look for food on the ground, but when you see Robins all running across your lawn (we had about a dozen the other day), you know spring is finally here! 🙂

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  • Thanks for the giveaway.

    I am not so much scared of yellow jackets so much as hold a wary respect for them. I’ve seen the result of disturbing a nest of them and there is nothing like watching a group of people run screaming in the opposite direction while trying to avoid getting stung.

    Praying Mantis are adorable bugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, a large nest would be scary. I let them set up small nests under the eaves on our shed (away from the door). The narrow overhang stops them from getting too big (they wont expand it where it’ll get wet). If they try to build in a larger space like the roof of the jungle gym then I hit the (developing) nest with the jet stream from the hose. Discourages them from staying at that site but doesn’t wipe them out so they still pull their weight in the garden. If they get stubborn about it I may have to break out the Raid, but that’s a last resort. Most of the time they move on without a problem.

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  • notsuchatabularasa

    omg, those are some creepy earrings. I’d wear them, but they’re staring at me from that picture… I’m not a big fan of bugs – I understand that everything has some level of importance, and I’m happy to let them all live as long as they don’t come near me 😛 Went out with a friend last year to this kinda childish restaurant that uses kool aid and tang in their mixed drinks. There was a yellow jacket at the table, and we both freaked out until realizing one kinda sad thing – it was drunk. Poor thing.

    I don’t see the wildlife I used to as spring kicks in, living downtown in a big city. I used to love seeing all the squirrels out again, and the baby bunnies and fawns. There were these cute little birds that hung out around my college, and I loved sitting outside when it was nice just watching them. They were adorable 🙂 Miss hummingbirds, too. My parents always had a feeder up for them, and they’d hang out in our dogwood tree. One day, my dad went outside and saw that one of the neighbor’s cats was creeping up to the dogwood. A baby hummingbird fell out of the tree. Dad saved it, and we got to hold the cute thing – they’re so fluffy! We had to help it get food, because it was too weak to fly. Every year after that, there was always this one hummingbird that would come down and hang out if we were outside. Dad always said it was the one we saved, that it remembered us. Love animals 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  • I am really looking forward to my lilac blooming again, and getting out to play disc golf with the kids!!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Thanks for being a part of the hop!

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

    Liked by 1 person

  • This spring I’m looking forward to bike riding with the hubby. It’s more his thing than mine but it’s good exercise!

    books4me67 at ymail dot com

    Liked by 1 person

  • I see Praying Mantis in my garden, but they usually scare me. They look so much like a stick that I don’t realize what they are until they move!!!

    Judy Cox

    Liked by 1 person

  • the flowers

    Liked by 1 person

    • I look forward to seeing flowers in the garden, too. I have a few perennials that come back year after year (daylilies and creeping phlox always do well in our horrible soil), and I like to plant zinnias and sunflowers every year.

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  • Blog hops are fun, but at times they have WAY too many participants to get to all of them in a fairly short time.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I am looking forward to the beautiful spring flowers and colorful shrubs. Thanks for the great giveaway!

    Liked by 1 person

  • I’m looking forward to the flowers. I’ve never seen a lady slipper flower before.
    bituin76 at hotmail dot com

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think lady slippers are still rare, but not sure if they’re still “endangered.” When I was a child we were told never to pick them because they were endangered. Then last summer I was out walking with friends and we saw several of them in this woodsy area in the neighborhood. Felt like a special event because you don’t see them that often. 🙂 They like damp, marshy pine forests (going by what my childhood town was like and the area we saw them in recently). They are very pretty, though. Delicate and give a unique burst of color to what at first glance is an ordinary pine forest.. http://www.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/pink_ladys_slipper.htm

      Liked by 1 person

  • I live in Florida where the 3 seasons are Hot, Really Hot and Hella Hot…so my fave thing to do is read at the beach!

    Thanks for the amazing giveaway!
    elizabeth(at)bookattict(dot)com

    Liked by 1 person

  • I have to say I love to watch a mantis something so primal and peaceful about them thank you for your post!

    mortalsinn(AT)yahoo.com

    Liked by 1 person

  • I didn’t know that about yellow jackets. Anything that helps keep the bad bugs out of my garden is welcome.
    elfgurl3(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Liked by 1 person

  • Those earrings are so cute! I love them! eendrizzi79@gmail.com

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  • One thing im looking forward to is the warm! lol Also going yard saling. I love doing that! lol Thank you for sharing!
    shadowluvs2read(at)gmail(dot)com

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  • Congratulations to Alisha S.! You are the winner of the caterpillar eye earrings. I will be in touch via email to get your mailing details to send you your prize.

    Thank you, everyone, for joining us on this fun, springtime blog hop. I hope you had as much fun as I did picking up some new gardening tips and recipes. Looking forward to doing it again next year. 😀

    Like