Prime Time for Predators and Prey

September 22, 2013

Part of the fun of encouraging biodiversity is seeing all the little critters this time of year.  I try to have something blooming from March through November, if possible, and that gives opportunities for many species to survive.
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The sedum is even busier this weekend.  This praying mantis has been sitting on the sedum all weekend.  It did not actually snatch anything while I was watching.  The painted lady butterfly was on the sedum all weekend, too.

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Side view of painted lady butterfly on sedum.

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Also on the sedum were this little skipper butterfly and many kinds of bees and flies.  I can see why the praying mantis hangs out here.  There was also a little yellow sulphur butterfly, I am not exactly sure which kind of sulphur it was.  I can’t show pictures all the species that were on the sedum!

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Praying mantis blends in on miscanthus “morning light” ornamental grass.  This one has a reddish brown color and looks a bit like a leaf or twig.

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Last week I was cleaning up some leaves and scared out this brown paying mantis that has been hanging in the hostas and yew plants, where there are a lot of crickets and spiders.

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I have seen clear-winged moths flying around the yard this week, so I decided to look for tomato hornworms.  I found one right away on the tomato plant, but the predator wasps had found it first and laid their eggs in it.  You can see the white babies hatching out of the hornworm and using it as nutrition to get their start in life.  It’s a wild world….

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Last week I mentioned that I found a black swallowtail caterpillar and moved it to this bunch of parsley.

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What a surprise later in the week to find I had not one but four black swallowtail caterpillars chewing on my parsley.  Can you see three in this picture?  I have a little less parsley to eat, but hope some of them make it to the butterfly stage.

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These spiders make the really big webs all over the garden.  This week I found her in the vegetable garden with a web across the path between two huge kale plants.

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It was beautiful weather on Saturday, so Dan and I bought some half-inch pvc pipe and put up hoops so we are ready to cover plastic over this part of the garden when the frosts come.  While we were getting started Dan saw the end of a snake slip into the kale behind us.  I have not seen the snake this year, but am glad it is there, even though I really don’t like to meet up with it!  I also have seen several little toads around the yard, so I know the visiting cats have not eliminated all the biodiversity.

Cooking:  Dan just cooked a delicious kale and potato soup to last us though the busy days of the week.

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10 Responses to “Prime Time for Predators and Prey”

  1. Annette said

    I very much enjoyed the pic of the two feeding on the sedum – well spotted. Tanks for sharing 🙂

  2. I did research on spider web building with that type of spider when I was in college! =-)

  3. bittster said

    I hate the idea of getting ready for frosts…..
    I know I should like the idea of wasps saving my tomato plants, but I wouldn’t wish that death on anyone, and seeing the white wasp cocoons always gives me the creeps!

    • I am always cheering for the hornworm. I know they survive sometimes because I see the clear-winged moths around the garden. As far as getting ready for winter, I did not mind doing it on a sunny day with my helpful, handsome husband. I hate having to deal with it when a cold wind is blowing and my hands are freezing!

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