The wrong bug

Probably about ten years ago I was raking leaves on an unseasonably warm day in late October, and saw something unusual in my leaf pile. It was a praying mantis, the first I had ever seen in my yard, and it was exciting! This was before I had much of a garden, so I wasn't thinking about the beneficial aspects of having this critter around -- I was just excited about such a cool and "unusual" insect. I put that mantis in a jar, and fed it crickets almost daily for the next few weeks. When the freezing temps put an end to the native cricket supply I bought crickets from the pet store. The well-fed mantis repaid me by laying one egg case after another -- I got at least half a dozen cases before the mantis died.

Each year since then I've kept a careful watch for mantises at this time of year, hoping to catch and repeat my previous egg-laying experience. I succeed every other year or so, but I think it mainly comes down to luck. I've been hunting furiously this year, but have had no luck yet. I am seeing other interesting bugs though.


Like this stink bug. (I apologize for the less-than-perfect photos, as I used my point-and-shoot for these.)

At first I thought it was a unique species, something that I normally don't see in my yard.

Then I realized that it's probably just a nymph -- a young bug that hasn't reached its adult form yet -- and it most likely is a twice-stabbed stink bug, one of the most common stink bugs in my yard. It has an approximation of the markings of that species, and when looking for IDs on insects (and birds) always assume you're seeing the most common ones first -- it's almost always correct.

It may not be a twice-stabbed, but it's difficult with nymphs -- they molt several times, and can look really different than their adult forms (as I've seen before).

So although I'm not finding the right bugs, I at least am finding interesting ones.

(The mantis hunt continues. I'm looking for stick bugs too, but mantis is my primary target.)


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Christine  – (October 31, 2011 at 10:08 PM)  

These are great photos of thecstink bug!
I get lots of praying mantids in my garden ... But there are always only one in each bed (that's my observation).

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