–by Frannie Miller
–by Frannie Miller
Praying Mantis Egg Case – This is an ootheca or egg case of a praying mantis. They typically lay their eggs in late summer or fall, and the young develop inside during the winter months. A total of 100 to 200 tiny praying mantises can hatch from an egg case similar to the one pictured.
–by Frannie Miller
Jumping Spider – This is the Bold Jumper also known as the Daring Jumping Spider. They are relatively small, compact hunting spiders. They exhibit iridescent chelicerae (see the green coloring). These spiders tend to hunt during the day. More information about common spider families in Kansas can be found by visiting: https://bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/ep125.pdf
— by Dr. Raymond Cloyd
Japanese Beetle: Insect Pest of Horticultural Plants and Turfgrass (MF3488)
The Japanese beetle is one of the most destructive insect pests of horticultural plants and turfgrass. This publication provides
Information to help identify damage caused by larva and adults with strategies for managing Japanese beetle populations: https://bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/Item.aspx?catId=524&pubId=22599
— by Raymond Cloyd
Praying mantid adults are 3 to 4 inches (76 to 102 mm) long, elongated, slow-moving generalist insect predators that wait for prey with their upraised front legs (Figure 1).
Fig 1. Praying Mantid with Front Legs Upraised (Auth–Raymond Cloyd, KSU)
They eat “anything” they can grab onto with their raptorial front legs including: flies, crickets, moths (Figure 2),
Fig 2. A Praying Mantid Eating a Moth (Auth–Raymond Cloyd, KSU)
butterflies, wasps, and caterpillars. In addition, praying mantids will feed on honey bees entering and leaving hives. Praying mantid females lay between 200 and 300 eggs that are covered by a hardened, Styrofoam-like egg case or ootheca produced by the female. The egg cases can be found on branches (Figure 3),
Fig 3. Praying Mantid Egg Case on Branch (Auth–Raymond Cloyd, KSU)
stems, walls, fences, sides of houses (Figure 4),
Fig 4. Praying Mantid Egg Case Attached To Side of House (Auth–Raymond Cloyd, KSU)
and eaves. Egg cases may be present from November through April. Nymphs hatch (eclose) from eggs in three to 10 weeks depending on temperature. Nymphs that emerge in spring resemble miniature adults (Figure 5).
Fig 5. Praying Mantid Nymphs That Have Emerged From Egg Case (Auth–Josh’s Frogs)
However, not all the nymphs will survive to become adults because they are susceptible to predation by vertebrates (birds, toads, and lizards) and predacious insects. Praying mantids overwinter as eggs.
Egg cases can vary in size and shape depending on species. The egg case of the Carolina mantid, Stagmomantis carolina, is tan to light-brown, about 1.0 inch (25 mm) long, rectangular or elongated, rounded at the top and bottom, and there is a distinct white to gray band that extends down the center of the egg case (Figure 6).
Fig 6. Egg Case of The Carolina Mantid (Auth–The Amazing Plant Project)
The egg case of the Chinese mantid, Tenodera aridifolia sinensis, is light-brown, approximately 1-1/2 inches (38 mm) long, half-domed shaped, with one end tapered (Figure 7).
Fig 7. Egg Case of Chinese Mantid on Branch (Auth–Raymond Cloyd, KSU)
Egg cases can be purchased from garden centers, nurseries, or mail order sources (Figure 8). Most egg cases for sale are associated with the Chinese mantid, which is not native to North America; however, the species has become naturalized in most regions. The purchase of praying mantid egg cases is not recommended because praying mantids will not effectively regulate most insect pest populations or will not kill enough insect pests to prevent damage. Nonetheless, having praying mantids in the garden provides an educational opportunity for people to observe nature in action!
Fig 8. Product Containing Egg Cases of The Chinese Mantid (Auth–Raymond Cloyd, KSU)
Well, how can I collect and preserve praying mantid egg cases? You can remove the egg case, bring them into the home, and place into a glass jar with a lid that has least 10 small air holes. The warm temperatures inside the home will cause the nymphs to hatch from eggs in four to six weeks. You can delay egg hatch by placing the egg cases into a refrigerator and remove one to two months before you want the eggs to hatch. This will ensure that nymphs are released when the weather is warm so there is no risk of exposure to cold temperatures. The nymphs that emerge will be very hungry. Therefore, immediately release them into the garden, as long as they will not be exposed to freezing temperatures. However, if the nymphs are not released promptly or provided with a food source, they will eat each other (cannibalism) leaving just one large nymph that will not eat for a month.
–by Raymond Cloyd
The larvae (caterpillars) of the Eastern tent caterpillar, Malacosoma americanum, have hatched from eggs are feeding on the leaves of trees and shrubs (Figure 1).
Fig 1. Eastern Tent Caterpillar Feeding On New Leaves (Auth–Raymond Cloyd, KSU)
After caterpillar’s hatch from eggs, they create a distinct white, silken nest (or tent) in the branch crotches of trees and shrubs (Figure 2)
Fig 2. Eastern Tent Caterpillar Tent or Nest (Auth–Raymond Cloyd, KSU)
including: birch, crabapple, hawthorn, mountain ash, poplar, willow, and flowering cherry, peach, and plum. The nest protects caterpillars from cold temperatures.
Caterpillars are black with a distinct light stripe that extends the length of the back and there are blue markings on the side of the body (Figure 3).
Fig 3. Eastern Tent Caterpillar (Auth–Raymond Cloyd, KSU)
There are five instars (stages between each molt). Eastern tent caterpillar is one of our earliest caterpillar defoliators, feeding on newly-emerged leaves, which reduces the ability of trees and shrubs to produce food by means of photosynthesis. Although feeding damage may not directly kill a tree or shrub, a decrease in photosynthesis can predispose plants to secondary pests such as wood-boring insects. Leaf quality can influence tree and shrub susceptibility to feeding. For instance, black cherry trees grown in the shade are less fed upon by Eastern tent caterpillars due to lower leaf nutritional quality.
The young or early instar (1st through 3rd) caterpillars are active during the daytime and reside in the silken nest at night. During the day caterpillars emerge from the silken nest and feed on plant leaves. On over-cast or cloudy days, caterpillars will remain inside the silken nest. The final instar (5th) caterpillar only feeds at night. The length time of time that caterpillars spend feeding increases 4-fold between the 1st and 5th instars. However, feeding activity is contingent on temperature with caterpillars feeding longer under warmer temperatures than cooler temperatures. Eastern tent caterpillar overwinters as an egg mass attached to the branches or small twigs (Figure 4). There is one generation per year in Kansas.
Fig 4. Eastern Tent Caterpillar Egg Mass Attached To Branch (Auth–Raymond Cloyd, KSU)
The silken nests can be physically removed or disrupted by hand. You can destroy, disrupt, or open-up the silken nest using a rake or a forceful water spray. The young exposed caterpillars are susceptible to consumption by birds whereas the later instars are less fed upon because the hairs on the body deter birds from feeding on them.
Spray applications of the bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki, or spinosad are effective in killing small (young) caterpillars and suppressing minor infestations of Eastern tent caterpillar. These insecticides are stomach poisons so caterpillars must ingest the material to be negatively affected. However, when caterpillars are mature and approximately 2 inches long, then pyrethroid-based insecticides (e.g. bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, and lambda-cyhalothrin) will need to be applied. It is important to apply insecticides when caterpillars are active during the daytime to increase exposure to the insecticide. For more information on managing Eastern tent caterpillar populations contact your county or state extension specialist.
–by Frannie Miller
Harlequin Bug – This is an image of a Harlequin Bug. It feeds on cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and kale. They injure the plants by sucking the plant juices causing white stipples on the leaves. In small plantings, one good way to control them may be by hand picking the adults and crushing the egg masses. If you want to find out more information about their life cycle or controls consult the Harlequin Buy publication at: https://bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF3135.pdf
–by Dr. Raymond Cloyd
Insect and Mite Pests of Vegetable Gardens (MF3480 February 2020)
This publication explains how to detect potential problems and how to identify pests in vegetable gardens based on the type of plant damage. A discussion of pest life cycles provides information that can be used to select appropriate plant protection strategies.