One good thing about the recent deep freeze in Las Vegas is that the cold temperatures slowed the development of buds on my backyard apricot tree and gave me time for much-needed pruning. The day after the cold snap broke its grip, I got busy with my loppers and shears. Pruning helps me get reacquainted with the tree. I not only assess its overall condition and shape but also study each branch’s health and sturdiness. This year, my intimate examinations were rewarded with this unusual discovery.
Unfortunately, this egg case was deposited on a branch that required pruning from the tree: sticking straight up from its parent branch, it had crossed and was rubbing against another, better placed branch. I was about to add the severed branch to the waste pile when I reconsidered discarding the egg case. I wasn’t thinking “praying mantis,” but I didn’t want to destroy the next generation of some other beneficial insect. After all, the point of buying beneficial bugs and setting them free in the yard is so that their population will become self-sustaining. I needed to discover more information about this strange, yellowish attachment.
Fortunately, I found the Xtremehorticulture of the Desert blog and its feature article, “Praying Mantis Eggcase Confuses Reader.” No, not me: count me happy, though, that I am not alone in failing to recognize local mantis eggcases. The “Reader’s” photo (posted at the blog) and comment about finding the eggcase on a different variety of apricot tree reassured me about my own mantis find.
As a result, the offending branch has been woven back into the apricot tree’s canopy. Hopefully, the mantid nymphs will hatch on schedule and find my yard a happy home. I’m happy that gardening provides so many opportunities to learn something new about the world around us.