While pruning a low-lying juniper shrub in our yard last weekend, I came across a curious pod attached to the underside of one of the branches. It measured about an inch long and had a hard shell and flaky appearance.
I searched online to try and identify the mystery pod and found of a praying mantis egg sac that seemed to be a match.
Praying mantises live for 6 months to one year. The female will lay her eggs on any number of surfaces including stems, twigs, rocks, fences, or walls before dying after the autumn frosts arrive. The eggs are encased in a foamy substance called ootheca that hardens and serves as insulation for the eggs throughout the winter months. Each casing can hold dozens to hundreds of eggs.
As temperatures warm come springtime, the praying mantis babies emerge from the sac fully formed, hungry, and ready to hunt. Only about 20 percent of the nymphs survive to adulthood.
The predatory praying mantis is a good friend to gardeners and eats other insects that can wreak havoc on a landscape. I’m delighted by this discovery in my yard and left the egg casing undisturbed. I’m checking it daily to look for signs of hatching mantises, but haven’t seen any movement so far. Stay tuned.
SOS seeking caps and gowns
Support Our Seniors is a local parent group dedicated to fundraising and creating safe and fun activities for the graduating high school class of 2021.
Gardnerville Ranchos resident Manya Brooks is a member of SOS and parent of a Douglas High School senior. She is coordinating the group’s effort to collect gently used caps and gowns to help offset the cost of the upcoming graduation ceremony.
Brooks acknowledged the generosity of Carson Valley residents and businesses in supporting the efforts of SOS since it first formed in October 2020.
“Our community has been very kind and a lot of people have donated money,” she said.
Brooks said SOS is hopeful people will look through their closets and be willing to part with their cap and gown in order to help a graduating student in need. Donated items can be dropped off at: Carson Valley Golf Course on Riverview Drive in the Gardnerville Ranchos, Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce on Hwy 395 in Gardnerville, or Play It Again Sports on Topsy Lane in Carson City.
Those wishing to donate items but unable to bring them to one of the collection sites can coordinate with Brooks, who will pick up donations from your location. Call her at 775-265-3181 to make arrangements.
For more information about SOS, email the group at email@example.com. You can also find them on Facebook or Instagram.
Amy Roby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.