Today I made a quick trip to the Trial Gardens at North Park here in Pittsburgh. They were looking very nice! While I was there, I found this beautiful little polished ladybug (Cycloneda munda) hunkered down in the center of an aphid-infested Angelica bloom. How lucky for her to be surrounded by so many little snacks!
A few short weeks ago the praying mantid egg case I purchased at a local plant nursery hatched out hundreds of young mantids. When they first appeared, they were a mere quarter inch long. I found this one today and he is already an inch long. Notice the drop of water clinging to his “armpit”? Since it hasn’t rained here in quite some time, the droplet must be dew. These Chinese mantids are one of two common species found here in the East. The other is the European mantid. Both, as you can probably tell from their names, are imported species. Here in the U.S., we have about 20 native mantid species with only the Carolina mantid being found here in Pennsylvania (and only rarely at that). Most native mantids are southern species
I discovered this lovely green lacewing clinging to a flowering tobacco leaf this morning. Though I often see them flying around my outdoor lights at night, I seldom see them during the day. Their larva are predators of aphids, whiteflies, thrips, and other garden pests and the adults enjoy sipping nectar from flowers at night. I love the lacy wings, metallic eyes, and slender antennae of this very good bug!