A few weeks ago I wrote this post about the monarch population in my backyard - monarchs in decline isn’t really news though…
It wasn’t until I was clearing out overgrown fennel in our garden this week that I discovered the real culprit…non-native mantises!
After cutting down stalks of fennel I found piles of both black swallowtail and monarch wings in the soil beneath the fennel.
This is the first summer this has happened…usually we have at least 20+ monarch chrysalises and dozens and dozens of swallowtail cats…all of whom eclose and go off into the world effortlessly.
In the future, should I destroy non-native mantid casings when I find them? Usually we enjoy watching them hatch, etc. but not if they are perching at the top of my fennel and grabbing every female butterfly who stops by to deposit her eggs!
Also…I made the horrible discovery of two spotted lanternflies (also non-native and pretty destructive - my county is in a ‘quarantine zone’)…so, would keeping the mantises possibly benefit me in a battle against lanternflies?!?
Also…discovered these informative links to back-up my mantid predation theory regarding the butterflies…