TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The weather has been perfect to get outside and possibly do some yard work. But there may be some beneficial bugs laying underneath all those leaves and twigs.
This is a picture of a praying mantis egg case and you may find several of these clinging to twigs or branches in your garden or yard this time of year.
(Photo courtesy of Dr. Peter Coppinger)
Praying mantises have a very big appetite and they help gardeners and farmers by eating moths, mosquitoes, and other problematic garden insects.
Dr. Peter Coppinger, an associate professor at Rose Hulman tells us a very important insect that is currently hibernating.
“One of the most important, I think, are solitary bees. So when you think of bees you think about bees and hives. But there is a lot of native solitary bees that are really good pollinators. And right now those are hiding out in the leaf litter and in some hollowed twigs in the plants that are in your garden.”
Dr. Coppinger also tells us how we can clean up the outdoor debris, but still let those important insects sleep.
“You can loosely package those up and put those gently in a compost pile. If you don’t kill the insects when you were moving that leaf litter, they will still emerge.”
Storm Team 10 Meteorologist David Siple went over to the Apple House in Terre Haute to talk to Ryan Cummins to see if there is anything else people can do this time of the year. His advice is very similar to what Dr. Coppinger said.
“If you’ve got some place you can take and lay that material and that will allow those beneficial insects that haven’t quite woken up yet that they’ll wake up and become a part of your landscape and give you the benefits that they can do.”
Lastly, both Coppinger and Cummins about when we will likely see most insects up and awake. Both had the same answer.
“Once we get about 5 to 7 days above 50 degrees in a row and everything and by that time then they are going to get started."