Toads are one of my favorite allies in the garden. They can eat up to three times their weight in insects and slugs each day! Some of their favorite treats include cucumber beetles, grasshoppers, earwigs, cut worms and Japanese beetles. So, it is no wonder the toads love our garden for it is besieged with Japanese beetles. They are all over the rose bushes and are enormous.
Recently this large toad decided to make a rabbits foot fern on our back deck home. It is shaded, moist and he doesn't seem to mind the foot traffic in and out the back door. I suspect he thinks it is a particularly good spot since it is a straight shot to the roses and dinner!
Another predator frequently seen crawling and jumping around in the garden is the praying mantis. They will eat beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, spiders, moths and butterflies. I like to think they eat more of the beetles, grasshoppers and crickets than the butterflies.
This past winter I found an egg sack in our garden which I now know was from a praying mantis (see Can you guess what this is post). This weekend while pruning some hedges we found not one,
but eight ootheca!
What was once an unusual find is now common place in our garden and I couldn't be more excited!
If you happen to find one of these egg sacks during spring pruning (or summer which is the case in my garden since it is one of my least favorite chores) or fall cleanup just tie it to a shrub or protected place in the garden. Then when the weather warms the eggs will hatch and you will have insect hunters to patrol your garden. Well, if they don't eat each other first...Happy Hunting!