Thursday, February 7, 2019

Beneficial insect egg masses on pecan trees.

    While walking through my pecan grove, I spotted two very distinctive egg masses attached to the twigs of my trees. The egg mass pictured at right looks like a strange tumor growing from the pecan twig. This is actually the egg mass of a praying mantis, a common insect predator. The mantis is most often found on young pecan trees because I have rarely seen adults in the canopies of large mature trees. It may be that the praying mantis doesn't like heights and confines its search for prey and egg-laying sites to lower limbs or tall weeds.
     I also spotted a cluster of neatly deposited eggs of the wheel bug (photo at left). I have found this insect predator at all heights in pecan trees, even in the tallest of native trees. The wheel bug will attack and consume anything that moves in pecan trees including aphids, fall webworm and walnut caterpillar.
   Like pecan trees, these egg masses are in deep dormancy waiting for the arrival of spring. But its good to know, I'll have some beneficial insects in my pecan trees come next summer.