Currently viewing the tag: "WTB? Mt. Washington"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Honey Bees gather pollen from California Black Walnuts
Geographic location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 03/18/2018
While working in the garden Sunday, Daniel noticed a Honey Bee flying around the catkins of an endangered California Black Walnut.  He thought this was unusual since the male flowers have no nectar.  Upon doing some research, Daniel learned on several sites, including Bee Spoke Info and Beeginner Beekeeper, that Honey Bees gather pollen from such trees as alder, hazel and willow, but no mention of black walnuts.

Honey Bees gather pollen from Walnut Trees



What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Hatchling California Mantis
Geographic Location of the bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, CA
Date:  Monday, January 22, 2018
Time:  4:30 PM PST
This past Monday, while taking an unrelated photo of a model using a 4×5 camera and film, Daniel spotted a hatchling California Mantis on the patio roof.  It was scuttling along quite quickly and without a digital camera handy, the sighting went unrecorded.  The proximity of this sighting to the body of the female California Mantis that died without laying eggs has only fueled Daniel’s unrealistic hope that some eggs might hatch, protected by the body of their dead mother.  Though that is a remote fantasy, this is nonetheless an extremely early sighting for a Mantis hatchling in Southern California as we don’t normally see hatchlings until April, but this has been a warm and dry Southern California winter thusfar.  Lacking an image of the hatchling, we are posting a scanned photo from a 4×5 negative of the final resting place (an empty aquarium) of our female California Mantis that died after an unknown trauma caused her egg-filled abdomen to burst.  Meanwhile we will search for more hatchlings in the coming weeks.

Dead female California Mantis (filled with eggs)

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Eggbound California Mantid
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date:  November 11, 2017
We have been posting images of the female California Mantis that lived on our porch light for much of the early autumn season, including the 25,000th Posting on our site.  She continued to thrive on the insects attracted to the porch light, and three weeks later we posted an image of her devouring a mature Bush Katydid.  Two weeks later, we arrived home and she was not on the light, but she was perched below on the top of the broom handle, but something was clearly wrong.  Her abdomen had burst and we saw what we at first thought might be larvae of a parasite, but we later presumed were her unlaid eggs, but what caused this trauma?  Perhaps she fell from the light and burst open when she hit the ground.  We suspected she would soon die, and we put her on a camelia in the garden.  When we checked on her progress later in the evening, we found her bent double, licking her wound.

Wounded Female California Mantis

The next morning the Argentine Ants had discovered her and were crawling on her legs.  We knew she would lose that encounter, so we moved her to a potted willow where she lived a few more days and eventually vanished, only to be discovered clinging to the side of the house, dead, her eggs never laid.  We put her body in a protected location and we wonder if though unlaid, perhaps her eggs might hatch next spring, protected from the elements by her body instead of a frothy ootheca.

Injured Female California Mantis

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Update on our 25,000th Posting
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date:  10/28/2017
Time:  10:00 PM
Three weeks ago we went live with our 25,000th posting, and the female California Mantis that has been living on our porch light is still there.  We don’t know if she mated with the male from that posting, or ate him, or if he just flew off, but she is swelling.  We know she is eating well.  We have seen her eating a Painted Tiger Moth and we watched her catch another moth, but yesterday evening, we arrived home to find her feasting on a female Scudder’s Bush Katydid that was attracted to the light.  It seems she is ready to begin producing oothecae, and we can’t decide if we should relocate her to a shrub, or leave her and let nature take its course, but as the weather begins to cool, we fear she is nearing the end of her life and we hope she produces progeny.

Mantis Eats Katydid (image courtesy of Susan Lutz)


What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed Note: We knew that we were getting close to our 25,000th posting for a few months now, and we decided to check today, but we were caught by surprise to find out we were at 24,999.  We decided to make this one special, a little different from our usual identification requests, so we decided to post the images Daniel just shot of a pair of California Mantids at the porch light, and perhaps to wax philosophically about what we hope we are accomplishing by publishing our humble site, now beginning its 16th year as a unique website.

Female California Mantis on the porch light

For years we have been running images, generally late in the season, of California Mantids attracted to the porch light to catch insects.  Male Mantids that can fly are much more common than are flightless females that have a more difficult time reaching the light, so this female was something of an anomaly.  Later in the day, she was joined by a male California Mantis who was probably attracted by her pheromones.  We thought we would take this opportunity with this significant milestone of 25,000 postings to expound a bit on our philosophy of a healthy ecosystem in the garden.  Mature predators like these Mantids catch larger insects, and adult Mantids are much more visible in the garden, but the real significance of having predators is the number of smaller insects they consume while growing.  Young Mantids, barely a centimeter in length hatch in the spring, and they perform an incalculable benefit with the large numbers of tiny insects they eat while growing.  Having a healthy population of predators in your garden throughout the year will help control many insect pests without the use of pesticides.

A pair of California Mantids

Though we have numerous identification request awaiting our attention, we have decided to take the rest of the day off and let our 25,000th posting stand alone today.  We will return tomorrow and we will try to catch up on unanswered mail.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Praying Mantis
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, CA
October 2, 2017
2:38 PM
Hi Daniel,
I found a desiccated praying mantis caught in a thick spider web.  Must have been sticky… aren’t they strong enough to pull themselves out of a web?
Great Autumn day, my favorite time of the year.

Mantis Exuvia

Hi Monique,
Look more closely at your image.  See the split down the back and empty shell?  This is an exuvia, the shed exoskeleton of a Preying Mantis.  Somewhere in your garden, there is probably an adult Preying Mantis.  This is the time of year they are maturing, mating and laying eggs in an ootheca in preparation for the start of a new generation next spring.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination