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Most of you probably recognize this little insect as a praying mantis. But can you tell how small it is? The milkweed flower bud next to it is roughly 1/3 inch long.

The praying mantis is looking for an insect to eat. As it eats and grows, it will shed its exoskeleton or outer "skin." Unlike some insects that change a lot when they grow, the mantis will stay about the same. The biggest change will be that it will have wings when it becomes an adult.

Notice the triangle-shaped head with the large eyes. Those eyes could definitely see me trying to take its picture. It kept hiding behind the flower buds, so I had trouble getting a good photo.

Also notice the front legs tucked up under its body. The praying part of the mantis name comes from that posture. It actually uses those legs to grab prey.

praying mantis nymph

lacewingI just have to share the beautiful insect I found this morning on my hollyhocks. Look at the rainbow colors in her wings and her shiny golden eyes. She is so delicate and ethereal.

The lacewing is one of the many insects considered to be beneficial that you may find in your yard. Her larvae feed on other insects such as aphids, whiteflies and lacebugs. The larvae are like tiny alligators with curved jaws sticking out in front. If I find one, I'll try to get a picture to add here.

bee in airThis morning I took a few minutes from my daily grind to take a few photographs. The garden is in full bloom and a loud buzzing attracted me to the side garden. Here is what I found. Do you know what it is?

This tiny bee is known as a digger bee. The flower it is visiting is a penstemon. Digger bees are fun to watch because they are cute and furry. This one was definitely aware of me. It came over and checked me out a couple of times. I wonder what I looked like to it?

If you are interested in bees, you should check out my lesson plans titled "Africanized Honey Bees on the Move." Some of the lessons have information about solitary bees such as this one.