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When plants die.

Upside Down Praying Mantis on Dying Corn Plant
A camouflaged praying mantis, sits upside on a dead corn plant.

Sometimes plants die. It's something that every plant lover knows all too well and each time is as disappointing as the first. The image on the left is taken from my own personal garden. It was my first time growing corn, which obviously didn't turn out as I had planned, much to my disappointment.

It had rained for almost 2 weeks straight in my area and I had no chance to get out into the garden, although I didn't have to worry about watering, I had no chance to walk around and do my usual observing of the garden. Well, when I did finally go out into the garden I noticed that my corn had died, although there were many insects that took up residence on and around the lifeless plant.

A family of praying mantis had taken over the tassels of the corn. Many ladybugs were on the undersides of the leaves. Aphids had begun to spring up in all the nooks and crannies. This initially took me by surprise. Seeing this takeover of nature led me to create a video of this phenomena. Click here if you'd like to see what I'm talking about.

At the end of this experience I felt like I had learnt a valuable lesson. Now I no longer remove dead or decay plants from the garden bed(unless they are heavily infested in aphids that the ladybugs cannot control) and instead let the insects come in a utilise this 'new' niche that they seem to enjoy.

Next time you find a dying plant, or a spent harvest, consider leaving the debris in the bed, observe if any beneficial insects wish to take up residence in your garden. You may be surprised by what you find.