Why is that twig moving? Because it’s not a twig! Northern walkingsticks, or stick bugs, are common throughout North America, but they are not often seen. They have the ultimate camouflage, blending right in to the tree they are foraging on! Females lay single eggs on the forest floor and the eggs over winter in the leaf litter. When the eggs hatch in May the young climb up the nearest tree and feed on the leaves. Stick bugs are leaf skeltonisers, eating the leaf tissue between the veins. Adult insects seem to prefer oak and hazelnut trees. Young insects are green, and go through four to six molts as they grow to be brown adults, approximately 3 inches in length.
We don’t often see these fascinating insects around the Discovery Center, but this year it seems like we are seeing one every week! Since these insects don’t fly and move fairly slowly, we wonder if eggs hatched somewhere nearby this spring and we have been lucky enough to watch them grow. Whatever the reason for finding them this season, we are grateful to be able to observe this interesting insect!