Praying Mantis are a favorite of mine. They are unique and interesting in appearance. I have often carried praying mantis specimens around my yard and posed them on garden blossoms for photographs. What I love most though, is how efficiently they rid my garden of unwanted pest insects.
This past Autumn, two female praying mantises laid egg cases near my back window. I also was lucky enough to find a few pods in the fields near my home. Of course, I transported these lucky finds home. Two of these have been kept on my windowsill in a decanter. Yesterday the egg cases hatched.
I don’t know exactly when the baby mantids began to emerge, but a hundred or more were born within a matter of an hour or two. Most stayed on, or near, the decanter, but several escaped into the house. After I took most into the garden, I spent a good half hour capturing as many as possible from the area near my kitchen sink. This morning, I noticed a few strays still walking on my ceiling.
I think the outdoor pods hatched a day or two before those kept indoors. The babies I spotted in the garden are bigger, deeper in color, and quicker in movement than their newly hatched neighbors.
I shook several of the baby mantids out of of the decanter into my square foot gardens. I want to garden organically, and the mantis will help with pest control. Right now, aphids and other small insects will be their major food source, but in a few short weeks, no insect will be safe from the powerful arms and jaws of the juvenile and adult mantids.
Here are a few walking about the patio, trying to find a new place to hide. I am sure, as they grow, I will find them and pose a few for photographs. I’ll keep their progress updated here on the blog.