Kinda buggy
Today I was sitting on the floor playing with Eliza, the big girls were outside and all was relatively quite, except this pesky tapping. It sounded a bit like dripping, which made me think it needed further investigation. Then, several visions of a plague like the one Laura Ingalls Wilder describes when swarms of grasshoppers descend on the prairie popped into my head–I’ve admittedly had some trepidation since our praying mantis larvae arrived a few weeks ago. “75-200 nymphs could hatch” conjures an image in my mind…

After finding this kit on clearance several months ago, it was finally time to order the egg pod a few weeks back. We love Insect Lore, and when I see different kits on sale, I can’t resist. So, we’ve just been waiting since the seed pod came in, and just when we aren’t paying attention we have a net bag packed full of hundreds of these creepy/cool little nymphs, the tapping was a bountiful hatching of the tiniest little asian looking bugs you’ve ever seen, not nasty like maggots or grubs or other baby insects, but kinda cute–just mini-praying mantids. (yep, learned that’s the plural of mantis too).

coaxing leviah to hold one.

You have to release most of them immediately. They’re carnivores, and if they’re hungry they eat each other. They can be fantastic for the garden, and we’re hoping the countless ones hopping all over our garden right now stick around to keep the pests down. (well, maybe not all of them, there are SO many) But, we kept 5 in the netting to watch them grow. Fortunately Drew was home early to help the girls out with this project. I’ll say, we were all warming up to the little guys though.

The difficult part is they will need constant nourishment from other bugs. We read you can feed them raw meat, so we put a smidge of that in right now as catching tiny bugs like fruit flies is tricky. Soon they’ll be able to eat larger bugs–we’re hopeful ants will work. Heaven knows they won’t starve in our house if they eat ants…

in search of good food for them.

Anyway, so now we’re learning about praying mantises and how magnificent they are.
:: They’re the only insect that turns their neck to look over their shoulder. One did this on my finger today, it was crazy! nearly 180degrees to spot prey.
:: If you raise one, it can be semi-tame.
:: “They use their front legs to snare their prey with reflexes so quick that they are difficult to see with the naked eye. Their legs are further equipped with spikes for snaring prey and pinning it in place.” from here
:: The list goes on and on. This site has loads of records and such.
:: kid friendly praying mantis fact site.
:: and a decent coloring page. (there were loads more just googling)

2 Comments

  • Joy Posted May 2, 2012 3:33 pm

    How fun for your littles! You are a brave mama hatching all of those in the house. 🙂 I hope they help with the pests in your garden. Did you see the picture of the mantids hatching on Ginny's blog? http://www.gsheller.com/2012/04/grace.html

  • school house oils Posted May 2, 2012 4:54 pm

    I didn't see that! AWESOME! we missed that part at our house, it must have happened in the middle of the night, we checked on it one day and the next the net was full!

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