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).
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…
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)