Praying Mantis Morning Surprise

Sometime last fall the kids spotted this interesting thing on the branch of a bush as we were leaving church.  Never short of curiosity, they convinced me that we had to take it home and see what it was.  Unfortunately, after bringing it home we got distracted, sat it in the “nature window” and never did get around to looking into what it was.  Today we learned a very valuable lesson about leaving things in the window that we aren’t sure of.

Mark got up before me but came quickly back to the bedroom and announced, “I don’t want to alarm you, but something has hatched in the ‘nature window’ and there are critters all over out there!”  Yeah, not exactly a calm way to wake up and I admit, I was alarmed!  Upon further inspection we agreed that the little insects looked just like mini praying mantids.  Thankfully it was cool enough still that they were pretty lethargic and it seemed like some were even dying already.

Mark had to remind me to grab the camera, I was a bit in shock.  Then I only took a close-up picture so you’ll have to imagine the whole garden window ledge plus the floor in front of it, covered with them.

At first we couldn’t tell where they came from since there were plenty of options with nuts, pinecones, sticks, etc. in there.  Eventually we saw the sawdust-like shavings on this egg case and knew.  So after some interesting research and discussion with the kids, we declared science for the day, DONE.  As creepy as it was, it was also kind of interesting to learn about them this way.  Lesson learned.

After things had settled down I remembered last fall a friend of ours catching a praying mantis for a school project for his kids, in that same bush.  Of course!

~Maria

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