Wednesday, September 17, 2008

ABC Wednesday: Mantis Invasion

I is for...


If you have been reading some of my earlier posts, you know that one of the changes in myself I've noticed since I began reading gardening blogs is an appreciation for insects. I've shown many insects from my garden in the last few months including an assassin bug, a mysterious beetle, cicadas, grasshoppers, and lots of bees. I've learned that insects aren't something you automatically squish with your shoe because they're "icky," but that most of them serve an important role in our ecosystem--well, maybe not Japanese beetles; they deserve to be squished!

This summer I have noticed in particular a large number of praying mantises. Normally, I might see one or two all summer, but this year I have seen at least a couple dozen in shades of brown or green and of all sizes. The fellow in the top photo appeared on my patio door yesterday. Stretched out as he was, he was at least six inches long! (And yes, if you think the photo is sideways--it is. The computer is in the shop, and I still haven't figured out a photo editing program on this computer that takes less than an hour to load!)

I decided he was better off amongst the plants, so I carefully removed him and placed him on the container of lantana near the door. He wasn't too happy with the stick I used to dislodge him with, but was happy with his new resting place.

He makes this guy on the sedum look like a 98 pound weakling by comparison. Whatever their size or color, they are all welcome in my garden as they eat unwanted pests. However, my friend Beckie reported that she saw one yesterday devouring a butterfly in her garden--not so nice! And I have yet to see one try to eat a Japanese beetle. I guess they're not perfect. The mantis above apparently prefers smaller prey because he was sitting on the same plant as the lovely butterfly below.

My favorite insect of all--the butterfly!

More ABC Wednesday posts can be found at Mrs. Nesbitt's Place.

Two special notes:

Today is the birthday of a special person, the best friend a girl could have. Drop over at Dragonflycorner and wish Beckie a happy birthday!

And tomorrow marks the 27th anniversary of the arrival of our third bundle of joy, our first daughter. Always energetic and smiling as a baby, she grew into a beautiful, talented and wonderful young lady who has made her parents very proud. Happy Birthday, dear Daughter!


  1. Great pics of the mantis. And Happy Birthday to Beckie and your bundle of joy now all grown up.

  2. I have a couple of mantis in the garden too Rose. It must be their time of year to be out and about, or maybe they are just getting large enough to be seen.

    I am glad you told me about Beckies birthday. I wished her well today. I hope you ladies got to get together and celebrate.

    Happy Birthday to your daughter too.

  3. Tina, Thanks. They're easy to photograph--they move very slowly:) It's hard to believe how quickly time goes when you see your children grow up.

    Lisa, I think you're right--I tend to see more of them this time of year.
    Beckie and I had lunch together today and had a great time. Unfortunately, Erika lives in Arizona, so I can only talk to her via the phone tomorrow.

  4. Informative post and Interesting Images for ABC Wednesday letter I.

    Bear((( )))

  5. I love the clear image of the first pic. I want to try sketching and that is perfect. I find I am learning a lot about insects and bugs form other people's blogs. I never paid attention too much before. Now I look at every leaf. : )

    Happy Birthday to the birthday girls. On my way to visit Beckie next.

  6. Happy Birthday to your dear First Daughter! I hope she has a wonderful day tomorrow. Thanks for the heads up re Beckie's birthday too! I wonder if she'll figure out whose been spreading rumours that it's her birthday. LOL!

    Liked your praying mantis pic. It's so clear. We haven't seen any this year. They all must be at your place.

  7. If you have more praying mantis in your garden, that's a good thing. It means less aphids and other plant eating bugs, except as you noted, those Japanese beetles. They probably taste as bad as they look.

    I'm heading over to wish Beckie a happy birthday now!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  8. I've been seeing a few of them, too. One even hitched a ride across town on the wiper blade of my car. Poor guy! I'll bet that was more excitement than he wanted!

    Your duaghter is very close in age to one of my sons. Happy birth anniversary, mom!

  9. Insects creep me out too! Ick! Love those flowers that the insect is on though. How pretty! I also love your blog header. Gorgeous! Hope you have a nice week. God bless.

  10. I couldn't leave a comment on blotanical because of word verification so popped over through my site. I'm most impressed with your praying mantise photos! Happy that you sound a bit more chipper. Your daughter's 'happy birthday' wish is also for you, dear Rose ... My children always tease me on THEIR birthday and say, "Thanks for 'borning' me!"

  11. Lovely pics! Great close ups! Loved the added commentstoo!

  12. We had a mantis on our door at work this morning. Huge, it had to be 5 inches long. Must have wanted to get out of the dew-wet shrubs.

    Wish Erika happy birthday from your blogger friend. I'm heading over to wish Beckie the same.

  13. Dear Rose,
    I love the bugs too!
    The Praying Mantis is one of my favorites but they do eat butterflies! Lovely pictures.
    Happy birthday to your daughter and to Becky.

  14. Rose, your mantis pictures are great. Aren't we lucky to have so many this year-or at least notice them this year. A big thanks for the birthday mention. Getting so many well wishes has helped with this most distateful day! And thank-you for a lovely lunch. I miss the time we used to have to just sit and gab for hours. AND!! The buterfly identification book is wonderful! Now we will have to go on butterfly hunts together and use it.

  15. Happy birthday to your daughter! I bet 27 years has gone in a flash!!

    Brilliant photos of insects. The mantis is such an amazing creature :)

  16. Rose,

    I love this bug! He is rather odd and brutish looking but, fascinating none the less. Nice don't say he sat still for the took some good shots! :-)


  17. Rose--What they said (truly). And I love the reflection of the photographer in that first photo!

    I hope you're enjoying your daughter's birthday. I've become ambivalent about my son's--I enjoy him more every year--he's really fun as a young adult--but as you say, he grows so fast (and, umm, so do I . . .)

  18. Hi, Rose. I can't decide if I like the butterfly or the sedum better. They are both beautiful. I wish the mantis around here would start devouring the love bugs we are plagued with right now! Nothing seems to like the taste of them. They must be cut from the same cloth as the Japanese beetles.

  19. I love the insects against those beautiful backgrounds. It's fun seeing what you'll come up for with each letter. What will you do after Z?

    Happy birthday to Beckie!

  20. Bear Naked, Thanks for visiting again!

    Eve, Thanks. I would think the praying mantis would be an interesting subject to sketch. I can't draw at all, so I have to settle for the photo:)

    Wendy, I'm sure Beckie won't mind as long as I don't reveal her age, which I won't, since that would be giving mine away, too:) Apparently, the mantises are in abundance in Illinois.

    Carol, I don't see as many "bad" bugs lately; I think those Japanese beetles must taste pretty terrible--I don't know of any creature that likes to eat them.

    Kim, Thanks!

    Joyce, I bet that mantis was sorry he ever found your car! Daughter's birthday was very special for me--my first little girl. It's no wonder she always hated pink--I dressed her in pink until she was old enough to object:)

    Rebeckah, Thanks for stopping by! The sedum is an "Autumn Joy" and is just gorgeous in the fall.

  21. Great pics of the mantis'. I haven't seen too many in the garden this year. Must be too dry for them, and they all went north. I had no idea they ate butterflies! Naughty Mantis!

    I hope your daughter has a nice birthday, and now I am over to Beckie's to wish her a happy day.

  22. Joey, Each of my children's birthdays is so special to me--the day each was born is a memory I will never forget. I did get the comment on Blotanical--thanks! The people I "faved" must be wondering why it took me so long, but I just now figured out how to add favorites! And I didn't know about the message board for a long time:)

    Greyscale, Thanks for stopping by!

    Marnie, Illinois must have the perfect conditions for the mantises this year. Thanks for the birthday wishes, and I know Beckie appreciates them, too.

    Sherry, I've always loved the mantis, just because it's so unusual. I didn't know they ate butterflies, though; oh dear. Thanks to you and Cheryl I have learned so much about the insect world this year.

  23. Beckie, It's nice to have so many friends wishing you a happy birthday, isn't it? I should have said this was your 39th; they might have believed me:) Glad the butterfly book is coming in handy. Now we need a bird guide, and a wildflower guide, and a tree i.d. guide, and . . .

    Suburbia, Thanks from Daughter. Yes, I still remember her as this little mischievous imp with a twinkle in her eye. Actually, she's still that way--just much, much taller! When you write about Small Sprog and Tall Girl, it brings back all those memories of my children at that age and makes me so nostalgic. That's why I always say to enjoy every moment--they truly do grow up so quickly.

  24. Happy Birthday to your daughter! Your insects are wonderful in that they are helpful in the garden, but I'm afraid the mantis would have to find its own way to the flowers. :)

  25. Your pictures are always so nice. I'm jealous of all the mantis' you have. I haven't seen that many this year.
    Happy Birthday to your Daughter and to Beckie!

  26. Gail, The mantis isn't very pretty, is he? But he's interesting nonetheless. And yes, he moves very slowly...

    Cosmo, Thanks. My two sons are in their 30's; now that makes me feel old!

    W2W, What are love bugs?

    Sarah, I don't participate in ABC Wednesdays every week; just whenever I have something that works. Actually, I think this is the third round for A to Z.

    Morning Glories, I didn't know they ate butterflies either; they get some points downgraded for that!

    Nancy, Notice I said I used a stick to move him...I draw the line at getting too chummy with them:)

    Cindy, The mantises apparently love Illinois this year. We must have had just the right weather this summer.

  27. When we photograph subjects they do look beautiful! I wonder if I should photograph the ironing pile.....


    Loved the family and friends paragraph! Great to celebrate with all today.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  28. How cool to have Praying Mantis at your house. I just saw one the other day out at the prairie with my daughter's class. They are so funky.

  29. Great photos today of the Mantis Invasion. That's not such a bad invasion of insects to have in the garden. Even though the Preying Mantis will eat beneficial & nonbeneficial insects. It's the circle of life in the garden.

  30. Bonjour Rose !
    Toujours de très jolies photos ici !
    Nice blog !
    See You later...

  31. Great mantis pictures!! And your sedum is gorgeous, right along with the Painted Lady butterfly!

    We have gobs of praying mantids here, too. I'm sure it came about because of the increase in my gardening three years ago. In the last couple of winters, we could see all the praying mantis egg cases on the shrubs and trees. And I did a post last year about them emerging from the egg case. There are a LOT of those things inside there!

    I love praying mantids and always have. I'm fascinated with them and love to see one in the garden, which I do see all the time, like you.

  32. A huge WOW on that praying mantis bug Rose .. I have yet to see one .. I would probably RUN in the other direction .. I'm such a weenie ! haha .. the butterfyly was beautiful and always my favorite .. great pictures as always !

  33. Praying mantis and cicadas! How interesting!

    When I first tidy up my garden in the spring, I usually see lots of spiders. I like to see them in the garden, but I don't like them in the house. I don't see many ladybirds, in spring, now, like I used to. I love to see and listen to bees in the garden. I have a lot of ants and they make their nest under my stripey evergreen grasses, which annoys me. Every year we see fewer butterflies, which is very sad. Our white buddleia used to be covered in them, in August, once upon a time.

    Great photos, as usual!

  34. Denise, You could probably make an artistic photo out of ironing:) The great thing about close-up garden photos is that I can usually crop out the weeds!

    MMD, My granddaughter likes to go on a praying mantis hunt every time she comes over. I think they look like something prehistoric.

    PG, I always thought they ate just the "bad" bugs, but I guess I still find them interesting.

    WebRadio, Bonjour and merci. Ok, that exhausts my French--thanks for visiting!

    Kylee, This must be a good year for them; I've certainly seen many more than usual. Thanks for your kind comments on my post about the evolution of my garden!

    Joy, You wouldn't have to run very fast--they move very, very slowly:)

    Mean Mom, Thanks for dropping by. I really never noticed the insects until this year, although the praying mantis has always been fascinating to me. I welcome any and all butterflies, though!

  35. Hi Rose,
    My mom used to buy mantis egg cases, and it's only recently I've learned there are some kinds of mantises that can survive our cold winters. I haven't seen any since I was a kid. They sure are interesting creatures. It's too bad that they don't discriminate between 'good' bugs and 'bad' ones! They could eat all the Japanese beetles they want, but I wouldn't be happy seeing them devour a butterfly!

  36. Very nice insect!
    I'm glad you've become more
    Interested in Insects!

  37. i love the mantis in the garden!
    it is a good sign you have so many.happy b day to your precious girl.


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