Today when I came home from work, as with every day for the past month, I check my praying mantis ootheca to see if it hatched.
And it did!
(This picture is actually of the one on the rose bushes that David checked after we found the first one.)
My ritual of checking each morning and night was rewarded by the joy of feeling little critters all over my hands. And we got to gently place them in their new homes and bid them happy hunting.
A couple of weeks ago, I cracked the lid open on their cage. Whoops.
About 5 of them were crawling on the screen.
They hatched some time between 7 pm and 4:30 pm today. When I saw them, I ran inside to beckon David to join me, and grabbed the camera. He ran. We then tried to determine where we wanted to spread them, as our aphid infestation is at a low point right now, and our ant infestation is at a high point.
There’s been bark at the bottom of the enclosure since I got it. I only today realized it probably wasn’t the best idea, as it was tough to scoop these critters out.
How many can you spot in this picture? I see two, but there could be more. As they were spread on the outside, the walls and over the inner mulch, my scientific brain had to be quieted, and we didn’t try to count the babies.
This shy newbie turned away from the camera.
As I picked them each up (or handfuls of mulch with one on it), each one made it’s way to the plant in a different way. Some would bounce onto a leaf, others the ground. Some would be placed on a leaf and then crawl around for a bit. Others would stay very still, until I blew on them or poked them.
They were spread in both the backyard and side yard. The one in the roses spread all over the side yard roses.
David and I are optimistic that the praying mantises will survive; last year we released lady bugs and we see quite a few of those around. We’ll keep our eyes open for them and fingers crossed.