Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Baby Bugs for Earth Week

Remember the praying mantis pagoda we got?  I was just starting to think we'd gotten a dud when Paul mentioned on Sunday that they'd hatched.  Just in time to celebrate Earth Week.
Baby praying mantises are known as nymphs.  When young they eat aphids, flies, small caterpillars, and other soft-bodied insects.  As they grow, the insects they eat are larger.
They are carnivorous and do not eat vegetarian.
I am seriously hoping they have a taste for stinkbugs.

They kind of look like mosquitos when young.  This helps them blend in from prey.

Dirty working hubby hands.

Praying mantises don't fly well and they walk slowly.
Kind of like Reid crawls.  Slow, precise, deliberate.
Females lay their egg cases in the fall.  They can withstand even severe winter climates.
Here is what the case looked like post-hatching:

Praying mantises are harmless to humans.
If they have plenty to eat, they will stick close to where born.
We had to set them free, so they wouldn't eat each other, but hopefully we'll get to watch them grow close to home this summer.
Stay tuned for more Earth Celebrations this week. 
We've got lots of nature walks and a couple of crafts planned!


Sonya @ Under the Desert Sky said...

I could've used some of those when we lived in New Mexico. We had nasty aphids covering our rose bushes. Too bad we didn't have any aphid-eaters like those nymphs or some ladybugs!

Mama Goose said...

So are you using them for pest control, or for an interesting learning experience?

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Just for fun learning :-)

Jeremi said...

Very cool!! We just ordered the butterfly set from insect lore -- neat stuff!

Megan said...

How cool!

warren said...

I looked back at your original post and I didn't see where you got the pods. Can you recommend a source?

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Hey, Warren. We got the pagoda from Kids Woot, the sent off for the egg case from Insect Lore. http://www.insectlore.com/