Mo, Jess and I stopped by City Farm last week and picked up a praying mantis egg.
Now, this isn’t just any average cocoon. Actually, it’s not a cocoon at all. It’s an egg sac that will hatch somewhere between 100 and 200 mantises (much to my surprise, plural mantis is not manti. It’s mantises or mantids. I must have sounded pretty stupid to any entomologists I met recently…).
As Nikki removed the egg sac from the refrigerator, I read the instructions. These told me that the mantids will hatch after 2-8 weeks of being in warm weather. Considering that by yesterday they had sat on my kitchen table for a week, I decided we should get them outside ASAP. As cool as I think praying mantises are, I’m trying to think of something more creepy than 200 baby mantids crawling around my kitchen. I’m pretty sure I’d have the heebie-jeebies for at least a year.
Side note and fun/creepy fact, “Feeding on virtually any insect they can catch, they always bite the unfortunate victim neck first.”
Forget the heebie-jeebies, I’d have giant-mantis-neck-biting nightmares forever.
Anyway, here are the steps to hatching these critters according to Nature’s Control out of Medford, OR.
Find the only paper bag you have in the house, which happens to be from your husband’s recent dental visit. Hope that flouride residue doesn’t affect the “baby bees.” Put said egg sac into the paper bag and close with a clothes pin, paper clip, stick of chewing gum…you get the picture.
Hang the bag in a shady area, near your garden. Pray that it doesn’t get soggy in the rain or smashed by anxious 2 year old hands between now and hatching time.
Check in the bag every day for itty-bitty bug-eyed…well, bugs.
(We checked this morning as soon as Mo saw me looking through pictures for this post. No babies yet.)
I have more faith in this experiment than the last one. Now if these hatch while I’m not looking, I won’t be worried they’ll turn up in my sheets.