We hosted our 8th annual Halloween party this afternoon. Mother Nature graced us with a clear, warm, spectacular day. My sister and I enjoyed donning our costumes and posing for photos on the garden deck. My sister dressed as The Corpse Bride from the animated Tim Burton film of the same name. I made a dress to emulate artist and greeting card designer, Bela Pillar. Our friends came and went all afternoon. We had a blast.
One of the first guests to arrive lives just a few houses over. Bobbie and his son came bearing an awesome hostess gift: a full-grown praying mantis (mantid). They spotted it on the walk over and knew how much I would appreciate it. Awesome!
We all gathered around the plant to watch the mantid in motion. He was quite active, and at one point swiveled his triangular head and looked directly at us, before turning back and reaching up to the next set of leaves. I could have watched him all day.
Mantis (or mantid) can live up to a year, shedding their skin several times as they grow. This one is fully grown, probably about six inches long (15 cm). These pious bugs are great for the garden, since they dine on unwanted insects and bugs. You can buy praying mantis egg sacks at local nurseries to organically control bug infestations.
Once the party guests went home, and the house was back in order, I went outside in the dark with a flashlight hoping to spot him. Instead I saw a katydid sitting on a flower, wondering why on earth I was snooping around in the bushes after dark.
Perhaps she had a point. I’ll check back tomorrow and I’ll let you know.