Gardening,  Ramblings

This Post Is Not for the Squeamish.

The last time I posted pictures of what some would call "creepy-crawlies" and others would just call "gross," I got a few commenters letting me know that it would have been nice if I had warned them about the post content.

This post is mantis-photo-heavy. Consider yourself warned. 😉

I've had some strange luck with praying mantises lately. (Did you know that other plural forms for mantis are mantes and mantids?)(By golly, this here's a learnin' blog too!) For instance, as I was descending the stairs of our local Lifetime Fitness Center last week, I glanced at something unusual in the window: a 6" bright green praying mantis. I couldn't decide if I was more shocked at the sheer size of it or the fact that it had crawled 2 stories up. When I told Breanna about it, she said that she was there on the same day and when she went out to her car, there, on her sideview mirror, was another one – no doubt wanting to pounce on her protein smoothie.

A day or so later, Breanna and I headed to our new favorite joint, Red Mango, for some frozen yogurt. As we were walking along the landscape-lined sidewalk, I brushed my hand on a floral shrub and quickly yanked my hand away: there, within millimeters of where my hand had just been, were two black eyes staring at me. Attached to the black eyes was the body of another mantis. (That was creepy.)

And then there was yesterday: I noticed that the potted plant on my porch table needed dead-heading, so I set about doing it. I have no idea how this crazy thing missed my pruning fingers, but THANK GOODNESS, it did.

Mantis tp 2 

I stared at it for a while, and it stared at me. I decided "it" was a "he," so I named him Wilhelm. No matter how many times I circled the table and switched directions, Wilhelm's head turned and his eyes followed me.

Mantis tp 5 

See the water beads on the top of Wilhelm's head and chin? I had also watered the plant, not realizing he was there.

Mantis tp 1 

Has anyone out there seen the movie District 9 (great movie!)? Surely their inspiration came from some sort of mantis.

Mantis tp 4

Check out those forearms…

Mantis tp 3 

I shall never hand-prune again without first donning a pair of garden gloves, just in case. And if I forget to put on the gloves, then I'll at least make sure there's a protein smoothie nearby, so I can offer up some sort of peace offering.

If you've managed to make it this far into the post, but you're starting to feel a little anxious, I'd like to offer a photo that will surely calm your nerves and put a smile back on your face:

Coffee tp 

Mmmmmmmm. In stores now, and it smells much better than insect repellent.


  • Margaret

    lol! I enjoyed reading about your mantis adventures and seeing little (Big?) Wilhelm for myself. I haven’t seen a praying mantis in years! I wonder if they exist in NY. As for the coffee — I’m not a coffee person, so I’ll take Wilhelm. 😀

  • Ann in Scotland

    I am so glad we don’t have those over here in Scotland. It’s one of the few advantages of living in the UK – we don’t get the lovely weather but we don’t have the awful bugs that go with it!

  • Peggy Lee

    We had one holding on to the underside of the table at the Wegman’s cafe the other day, looking up through the holes at us. I dropped a grain of rice on him but he wasn’t hungry.

  • DJ

    I love all your pictures, but what amazes me is how close you get to these creepy crawlies!! You are a brave woman! LOL Maybe, just maybe, they are a sign from above? Have you been saying your prayers? LOL!!

  • Marnie

    Great shots! And, I’M SO EXCITED THAT THE ANNIVERSARY BLEND IS HERE! Yes, I am screaming! Besides the Blue Mountain stuff from Jamaica, the Anniversary blend is the BEST! Off to Starbucks…

  • Kim

    OOOOH!!!! GREAT pics…LOVE the coffee bag and MUST GET SOME! But really…I did like the pic of the water hanging off of Wilhelm’s chin. And those forearms…va-va-VOOM! ;o)

  • Ine M

    Beautifull pictures you have taken.
    And be honest….what can they do to you at all?!!
    You’re always the giant from their view!
    And besides: organic gardeners use them as biological pest control.
    Very usefull.

  • Marika Christian

    So if he really is a he, doesn’t that mean it’s only a matter of time before Wilhelm meets a nice girl who’ll bite off his head on the honeymoon? Poor Wilhelm …

  • Lisa

    Cool pics Paulette!!! The praying mantis won’t hurt you, in fact they are very good for your plants and garden~eating harmful insects. Several years ago I sent away for some praying mantis cocoons so I’d have them in my yard. It worked, I love them! (I know you are thinking I’m weird) and you may be right! I am a lover of the weird, Halloweeny, witchy variety.

  • Robin

    Awesome pics of the Praying Mantis! I’ve only ever seen green ones… Very cool markings! One thing… this late in the season and that large, I’m betting that that was a female… Did you know that females eat the males directly after they mate? Gives new meaning to the phrase “maneater”, doesn’t it? 😉

  • Cathi

    An awesome creature indeed! Thank God we here in Germany don’t have that kind of insect! But perhaps within some years, after the climate has changed, we will…!

  • joann tx

    great shots of the praying mantis. i’ve only see the green ones too. do they change color? do we want to know how you got such close up shots of it?
    esp.with the water beads on him? WOW!

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