Praying Mantis

Last week Russell called me from the backyard to come out and see something. He saw a Praying Mantis, he said, and wanted me to see it and verify it, basically.

So out I trudged and sure enough, on the blue fabric roof (Sunbrella fabric) of their play structure there sat a fairly large brown Praying Mantis.

I hadn’t seen one since I was a child. So I took pictures of it the best I could, but didn’t get any good shots, though I don’t know for certain, I haven’t looked at them on the computer yet, they are still in my camera. I just know I didn’t get at an angle to get a good close-up, he was up on the roof and not in a position for me to get in front of him well. I say “him” not knowing if it was a male mantid.

Two nights ago I noticed that on the front porch, up near the ceiling there was a Praying Mantis on the facing board. We have Daddy Longleg spiders up in the corners, not on purpose, they are just there. There were other bugs flying around, it was dark out and the porch light was on. One little beatle seemed to be the mantid’s preying attention. The molding at the corner of the face board and ceiling seem to be something the mantid couldn’t get over … but I thought that a feign in actuality, and within a few minutes the mantid proved that to be true.

The children and I were watching through the side-light window, by the door. The beatle was running here and there on the ceiling, and came closer … and suddenly the mantid began moving forward again, but faster than it had moved before in it’s feigning movements … and it struck out so fast it was wild, exciting, we all yelled out in glee … it was awesome to watch like that.

Yesterday morning I went out onto the porch and didn’t see the Praying Mantis anywhere, not that he wasn’t there, of course.

Last night I went out and looked, but didn’t notice him out at all. Not that he wasn’t there, of course.

This morning I was up around 5:30 am, and turned the porch light on sometime around 6am, it was still dark. I noticed that the Praying Mantis WAS there, sitting on the back of the glass single hummingbird feeder. The birds weren’t out yet, it was still before sun-up.

I decided to then go onto my computer and look up the insect for info. I did, looked at a few things and then didn’t look at all I’d turned up on the first search page, but went and did some things. The sun was then starting to come up, faint light appeared in the distant sky edges, the black of night had lifted to a gray growing light. I saw that there was a Hummingbird sitting on the end of a bamboo pole the children had stuck into the porch railing. She took off into the October Glory Maple in the front yard, then came back and hovered in the air, and flew away again. I went outside and stood there quite still. The hummer came back and did the same thing. Hovered, but wouldn’t drink as she seemed to want to do.

I went back to my computer and opened a few more pages and nearly freaked when I found this page.

So I got Frank to go look at the Praying Mantis at that point, and told him about it all. He grabbed something to try and move the mantid off the feeder, and it only made the mantid move closer to the end of the feeder. A hummer was around still, and wouldn’t go to the feeder still, I think it knew something was dangerous there.

Frank then got something else and managed to get it off and into the stuff down on the ground, at least. The feeder was freed of Mantis Preying … and not long after a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird came and ate, and has been coming to and fro to eat ever since. But not before the Praying Mantis was knocked off the feeder.

I don’t know for certain that the Praying Mantis was planning on eating a hummer, but it’s very possible, and I wouldn’t want that happening on my front porch. I’ve had feeders up for several years and never saw a Mantis around and I’m glad I looked on the web when I did.

If the Mantis shows up again I may get a jar habitat set-up for it and capture it for the children to study and feed it bugs and all that.

“To find adults, look on flowering plants and at porch lights in August through late September. Adult males will often fly to porch lights in the late fall.”

That quoted link just above comes from an Arizona site, but it seems applicable to Georgia, at least in the situation we have/had it’s true that it’s September and we have a porch light that is on at night often and was on when the Praying Mantis showed up on the porch.

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