Mostly what I heard was “mosquito-eating.”
Being highly suggestible, I succumbed to internet peer pressure and, after a vibrant Facebook discussion about the pros (mosquito-eating) and cons (they look like aliens) of 200 praying manti in your yard, temporary insanity won out and I impulse bought insects for my yard.
That bears repeating: I BOUGHT DOZENS OF GIANT INSECTS TO VOLUNTARILY PUT IN MY YARD.
Have I mentioned that I am terrified of insects, particularly manti?
Unfortunately, there is no buyer’s remorse clause over at Insect Lore, purveyor of live insects. Sure enough, as night follows day, sunrise follows sunset, and manti follow egg case, a package soon arrived bearing the fruits of my Facebook-fueled bug buying spree.
I had a moment of hope when it looked as if Insect Lore had sent me butterflies instead. Genuine butterflies.
But when I opened the box, there was a mantis egg case in there. The egg case arrived on the day that Jack had come home “sick” because he was carsick and barfed in the school hallway. I decided that transferring the egg case from one container to another counted as science and meant that I was making good use of Jack’s time away from school.
Well done, Jack. Head on back to your Wii now.
And then the egg case sat there. It sat there for a few days and then it sat there for a few weeks and then I figured that maybe this time I’d managed to kill my pets even before they were born and the manti would never hatch. But then, a few days ago, I was wandering by and did a double take because what had spent three weeks being this:
had suddenly became this:
Part of me badly wanted to take it outside immediately, carry it to the waaay back of my yard, unzip it, and never think about it again, but I decided to wait until all of Team Stimey was assembled.
Some of Team Stimey was suitably impressed. Some of them refused to come near the manti, and some of them resented being forced by others of them to do the releasing because the latter someones were more afraid of the manti than the first someones.
We spent some time arguing over the best place to release them. We didn’t want to step on them, but we wanted them to eat bugs in an advantageous spot. We also didn’t want them to get mowed or weeded away.
We selected a spot near the back of the yard, next to the garden, and probably too close to the neighbor’s fence. I hope they like manti too.
Then we released our little friends.
I stopped by the next afternoon to check on them. I found a bunch of them tooling around where we had left them. I decided to recapture four of them to, I don’t know, have the opportunity to catch bugs to feed to other bugs.
Alex was none too happy about that, let me tell you. He was all, “You want me to catch what and put them where?”
We’ve sacrificed a few bugs to the manti, but I think we’re going to release them tomorrow morning because even I recognize how absurd our bug hunting is.
At that point, I will eagerly and skittishly await the next time I meet a mantis, which will probably be when one of the full grown bugs jumps on my face. I’m looking forward to it.