We’ve seen a couple of Praying Mantises out here: one was bright green and on the outbuilding; the other was bright green and on a bin at the recycling center. Both were amazing.
Last night, as usual, we went to do the ducks’ and chickens’ evening feeding, pulling the cart with the food buckets loaded on it. When we reached the fence, we noticed something hanging on it. It was the color of the browning leaves that have begun to fall from the trees. A closer look revealed a well-camouflaged praying mantis. This one was brownish gray and larger than the bright green one we saw nearly two years ago.
Praying mantises are enthusiastic eaters of many garden pests. We’re glad to see one, and hope it will eat the bugs that have been eating our sunflowers. We eschew chemical pesticides, and the pastures and overall ecosystem are the better for it. The “good” bugs should eat the “bad”, and birds (including our poultry and waterfowl) will eat the bugs. Fostering this cycle is an important part of being a responsible steward of the land; in this paradigm, the “good” bugs are valued workers. And they are really cool looking!