Last year I wrote an article about praying mantises and in it I told you if I located one of their egg casings again I would photograph and post it. Well this weekend, while in my garden, I came across one of them. I am happy to have the opportunity to be able to share the pictures of it with you, but I am not pleased to know more of these nasty insects are still to trying to occupy my harmonious garden. If you would like to know why I feel this way please read: Praying Mantis Friend or Foe.
As I stated in my original article the casings (aka oothecae) found in California are flatish and oval-shaped. The one I found is 1 ¼ inches long and was laid on a small branch of a rose bush which is located on the south side of my garden. As I said before I thought they are rather extraterrestrial-looking in appearance and that made me feel squeamish. I am sure my pictures will show you why I feel this way. After the photo shoot I did as I had always done before which is to surgically eliminate its casing with my trusty Felco #6 pruners. This lethal execution gave me some relief in knowing that I had eradicated anywhere from 50 to 200 eggs (numbers vary depending on which articles you read) from hatching and wreaking havoc in my garden. This unpleasant sighting has renewed my need for due diligence and to be constantly on the lookout for more of these little brownish-casings (as well as the praying mantis themselves) as I work in my garden. I know I should be especially cognizant when working in my front yard as it has the southern exposure which is apparently the female’s favorite spot to lay her eggs. I dare say it will not be a desired location in the future if I have anything to do with it.
Below are my photos of the casing that was laid by the female praying mantis last fall. The eggs were deposited in a frothy liquid mass that was produced by glands in her abdomen. This froth then hardens and creates the tough coating which is meant to protect the eggs until they hatch in spring. In this case though the hatching won’t happen because the tough coating wasn’t tough enough to protect the casing from being finished off by my Felco’s.