Well, now I did it. I gave away the location of my praying mantis and revealed his identity in a photograph; now he’s missing in action (MIA). He’s been faithfully dangling underneath the leaves of my Black Mission Fig without a care in the world for the past two months and now he’s nowhere in sight. The pressing question of the hour… “Where did he go?”
Yesterday my mom, who is visiting with my dad from California, scoured the undersides of my Black Mission Fig leaves in search of my little green buddy, but she was unable to locate him. I joined in the search and I confirmed that he was officially missing 😦 Perhaps he did such a great job of keeping the tree “pest-free” that he moved on to one of our other fruit trees to eat from a new smorgasbord. I’ll have to keep an eye out for him.
Bugs (good and bad) come and go in the garden – normal life stuff. What’s strange about all of this is on the very day my little green buddy was reported missing, I spotted a new larger praying mantis near the back porch light while Pinny and I were watering the backyard orchard. My buddy was the first and only praying mantis I’ve seen on our property. To my delight, there are more.
Yesterday, I had gotten a very late start with my watering so Pinny and I were out in the backyard after dark with only the distant back door light illuminating our way around the orchard. As I was watering, a large fluttering shadow coming from the back door area caught my eye. The movement of the shadow was quite erratic and for a moment I thought the shadow might be from a small bat catching moths near the light, but when I turned in that direction I could see the shadow was coming from a large long green insect of some sort. Pinny and I walked up to the back door for a closer look. When we reached the back door stoop, I could clearly see that it was a praying mantis, which now decided to start doing flybys around Pinny’s head. It was comical to see Pinny twisting, turning and lifting her head up to catch a glimpse of her attacker, but the assault abruptly ended as the praying mantis landed on the stucco wall near my back door.
The praying mantis was a beautiful specimen and displayed the normal animated characteristics as it cocked its head back and forth as it watched Pinny pushing her ball around in the dirt. Upon closer inspection I could see the eerie black eyes so common in praying mantis at nighttime.
Though my fig protector is MIA, all of this is a great sign. First, new hatchlings from an unknown egg sack (obviously nearby). Next, a dedicated praying mantis in my front yard orchard, then a new specimen in the back yard. I can rest easy knowing that I have what seems to be a prolific source of more than one protector around my property 🙂 Good job my little green buddies. Good job.
Happy Labor Day!
The Artistic Desert Gardener