What should you do if you discover something like this on your property?

What are these ugly things? They look like dead fish to me. They are not. In fact, they seem to be a hot commodity on Nextdoor. A neighbor in Canyon View discovered them in her yard recently. According to "Dan", they're ootheca, (egg masses) of the praying mantis. He recommends NOT bringing them indoors, as they'll hatch. Dan does go on to advise:

Try to place them out of the direct weather (flip boards over but don't place directly on the ground), keeping in mind that both birds and mice consider them food. If you can spread the boards out around the yard that might cut down on cannibalism a bit, too.

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Naturally, I had to do some investigating of the benefits of the praying mantis.

A gardener's best friend.

They're known to eat mosquitoes, moths, roaches, and flies. They can also take care of small rodents. The praying mantis can also eat beetles, grasshoppers, and crickets.

Carol Glover
Carol Glover

Carol assures us that the praying mantis is wonderful for our flower beds and gardens.

How common is the praying mantis in Washington?

The most common species found in the Pacific Northwest is the European mantid. (Mantis religiosa) They're most often found in gardens from summer to autumn. The California Mantis is found in Oregon.

The praying mantis is very interesting. They have 5 eyes and are strong enough to rip their prey apart. There are over 2,400 different types of praying mantis varieties in the world. Some people keep them as pets.

Learn more about the praying mantis here.

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