Inspirational Thought

"The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 7:13 NIV

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jiminy Crickets!!!!

This is not a cricket. It's a praying mantis. I'll get to the crickets in just a second...but this mantis is the reason for the crickets.

At the end of the school year, my teenage son came home with two "mantids" - baby mantises...they're really extremely cute, even for a bug.

Mantises are fascinating creatures, I learned several years ago from my now-ex who on a couple of occasions brought home an oothaca(sp?), which is an egg sack, about an inch in diameter, full of baby mantises, and we proceeded feed and raise them.

They are a natural pest control bug, eating pretty much anything in your garden or farm, and they are actually a protected species because they are of such great value to farmers.

When they're first born, they're really extremely tiny, about the same size as a mosquito. Normally, you're supposed to feed them "flightless fruitflies" but as those proved to be extremely hard to procure, I started feeding them mosquitos, and our two little mantids thrived and quickly molted several times. With each molt, which poses a death risk to mantises each time, the mantids get bigger and in later molts, they actually develop wings. For a bug, they're really quite beautiful, along the lines of gypsy moths, beautiful. And it's fascinating to watch them hunt.

Anyway...eventually, as you can imagine they get too big for mosquitos to satisfy them, so we graduated to dear flies, which only last five or six weeks. So what then. Crickets. Not the big black ones, smaller brownish coloured ones without exoskeletons. These you can get in most any pet store because they're nourishment for a number of other critters.

Well, the other day I had just picked up a whole bunch of these things of varying sizes and put them in an aerated box with clever little "tube holes" that supposedly made it easy for me to get the crickets out and feed them to the mantises. Yes, in the car. (Can you see where this is going?)

Unfortunately, it didn't occur to me to leave the tubes (which had caps on the end to keep the crickets from getting loose) in the tube holes. When I arrived home, I discovered that only about 10 of the 30 crickets I had bought were still in the box!! So 15-20 crickets were hopping around my car...and they are fast and hard to catch. Once they're loose you have very little chance of catching them because they like to find little corners or crannies where you can't reach. By the time you notice them and get to the place where they are to try to catch them, they're gone!


Oh, well. Now I've got the little cricket box figured out, but that doesn't mean they don't get away. I've lost a couple...

All for the sake of my son's summer science fair. *head shake*

Now, I'm faced with the dilemma of what to do with them for the winter. Since mantises are cold blooded, I can certainly keep them alive in the house, but they haven't gotten their wings yet (although they're pretty fine jumpers) and I'm reluctant to release them so close to the fall and without their wings. I had hoped by now to be able to release them, but the weather has grown chillier a little sooner than I anticipated and that seems to be affecting their activity level.

Guess we'll see!!!

1 comment:

Hamlin said...

Great article post..Moms are so much more powerful than they realize. How they are feeling on a particular day can have significant effects on the entire family. A Mom can and does influence so many things in her environment. And that can affect how she feels, and in turn how the other family members feel.