Praying Mantis

This morning I was clearing away the amaranth that had been such a treat to the bees last month.  It had gone to seed and was no longer attractive to the bees, yet it was still green enough that I wasn’t tortured by the spikes that harden when it dries.  Still, as I moved the “forest” aside, I realized that I was disturbing the ecosystem of a couple of friends.   I encountered two praying mantises.  Praying-mantisI have been surprised to find praying mantises in my garden, especially since I live in the desert and I never saw them in my bay area garden.  Mantises seem like they would enjoy a more humid, lush environment.  In any case, I consider them to be very auspicious.  I knew they eat insects, but I was surprised to learn that they also feed on small lizards and hummingbirds!  I am actually hoping they might help maintain the grasshopper balance in my garden.  I have been sporting a few very large grasshoppers lately.  Further, I believe the grasshoppers may have been responsible for the decimation of a young patch of cucumbers plants.

grasshopperStill, I think grasshoppers are lovely.  I like the way they blend in with their surroundings and sort of hop/fly to get around.