“Ugh,” I said to Mr. Tucker. “I can’t believe it’s June and already we have a swarm of mosquitos to contend with inside the house!” Mr. Tucker and I had just sat down to tackle some binge-watching of a new series when I looked over and saw a wall of bugs just over our living room window. With a sigh, Mr. Tucker looked to where I was pointing and headed off to grab a can of Raid.

It was only when he stood on the couch and looked at the bugs that he realized that they weren’t mosquitoes at all. “Huh. That’s weird,” he noted. “What kind of bugs are these?”

All of a sudden I slapped my forehead and screamed, “OH NO! THEY ARE F*CKING PRAYING MANTISES!! SH*T! SH*T!”

But let’s back this story train up a bit.

In the spring when we were all planning pandemic gardens my friend K mentioned in a group chat that we could buy a box of Praying Mantises as pest control for the garden. Knowing nothing about gardens or pest control I figured heck, for the low-low price of $19.99 for “40 to 200 eggs” (“That’s quite the range of potential bugs,” a friend pointed out later), why not give it a whirl? I bought the egg sac, it arrived a few days later, I stuck the box under the seedling table in the living room and then promptly forgot about it.

As you’ve probably guessed, instead of actually reading the instructions in the box, I ignored it but the Mantises did what nature always does: it goes on with its life cycle. So all-of-a-sudden that’s how we found ourselves spending an uevening coaxing baby insects into a jar to move them to a more suitable home in the garden. We don’t know how many of the 40-200 insects there actually were but the next morning we were still rounding them up in jars & relocating them outside. This went on for a few days as we coaxed them out of nooks and crannies & inspected every chair before we sat down.

In the end, I think we did manage to save quite a few but next year – if we try this again – I will be sure to RTFM!


Some of the stragglers