If you see any of these guys in your garden, do not shoo them away or kill them. These are called Praying Mantis and they will kill all of those pesky grasshoppers that eat up your veggies and leaves.
By Karen from Tinley Park, IL
I love these guys/gals! They are friendly, well maybe curious, if you hold out your hand they will often walk quite confidently on to it. I had a 'pet' one that lived inside my house for about 4 weeks.
The praying mantis is excellent for your garden! Fun tip - The shape of the abdomen can indicate whether the praying mantis is male or female. While males tend to be much smaller than females, their abdomen is almost perfectly straight. Females on the other hand are larger have a more bulbous or round shape to their abdomen. Be on the look out for praying mantis egg sacks toward the end of the summer. They look like pieces of styrofoam and can be attached to any surface. Don't bring the egg case inside over winter, just leave it where it is and come spring/early summer you may be able to see all the babies emerge!
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