This week fall arrived. The temperatures dropped and let us enjoy cooler weather. The perfect fall days encourage my friend to come out and play.
About a month ago, Miss Spider set up her web on the outside of my bedroom window screen. She is a smart cookie. Because I often read late into the night, my bedside lamp attracts many unsuspecting insects. They come for my light and stay for dinner. Unfortunately for them, they are the ones on the menu. I find it difficult to be too sorry about their fate, especially when they are beetles, stink bugs, and mosquitos.
Meanwhile, at the opposite end of the house, another drama unfolded. Back in May, I undertook the thankless task of weeding out my rose bed. My poor roses needed me to defend them from a persistent and annoying vine that likes to twine its way around their pretty shoots and strangle them. My reward for performing this grueling work was discovering a tiny half-inch-long praying mantis. I only saw one, and I was careful not to disturb him too much.
Praying mantis are a gardener’s friend and helper. They help with fighting annoying pests who are intent on eating our prized plants. The summer progressed, my roses bloomed, and I never saw another praying mantis until the other day, when this handsome male made his presence known.
I wondered if he was the grown-up version from my May sighting. If he was, he wasn’t sharing his secrets. He seemed bored, uninterested in much of anything, but he clung to the window screen for a couple of days.
Then she appeared.
Praying mantis courtship, love, and cannibalism played out on my window screen over the better part of one entire day. My black-widow praying mantis meet me when I opened my curtains each morning for over a week before she disappeared. Where the male had been oblivious to my presence at the window, she was active and inquisitive. She looked at me and turned her head to greet me whenever I approached.
I suspect she was waiting for the right time to construct her ootheca or egg case. I have learned that a single female can create several oothecae after mating just once. How cool is that? I’ve done a cursory hunt, but I haven’t seen any yet. Maybe as the leaves fall, I will get lucky and find (or two) tucked between the rose thorns. Tonight, the weather experts warn us to expect our first frost. I promise to be out bright and early to witness what the frost gods reveal.
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer