A Gift Even A
Teenager Will Adore
Wouldn’t it be great to find an educational, scientifically interesting, environmentally important, reasonably priced holiday gift that will surprise and enchant even the most jaded and disinterested teenager? “Impossible!” you say. “Not really,” we respond.
Last year, Harvesting History introduced a product we have wanted to offer for years. It was so popular that we are offering it again this year and enhancing it. It is a gift certificate that allows the recipient to receive, sometime this spring, two praying mantis egg cases. Each egg case contains approximately 200 eggs which will hatch in about 30 days. Eventually, out of 400 eggs, 2-3 mantises will reach adulthood.
This year we are enhancing the Praying Mantis Gift Certificate by creating a Praying Mantis hatching kit. The kit will include a net cage where the egg cases can be hatched allowing everyone to watch as the baby Praying Mantises emerge from their egg cases. The kit will cost $27.50. The Praying Mantis Gift Certificate, alone, is $17.50.
This is an excellent gift for young children, ages 5-12, but it is an extraordinary gift for teenagers, especially teenage boys. If you are tired of giving your teenagers video games and clothes, try this gift certificate/kit. As they follow the process of hatching these remarkable creatures, you will see in their eyes and the expressions on their faces, the wonder that was so very enchanting when they were younger.
These gift certificates also make excellent presents for adults.
We will begin shipping the egg cases in late January to Hardiness Zones 8-10, in late February to Hardiness Zones 6-7 and in late March to Hardiness Zone 5. In May, we will ship to Hardiness Zones 1-4.
I cannot emphasize enough what a wonderful present these praying mantis egg cases are. They are an opportunity to witness the creation of life and to participate in Mother Nature’s grand plan. They are a learning and a sharing opportunity that is without equal as you will read about below.
Of all the insects, you could want to take up residence in your garden, by far the most fascinating is the Praying Mantis. This sublimely elegant creature with its eerie triangular face and forearms folded in prayer is a garden icon. If your garden is fortunate enough to have naturally resident praying mantises, then you already know how extraordinary it is to enjoy the companionship of a praying mantis for the season. If you do not have praying mantises in your garden, in this newsletter we are going to show you how to bring these magnificent creatures to your doorstep.
Praying Mantises are incredibly skilled, aggressive hunters. They eat many different kinds and sizes of insects depending on the mantis’ size and stage of development. Their mode of hunting is usually to ambush their prey, but they have been known to chase especially desirable prey for short distances. Their eyes have a visual range of 50 feet, and they are primarily diurnal, but they have been known to fly at night. This is especially true of males who will fly at night during mating season.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO REPORT HERE THAT PRAYING
MANTISES EAT STINKBUGS. IN FACT, THEY ARE AGGRESSIVE PREDATORS OF THIS PEST!
If you have not raised praying mantises, you should. This should be high up on your “bucket list”. If you have children, I am going to suggest that it is an absolute MUST.
If you purchase egg cases during the winter or very early spring from other than Harvesting History, you can store them in the refrigerator (NOT THE FREEZER) for 30-45 days. Harvesting History will ship you the egg cases you order from us through Praying Mantis Gift Certificates when it is time to place them outside. When the outside temperature has warmed enough for other insects to begin to appear, it is time to place your egg cases outside. Put each egg case in a mesh bag (like the bags lemons are sold in) and tie the bags to the interior branch of a tree or shrub. You want to give the egg case as much protection as possible from birds, animals and other predatory insects. Remember, it will take 30 days for the eggs to hatch, but when they do hatch, the nymphs will need small bugs to eat immediately.
If you are engaging in this project with children, the best place to hang an egg case is to put it in a net cage like the one provided in the kit inside your home. If you do this, you will see the nymphs as they hatch.
You can also hatch mantises in an aquarium, but you need to be careful when covering the aquarium. Mantises are small enough to get through screening, so you need to use a very fine mesh that will allow air into the aquarium, but will not let the praying mantises escape. Old nylon stockings work well.
Once the mantises hatch, you probably will not see them again until they are adults. Out of an egg case that may have 200-400 eggs, at best 2-3 nymphs will reach the adult stage.
One of the most enchanting summers I ever spent in my beloved Roland Park, Maryland home was the summer of 2002. During that summer, a huge praying mantis (I think it was a female) took up residence on the lampshade of a piece of our porch furniture. Each evening, I would read a book, watch the sun set gently behind the trees on my neighbor’s property and cast clandestine glances at my praying mantis. She, in turn, spent each entire evening ceaselessly staring back at me. She was there every single night until one evening in early autumn when she disappeared, never to return again. Our friendship had finished for her, and the responsibilities that Nature had delegated to her had to be fulfilled away from that lampshade.
These elegant creatures make wonderful gardening companions and though they can be hard on butterflies and hummingbirds, their useful purposes far outweigh the minor damage they may do. This Christmas-Hannukah season give the gift of praying mantises and may the summer bring you the companionship of this delightful, beneficial bug!
Be sure to visit our website sections: Gardening Tools & Equipment,Beneficial Bugs and Gift Certificates to find other gifts for this holiday season.
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