A Visit from a Praying Mantis

So today I was sitting outside enjoying the beautiful weather and this little guy decided to visit. 

Aka Mantis Relgiosa. They have very long front legs that they hold in a position that reminds people of praying. Praying mantids are carnivores, eating mainly insects and other small animals. Many gardeners and farmers welcome mantids, because the insects they eat are often pests that hurt crops. 

The mantids also eat spiders, frogs, lizards, and even small birds.

 They can turn their heads 180 degrees—an entire half circle. They’re well-camouflaged, adapting colors that help them blend with plants. 

Photos by: Cindie Harper


The Praying Mantis aka Mantis religiosa. They are Invertebrates and Carnivores. Their average life span is about 1 year. 

I was walking around my family’s property and spotted this baby Praying Mantis on a Peony. 

There were about 9 in this small area.

I went back about 2 weeks later and could only find two. 

They grew a lot. They are fascinating creatures who are great for gardens. 

Photos by: Cindie Harper

Carpenter Bee Life: HERE KITTY KITTY

Xylocopa virginica, also known as the eastern carpenter bee, is typically found throughout the Eastern United States and into Canada. They nest in various types of wood and eat pollen and nectar.

 The eastern carpenter bee is similar to most other bee species in that it does not have a queen; in Xylocopa virginica, dominant females are responsible for reproduction, foraging, and nest construction, though they may sometimes have help from their daughters. Xylocopa virginica is a sympatric species with Xylocopa micans in the southeastern United States.

The iPhone caught these carpenter bees in mid-flight. 

And they apparently also stalk cats. 

Photos by Cindie Harper using an iPhone. 

Mating Golden Backed Snipe Flies: GET A ROOM! 

Mating Golden Backed Snipe Flies aka Chrysopilus thoracicus. This fly is observed in early to mid-spring perched quietly on low vegetation in deciduous woodlands.

Little is known about their life cycle or their habits. While more may be said of snipe flies in general (the family Rhagionidae), the information is pretty incomplete. 

This species of fly is one of around 120,000 members worldwide of the order Diptera. Snipe flies tend to be large flies with long legs relative to their body size, rounded heads, and tapering abdomens. C. thoracicus is marked by smoky wings with dark veins on a translucent membrane. 

Its most distinctive feature is the patch of brilliant gold hair positioned on the upper thorax. 

As with most insects, the females of this species are much more robust than the males. Both sexes commonly reach 10-12 mm in length.
Golden-backed snipe flies can be found throughout eastern North America. 

They appear in the late spring and early summer, and have been observed mating in late May and early June, although timing likely varies. 

Adult snipe flies are typically predatory on other insects, although some members of the family do feed on human or other mammal blood. It is thought that C. thoracicus is in the predatory class, although they have been observed to eat little.


While I was out and about, I saw this inchworm who seemed to be in a hurry.  Does anyone remember the inchworm song? 

Inchworm, Inchworm,

Measuring the marigolds,

Seems to me you’d stop and see

How beautiful they are.

Inchworm, Inchworm,

Measuring the marigolds,

You and your arithmetic

Will probably go far.

Inchworm, Inchworm,

Measuring the marigolds,

Seems to me you’d stop and see

How beautiful they are.