How to Train Your Praying Mantis

Sep 3, 2014

We've trained puppies to "come," "sit" and "heel."

We've trained an African grey parrot to say "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty! Meow!"

We've trained the kitty to ignore the parrot.

But how do you train a praying mantis?

You don't.

Our resident praying mantis, the lean green machine, conceals himself in the African blue basil. That's been home, sweet home for the past week. Before that, it was the lantana, catmint, Mexican sunflower and cosmos. He goes where the bees are and the bees are now all over the African blue basil.

We cannot create a "No fly zone." We cannot ban the bees from traveling. And we cannot ban the praying mantis from doing what he does best: ambushing prey and eating them.

Lately, however, he's allowed us to photograph him in the early morning, before his bee breakfast.

He does not respond to "Say cheese!"

Nor does he respond to "Say bee!" Or "Say Apis mellifera!"

You cannot train a praying mantis.