Here at KCC we love getting letters, drawings and pictures with a “What’s this?” question attached. The latest one is from KCC member Emily Price. She wanted to know what the creature on her hand was. Thankfully it wasn’t a hand eating insect but it was a mate eating one!
Here in New Zealand we have two species of praying mantis. One is native and the other is from South Africa.
Everyday people and goods come into New Zealand from all over the world. Have you ever had to check for food in your luggage at the airport? Somehow a praying mantis or two got through all our bio security checks, which try to stop these pests coming into New Zealand, and they ended up here.
Since then the Springbok praying mantis (as it’s also known) has not been kind to our natives. Our New Zealand population is not doing well and to make matters worse the male New Zealand praying mantis can not tell the different between the females of both species and soon after mating with a Springbok he can end up as dinner!
What can you do to help?
Check for egg cases around your house. Our natives have tidy brown, oval cases with a figure of eight pattern on them. The springbok’s egg case looks like a puffy-white oblong shaped pavlova.
Send us some pictures and you if you’re right you can do a bit of pest control yourselves and help bring back the natives to your garden!