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South Carolina, United States
Vetsy is my nickname that my family have fondly called me since my childhood. My blog reflects my personal views about the world around me. My topics may be anything that interest me but the majority of it is about my favorite past times...nature and gardening. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment or becoming a follower.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hummingbirds.... beware!

                                            Photo credit: newnaturalist.com

As a child I thought the Praying Mantis was one of the scariest, but  yet the most interesting insect that I had ever seen. It appeared very alien to me with it's triangle shaped head and large eyes that set at the corners of it's head. The fact that it is even an insect continues to disturb me until this day.  It's just sooo wieerrrd it gives me the creeps!

        As I began to move toward gardening with-out pesticides. I entertained the thought of using beneficial insects and the Praying Mantis happened to be one among many on the list.

It, I read.. has a ravenous appetite and will gobble up those insects that trouble the gardener like... aphids, flies, crickets and grasshoppers, but it's ferocious appetite causes it to cross the line... Adding to it's dinner plate beneficial insects like lacewings, and hover flies....

Mmmm, I thought to myself..... perhaps the benefits will out-weigh a few of it's short comings... Maybe if it ate more aphids than hover flies... perhaps I could ignore it's misgivings... ....  Not!!

                            Praying mantis eating aphids. Photo © Debbie Hadley, WILD Jersey

  While searching the net... I came across several photo's and video's of Praying Mantises chewing on one of my favorite little pollinators.. the (Hummingbird) and I was Mortified!!

I fell in love with hummer's every since I visited my family in South Carolina for our family reunion.  I sat spellbound as I watched them zoom, in...out.. and around, the flower gardens. I  thought about one day returning to the south and once there, I would plant everything the hummers enjoyed.

I was awe stricken and felt a little queasy after viewing these photos...But at the same time, I'm thankful that Mr. Walkup and others on the net are sharing their photos and Videos ( Youtube) with the public, for it has educated and alerted me about the power, and behavior of the Praying Mantis.

Warning: Photos Below are graphic!

                                                  photo credit: Richard Walkup. West Chester, PA

                                        The mantis impales the hummingbird chest with its foreclaws.

                               Photo by Sharon Fullingim, published on National Geographic Your Shot

I was not happy to learn that the Carolina Mantis happens to be one of South Carolina's official insects....But.. I don't plan on encouraging them to stay around... ladybirds will work just fine thank you.

Have you used beneficial insects? If so which ones? What do you think about using the Praying Mantis as an beneficial insect in your garden?


  1. Vesty, I had no clue that pray mantis could/would kill humming birds. Absolutely amazing. We see maybe one a season here. I don't think I like them any more.

  2. LoL the same here... I use to see a lot of them when I was a little girl. I haven't seen any here in Michigan since I was 12 years old and had forgotten about them until recently.

  3. I share the same thoughts and observations with you and Ann. I have not seen a praying mantis in my garden yet. In Malaysia, it is quite difficult to see hummingbirds but sunbirds are more common.

    In my garden, I just let the bugs go about their bug business the natural way:

    Plant -> caterpillar/grasshopper -> birds

    Mother Nature will control their population. The beneficial insects I like in my garden are dragonflies, butterflies and spiders.

  4. Autumn.. I'll take a spider over the mantis any day..Lol!

  5. Dear Vetsy, I was considering buying praying mantis to control aphids on my roses. Now I think not. I will stick to purchasing ladybugs. Interesting post! P. x

  6. Thank you Miriam..Nice to meet you.

    Thanks Pam..I've always liked ladybugs, but now I liked them even more..

  7. I didn't know that about praying mantises. Yuk! I haven't seen the smaller ones I used to see. Now, we have a larger kind that is not native. I have only seen them a few times over the years. We have ladybugs, too. A few years ago, there were a huge number of them in my garden across the street.

    Since we don't have many hummingbirds around, I'll probably leave any mantises I see alone.

  8. Sue your are right... I guess it would not be a bad idea to leave them be if there aren't many hummers around. I think I would do the same.

  9. wow! good to know. I absolutely don't like any kind of bugs! I know there are good ones and I have learned not to come undone when I see the bugs in my garden, but if I could garden without bugs altogether I certainly would!

  10. Lol! wouldn't we all.. I must take on your attitude towards bugs..It's a good one to have if you are going to do any gardening.

  11. No way! I've always thought they looked like aliens too, and bugs in general scare me, but I've learned to accept that they're going to be in the garden. But this is just sad. :(
    Poor hummingbirds!

  12. Angela I was just horrified! But like the rest of you I have to accept that this is part of nature
    .... Eeewww!

  13. Vetsy girl I saw this a few weeks ago on a nature show and I was dumbfounded !! .. I couldn't believe the mantis did that .. it was simply astounding. I hope never to see it in real life.
    I haven't seen any hummers this year .. I am sure they have to be around but I'm not in the right place at the right time I guess .. and I keep escaping the heat by staying in the house, so I guess the chances are slim for seeing anything ? haha
    Yes .. humid heat SUCKS ! I can't wait for Fall already !! Thanks for stopping by my blog girl!
    Joy : )

  14. My thoughts mirror yours about never having to see this in action! Yes I know that things like this happen in nature... But nature can still be shocking to me at times.

  15. I have had mantis and Hummers for over 30 years and I have never, ever seen anything like this...
    This must be some Super Big mantis.....not a native in my area mantis for sure.
    My Mantis are small...way too small to be a threat to a Hummingbird. I love bugs.....
    I love Hummingbirds too....
    I am an organic gardener too.
    Keeping things in balance helps.
    I am still in shock over the Mantis and the Hummingbird....

  16. Uh, WOW! That is amazing. When I was young I lived in Arizona and LOVED Praying Mantis'. I always thought they were so beautiful. Now I am not so sure, little murderers they are!