This morning, while working in the garden I saw this handsome creature and had to take a photo of it (not sure if it’s male or female?). It is always fun to find a big praying mantis right up close. While they eat both beneficial and harmful insects in the garden, they are fascinating to have around just to watch. If there is an invasion of bean or harlequin beetles munching through your beans or broccoli, they will enjoy chowing down on them. They will also grab a passing bee or lacewing, too, but I feel it all balances out. Basically, for a praying mantis, all bugs are good bugs – good to eat. They are predators, after all. I read somewhere that in tropical areas they get really large and will chomp down on mice, lizards and birds occasionally! Fortunately, here in the U.S. they are just big enough to delight children with their strange appearance and to eat up some of those annoying insects that love our vegetables and flowers.