I was in my back yard this last weekend trying to start my lawnmowers. With the drought there has not been a need to cut the grass. I noticed that there was a dead insect and it brought back a memory that makes me laugh out loud every time.
We moved to Okinawa in the summer and after we settled down in the house we had a lot of exploring to do. During our explorations if we found something interesting or something that we did not know what it was we would bring it back to the expert, our Dad. If he didn’t know what it was, we would look it up in the encyclopedia. (Al Gore hadn’t invented the internet yet!) On one such occasion we brought home an object that intrigued us. We showed it to Dad and he thought it was a chrysalis. He explained that in a short time a butterfly should appear. We just had to see what the butterfly would look like. Dad got a jar and put a paper with a small amount of water on it, for the humidity he explained.
During the course of the week we had accumulated many of these objects and had the jars lined up in the living room. Dad finally had to put an end to it because there was too many and no room in the house. I can’t recall the exact number, but there were approximately ten to fifteen jars with five to ten of these objects in each one. Every day we would check the jars but never did we see any butterflies. As the days went by we lost interest in the jars and had all but given up on seeing any results. What ever it was had to be dead. Dad was ready to dump it all as well. One more week and it is all out of here.
About two days later we had a huge surprise! Not one had emerged, but it appeared that all of them had over night! The housekeeper was not happy. If fact she was screaming and really freaked out. She spoke very little English and we spoke even less Japanese at the time. I turned the corner out of my room and could not believe my eyes. The walls and ceiling were almost covered with preying mantises. There were green ones and brown ones and they were crawling all over the place. The maid came from the kitchen pointing a finger and yelling “Out! Out!” So I started to leave. Her yelling then became more persistent, “NO….Out!” She was pointing at all of the little mantises.
I gathered up my brothers (they helped collect the egg cases) and we started to collect the little guys and put them out of the house. We learned to use a piece of paper to scoop them up and remove them. It took us hours to collect the brood and remove the bulk of them. It was several weeks before we did not find them in the house.
We learned a valuable lesson with the mantis egg cases. In the future we then made sure that if we were going to have an unknown object in the house it was to be in a container that had a lid or top to it. We also learned that even though Dad was the smartest person we knew he didn’t know everything!