CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A state bird or flower sounds common, but have you ever heard of a state insect?
The official state insect for South Carolina is the Carolina Mantis according to an act in 1988. And the mantis can be a benefit for gardens.
Not only is the praying mantis recognizable throughout the Palmetto State as well as across the Carolinas, but the Carolina Mantis helps to control insects. They rely on their camouflage, more of grey, brown, and greenish appearance to feed on other insects.
Adult mantises will lay low on flowers and plants as they wait to hunt for a wide range of insects.
Arborist Laurie Reid said many gardeners hatch their own mantids to protect their land and crops.
“We do recommend if you find the little egg cases of the Carolina, that’s great, keep it in your garden," she said.
Reid recommends gardeners should avoid buying eggs to hatch the Chinese mantid, which she says can grow up 6 inches long, are typically bright green, and can be harmful.
"We don’t want to promote that, while they do catch a lot of things in the garden. They can potentially catch larger butterflies and possibly hummingbirds, we just don’t recommend you buy that for your garden,” Reid said.
The mantid will live for one growing season and then die after the first autumn frost.
Contact KJ Jacobs at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.