Did you know that for just $24 you can buy 1,000 baby praying mantises? I’m tempted.
My basement was a little damp last week. And by “a little damp” I mean I spent two days lugging buckets of water up the stairs and dumping them outside. If you’ve always wanted an indoor swimming pool, here’s what you’ll need [I’ll get to the praying mantises in a second]:
1. A torrential downpour that lasts six hours
2. A leaky rubble stone foundation
3. A sewer line clogged with tree roots
4. A water pipe that’s temporarily uncapped (in my case, due to an ongoing kitchen reno)
Yep…my house was deluged with rain. Water poured in through the basement walls. The sump pump sucked up the water but (since the sewer line was clogged) spewed it right back into the basement through the uncapped water pipe.
Now, one week later, the skies have cleared, the tree roots have been chopped out of the sewer line and the uncapped pipe has a pretty new hat.
The one remaining problem: My damp basement has turned into bug-a-palooza. I have hoards and hoards of flies. So many flies that even daily killing sprees aren’t making a dent.
And that’s where praying mantises come in. Turns out praying mantises love eating flies. Theoretically, for $24, I could buy enough of these nifty little insects to wipe out my entire basement fly colony.
My quandary? Praying mantises are kinda creepy. The proof:
*They’re possessed. Remember how, in the movie The Exorcist, that girl’s head spun right around so she could glare at the people behind her? Yeah, praying mantises can do that. And they’ve got five buggy little eyes, plus an ear on their bellies. You simply cannot sneak up on them.
*They’re freakishly fast. You know how hard it is to kill a fly, right? Well, scientists have measured the reaction speed of praying mantises (using whack-a-mole, I’m assuming) and found that these green globs of lightening are twice as fast as flies. Good luck catching one.
*They have a shady past. I used to think a praying mantis was just a grasshopper with a skinny neck and pointy chin. Not true. Praying mantises are actually close relatives of cockroaches—do you want that kind of riff raff in your home?
*They think you’re delicious. Praying mantises can grow 4” in length—that’s as long as a mouse. They also bite—hard—and they like to eat raw meat. Which, I should point out, is exactly what people are made of.
So, yes, I could clean out my fly infestation by getting 2,000 baby praying mantises shipped here. But then I’d end up with 2,000 mouse-sized, flesh-eating, head-spinning cockroach cousins looking for fresh meat.
I need another option. Perhaps I should start breeding toads.