I've been doing a bit of Spring cleaning in the garden beds recently and have been trying very hard to keep my eyes open for overwintering insects or eggs, so as not to accidentally toss them into the compost pile. Once again, it's truly amazing to see what's up under our noses, unbeknownst to us all this time. So far I've found three praying mantis egg cases, and thanks to David at A Native Backyard for the ID tip. Apparently, right before she dies at the end of summer, a female praying mantis lays her eggs in these hard foam cases to overwinter and hatch the following spring.
Please! Be careful while tidying up this spring and don't unintentionally toss away one of these egg cases of this most beneficial insect!
I plan on checking them every day (if I can remember) in hopes that I'll get to see them hatching.
They're quite small, probably only 1-1.5 inches across...