Aug 28, 2012

Mantis

I knew there was something that I forgot to mention in my 1970's post from last week. Something that I wanted to run by y'all.

Source: Wikipedia
Does anyone remember hearing that it was illegal to kill a praying mantis? Maybe when you were a kid?
Or is it a regional thing? I know that it was something that I heard many times when I was a wee child. "Don't you ever kill a praying mantis! The cops will find you and throw you in jail!" The crime was accompanied by a fine anywhere from $50 to $1,000 or so. It's something that everyone I have ever asked also "knew" about.

But here's the thing. There is no law against killing them. There has never been a law against killing them. I don't know how that rumor started. Maybe it's because they are an attractive and beneficial insect. Some organic farmers use them as a form of pest control, but they will eat pests along with other beneficial insects as well so I don't know how well that works. But, regardless of their use, they aren't a pest. They don't destroy crops. And they are kinda noble looking.

So maybe farmers told their kids a long time ago that it was illegal to kill a praying mantis. Or maybe it was a religious thing. Some cultures revere the praying mantis. Whatever it was, the insecticide rumor was passed down from generation to generation. I remember hearing about it vividly. I even remember a friend of mine from the neighborhood capturing one and telling him that he better release him because the cops were gonna put him in jail if it died. I think I scared that dude straight because he let it go.

Is this something you heard about when you were a kid? Or is it just a regional Northeast thing? Inquiring minds and all. 

20 comments:

Water Logged Canine said...

Never heard this before in my whole life. Stupidest gawd damn thing I've ever read, and that includes the bible. My vote is regional.

rachel said...

I remember hearing that when I was little, but I grew up in Huntington, so maybe it's a LI thing.

Mrs. Hall said...

I don't think I had ever heard that.

But, I remember reading the 'Grapes of Wrath' and vividly recall the descriptions of locusts. How they would swarm the crops and eat everything in sight. Then they would swarm the shed, eating through the wood, eating the handles on the shovels. ..

so, there's that memory in my brain.

good times!!

btw. I DON'T AGREE WITH THE DEATH OF RUSSELL EDGINGTON. he was the only character that showed new promise on that show. i mean, besides eric of course.

Heff said...

Never heard that, but I've also never killed one because I think they're cool.

Happy Mommy said...

I heard it, too. In fact, I tell my children the same thing. I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA... but my folks were from NJ. And now I'm in Florida, so the rumor is spreading south, now. :-)

B.E. Earl said...

WLC - I will not have you trash the greatest book ever written on this site. Oh, okay...go ahead. I'll see you in Hell for Happy Hour. Drinks on Satan!

Rachel - That's two votes for regional.

Holly - Actually, I don't watch True Blood anymore. Sorry. :)

Heff - Very fucking cool. Why would anyone want to kill one?

Happy Mommy - I'm thinking it might be a NE thing, but thanks for spreading our madness south.

Mrs. Hall said...

yeah, true blood. it's totally gone off the rails these last two seasons. i don't even know why i watch it. besides loyalty and wanting to see how that dang thing ends.

THAT BEING said, started up Breaking Bad. Have watched the first 4 episodes of season one. Which will tide us over until The walking dead comes back

:)

B.E. Earl said...

Holly - Breaking Bad is the best show on television. Period. It gets...insane.

hello haha narf said...

born and raised in pittsburgh, pa. my mom told me they were harmless and that they were protected so we couldn't kill them. she said all kinds of great things about them so i always have had a soft spot for them. kind of totally love them.
and yes, still living here in the burgh i still hear people talk about the fines if you kill one. the legend lives on!

B.E. Earl said...

Becky - Another vote for a Northeast (or Mid-Atlantic) regional thing. I saw a nest (?) of them hatch once. Amazing. Thousands of tiny mantis crawling all over this bush. Only a small fraction of them survive that phase, but it was still amazing.

savannah said...

regional, sugar! but what the hell do i know about bugs? xoxoxoxox

sybil law said...

Never heard that before, but why would anyone kill them? They're super cool.

B.E. Earl said...

Savannah - And the Southeast is heard from with a no. Thanks!

Sybil - People are idiots.

Chef Files said...

It's only a matter of time before they turn up at the bottom of a bottle of tequilla next to a slice of bacon.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

yup, I heard that and I also heard never to pick a lady slipper in the woods or the police would lock you up too.

Ever heard that one?

B.E. Earl said...

Mr. Files - They are pretty large. Would be a waste of good liquor space to force one into a bottle.

Candy - Nope...I have no idea what kind of bug (?) a lady slipper is. Gonna check that one out. Thanks!

Dr Zibbs said...

HAHA! I remember hearing this as well. And I looked on Snopes.com and it says the story started in the 50's.

Slyde said...

its funny you mentioned this. I had told mini-me this once, and out of the blue he brought it up yesterday.

i had grown up believing there was $1000 fine for it. so there you have it.

B.E. Earl said...

Zibbs - Maybe. I started hearing about it in the 70's.

Slyde - Another Long Islander heard from.

Always Home and Uncool said...

I remembering hearing that here in CT. But we are bleeding heart liberals.