Yes, GREAT bugs! Whenever I have an infestation of some sort of bad bug, I'll go hunting for these and move them near the infestation. It seems to help a lot. And here's a neat story Mom loves to tell ~ when I was almost five, we bought a used trailer house to live in here on the farm. Apparently, the previous occupants had a roach problem and they came with it. Mom instructed us three kids to bring her every praying mantis we could find. Two weeks later and not a roach in sight. To this day, I've never seen a roach in Mom's house! Thank goodness, I can't stand them. *shudder*
These insects are carnivorous, so won't bother your plants at all. I've looked all over the 'net for a pic of the egg case, but only found one that looks even remotely like the ones we have here: http://www.desertusa.com/mag00/dec/papr/mantis.html The one in the pic may have already hatched out ~ it's kind of beat up looking. If you find any of these, it's a simple matter to transfer them to the garden and glue them up in a sheltered spot using just a tiny bit of glue.
George, i u have some brugs in ur garden, that is where u will find them. i have other plants in the yard, i only see them mostly on the brugmansia plants. they seem to be a permanent resident for them :).
they are not picky about what they eat eather if they are hungry. a friend of mine had a few in the house one spring and when it got warm out he went to put it out and it started to nibble on his finger befor he could get it out side. i guess it must have been very hungry I have handled many of these but that has never had that happen to me.