Praying Mantis Feast On Garden Pests
If your looking for a natural way to rid your garden from pest insects
Get yourself a bunch of mean green eating machines like the photo above and not only will you have a garden with less pests you will also have a great conversation piece. Since I hatched these praying mantises I think I spend more time observing them grow then I do weeding and tending to the garden.
What You Will Learn In This Post
- What a Ootheca is and how to properly hatch them
- How to raise nymphs into large adults
- Facts on breeding and producing your own egg cases
- Two most common species of mantids kept in the garden
Month old Chinese praying mantis
How Do You Get Praying Mantis In Your Garden?
I would recommend you buy an ootheca which is a egg case. You can buy oothecas on the internet and they cost around $10 a piece. In the Fall the praying mantis female after mating builds these egg cases that look like foam to begin with and they eventually harden. I have included a picture below of a Chinese praying mantis ooth.
You can hang the ootheca in the garden using a twist tie and make sure it is not totally exposed to the sun and rain. I like to hatch the egg cases indoors as the success rate is a lot higher and once the nymphs hatch you can place them where you want or give some to friends and fellow gardeners. I did a in depth post on this on my Cool Pet Bugs site which you can check out to get all the specifics.
The Chinese praying mantis egg case could have up to 200 baby nymphs to get ready. Below is a picture of the set up I use to hatch ooths. As you can see this one just hatched and I have a ton of babies. Keep in mind praying mantis are cannibals and will begin eating each other if food is not provided to them.
If you want to keep a few as pets you can buy wingless fruit flies which makes the perfect food for young nymphs. Or you could collect wild insects in your garden. As they get bigger you will need to increase the size of the prey to house flies.
The ideal temperature is around 75 degrees F to hatch you egg cases so be mindful of the forecast. I live in Minnesota and I had a few ooths hatch early so I released several into the garden and was amazed to see that they survived temperatures in the 30’s F at night.
I have several gardens so I placed a couple dozen nymphs in each garden so I could increase the chance of them surviving and get the benefit of them eating the harmful insects in my garden.
As long as the praying mantis has prey to eat and good cover to hide in they will stay right in the same garden. The mantis will moult which is shedding their skin around eight times before becoming adult praying mantis.
That’s really all there is to it. The rest is up to nature and if your lucky you will have oothecas to harvest in fall for next years garden.
My Chinese Praying Mantis Were Full Grown After 4 Months
I live in Minnesota and this spring we really had a late start regarding warm temperatures. My mantis nymphs hatched in the first week of May and there were not a lot of insects for the nymphs to eat so I did notice them moving to different areas in the yard and found a few in the neighbors yard.
By July I was only able to find around 25 nymphs in the yard. I’m not sure if they were eaten by birds, died from the cold or dispersed to other yards. By this time they were about half grown and are very quick and nervous when you approach them.
Brown Chinese Praying Mantis Adult