Praying mantids eat a wide variety of pest insects, mites, and insect eggs. Young mantids prey upon soft-bodied insects such as aphids, leafhoppers, mosquitoes, and caterpillars. As adults they will eat larger, hard shelled insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, and crickets.
Praying mantids are shipped in their natural egg cases, which are called ootheca. The ootheca are comprised of many single eggs encased in the mothers dried, foamy saliva. Each ootheca is gathered in the wild and may contain between 50 and 200 individual eggs.
With or Without Twigs Attached: There is no real difference between the
egg cases with twigs and those without. It is simply a matter
of how the grower harvests the egg cases. If egg cases are to be part of a
classroom project and will be handled by younger students, choose the cases with
twigs attached for easier handling and less chance of damaging the cases.
Outdoor release instructions for praying
mantid egg cases – with or without the twig:
attach the egg case(s) to a twig or a plant using a twist-tie or wire tie. Carefully wrap the wire around the egg case
and tie it to a branch in warm location with indirect (filtered) sunlight. Do
not hang in the direct sun. A hanging
egg case, especially one that swings or moves with the wind, is safer from birds
and other predators.
that if your egg case(s) have enough remaining twig, you may be able to omit
the twist tie. If there is enough length to the twig and you have the right sized V-junction
between branches or between the branch and trunk so that the egg case can be
safely and securely placed in that area, you may be able to position the egg
case by wedging the twig and egg case perpendicular to the trunk and branch of
the tree or shrub.
requires at least 10 to 15 days of
continuous warm weather but can take as long as 8 weeks to commence. Once hatching begins, the young will emerge
from the egg cases and will rapidly look for something to eat. If there are not pest insects nearby, they
may resort to cannibalizing their siblings.
expect to see any praying mantids emerge.
Once hatching commences, it will be complete within a few hours and the
newly hatched mantids disappear rapidly into the vegetation looking for food. This beneficial is well camouflaged and can
seem to disappear – they leave very little evidence of hatching.
Indoor release instructions for praying
mantid egg cases – with or without the twig:
praying mantids indoors can be a fun project for the entire family. Did you know that many people keep praying
mantids as indoor pets? People compare
them to cats in behavior. If you are
interested in raising a a mantid as a pet, there are many websites that can
help you to build and maintain a mantid habitat. However, if you wish to hatch them indoors
and release them into the garden, here are some instructions that will help you
sure that the egg cases are exposed to some humidity or they may dry out. Dried out egg cases are a leading cause of
poor or no hatching from your egg case.
container that has ventilation will do for hatching indoors – the container
does not need to be large. Many people
use a brown paper bag to hatch their mantids.
You will want a container that has a lid or that can be closed – if you
want to make a lid, use a fine gauge mesh to allow ventilation and provide a
place to secure the egg case(s). It is
more fun to be able to view the hatching, so use a translucent container. For paper bags you can add a viewing window
by cutting out a hole in the bag and taping plastic wrap over the hole to
create a window.
people recommend that you hang the egg case from the top of the container –
this is supported by science as the praying mantids actually rely upon gravity
to aid hatching. You can also, carefully
glue the egg case to the inside vertical wall of the container. Use a low heat glue gun if you wish to attach
the egg case with glue. In either case,
the egg cases should be no more than about 4 inches from the bottom of the
make sure that the egg cases have some humidity. A quick spritz with water can help, just
don’t allow the egg cases to get wet and remain wet or mold may develop. In
addition, as soon as the nymphs begin to emerge, they need water. One way to cope with both issues is to place
a moderately wet paper towel or some moistened coconut fiber in the bottom of
the container. Make sure to keep these
mantids are cannibalistic, so release them as soon as they begin to hatch or make sure that they have something to consume. It will take only about 2 hours for all of
the nymphs to emerge. Note that hatching
may begin in as few as 10 days (with continuous warm temperatures) or it can
take up to 8 weeks.
Optimal conditions for hatching are 70 to 90 degrees F, 40 - 95% humidity.
Outdoors, Vegetable Gardens, HoopHouses, Orchards & Vineyards, Greenhouse, Aquaponics
Pests and IPM
This product works as a beneficial insect for control of the following: Alfalfa Weevil (Hypera postica Gyllenhal), Aphids (Mult), Armyworm (Pseudaletia unipuncta), Bean Jassid , Beet Armyworm (Spodoptera exigua (Hubner)), Beet Leafhopper (Circulifer tenellus), Beetles , California Laurel Aphid (Euthoracaphis umbellulariae), Crickets, Grape Leafhopper (Erythroneura elegantula), Grasshopper (Gryllus), Leafhopper (Circulifer tenellus), Potato Leafhopper (Empoasca fabae)
cases/5,000 sq. ft. or 10-100 cases/acre.