Using The Praying Mantis For Organic Pest Control

Praying Mantis
Praying Mantis

The praying mantis is an oddity with their large size and ability to turn their head 180 degrees. However, this odd little creature just might be an organic gardener’s best friend. For those who dread the thought of chemical pest control the praying mantis may just be a savior. What better form of organic pest control could there be? The praying mantises are effective at controlling problematic bugs and worms that can destroy a garden. They are great for both ornamental and vegetable gardens.

They are one of the few nocturnal predators capable of catching and eating moths. The moth itself isn’t a problem; it is their larvae that can destroy plants. In fact, these destructive larvae can destroy whole plants in a matter of days.

Rest assured, there is no need to worry about the larvae from a praying mantis as their young, called nymphs, are born already formed-no larvae stage. Best of all from a gardeners standpoint, moments after emerging the little nymphs are hungry and start hunting for prey to appease their hunger.

There are three stages to the praying mantis life cycle; the egg stage, nymph stage and adult stage. The life span of an adult praying mantis is typically six months.

The organic gardener needs to take care when pruning or cleaning up the garden in the fall so they do not unintentionally destroy any praying mantis eggs. Female mantises mate in the late summer and will lay her eggs in the fall. This is typically near the end of the female’s life cycle.

The female will generally deposit her eggs on a branch or twig but occasionally leaves them on walls, fences or under eaves. They are ensconced in a frothy liquid, termed ootheca, which will harden into an egg case about the size of a pencil and approximately an inch long.

Again, it is important that the organic gardener recognize the egg cases so they don’t inadvertently destroy them. They are most visible in the winter when trees and shrubs lose their leaves. Any of the cases found should be set aside and protected in a safe part of the garden if they must be moved. They should never be placed directly on the ground as ants find them to be a treat and will quickly consume them.

The young nymphs are only about the size of a small ant when they emerge but they are hungry little bugs. They will immediately begin assailing and eating leaf hoppers, gnats, aphids and other small insects.

An organic gardener knows that their garden relies on the delicate balance of predator and prey to keep unwanted pests at bay. Using the praying mantis is one of the most efficient and safest forms of organic pest control available.

The Life Cycle Of The Chinese Praying Mantis

When you first see an advertisement encouraging you to buy a praying mantis for sale you may want to know a little bit about the life cycle of a praying mantis. Praying mantises have a short but very interesting lifespan. One example of a praying mantis species with an interesting lifespan is the Chinese praying mantis

The life of a Chinese praying mantis starts as one of as many as four hundred praying mantis eggs in an egg sack. This sack can be as large as a ping pong ball. This egg sack is often found attached to vegetation. This vegetation can include bushes or trees. After emerging from the egg sack Chinese praying mantises begin to eat and grow. They eat other small insects. These insect include crickets, spiders, and cockroaches. Their diet of other insects has gained them a reputation as organic pest control and many people have begun placing Chinese mantises in their gardens.

As they continue to eat the Chinese praying mantis also continues to grow. Chinese mantises can grow as long as eleven centimeters, or more than four inches. This size makes the Chinese mantis the largest one found in North America.

Even as they continue to grow Chinese mantis have to worry about predators. In its’ native habitat the Chinese mantis is hunted by birds, other mantises, and the Asian Green Hornet, but in North America the Asian Green Hornet does not exist. Even though the Chinese mantis is not hunted by the Asian Green Hornet in North America its’ population is pretty well controlled by the large bird population found in North America. This prevents the mantis from becoming an invasive species.

When the Chinese mantis mates the female often consumes the male either during or after the mating ritual. Because of this habit the female mantis tend to have a much longer lifespan and also tend to grow much larger. This behavior is also seen in most other species of praying mantis.

Since the female mantis lives longer it sometimes has been observed consuming much larger prey. This prey can include small reptiles such as lizards or frogs. Occasionally the mantis has even been seen eating small hummingbirds. If you have praying mantises and you are trying to have hummingbirds around you may want to make sure to put your bird feeder and bird bath out of reach of the praying mantis.

Now that you know more about the Chinese praying mantises life cycle hopefully you will be more informed when you see a praying mantis for sale. They can be a wonderful form of natural pest control as they are proven bug killers. Also know that you know more you’ll be able to inform your neighbors and visitors that they are harmless.

The Dark And Fascinating Mating Habits Of The Praying Mantis

The praying mantis, so named for the prayer like gesture that it’s “hands,” seem to be making when inert, is a voracious predator. People often talk of the strange, black widow like mating habits of the praying mantis. Like the females proclivity to eat the male after mating and so has come to be viewed as something of an evil seductress. The insatiable, femme fatale who lures the poor, unsuspecting male praying mantis to his inevitable doom. But is such a dark and dreary reputation deserved? Does the conjoining of male and female in the praying mantis species always end in cannibalism? Let us explore the answer below.

The first time that the mantis’ cannibalistic proclivities began to surface to the world was when scientists attempted to observed them in a laboratory setting. The researchers would proffer a captive female with a prospective male mate. They would then sit back and watch with shock and horror as the female mantis tore the poor male apart, limb by limb and then devoured it’s head.

The male had served his purpose as a mate and was therefore disposable. Nothing more or less than a warm meal. For many years this bizarre ritual was thought to be the universal way in which the praying mantis bred in the wild.

However, things could not be further from the truth and when entomologists began to observe the praying mantis in it’s natural habitat, the story tended to end quite differently; specifically, much more happily for the males. For when they were unconfined in a laboratory setting, almost all of the praying mantis mating that was observed ended with the male mantis flying away, unscathed. By all modern calculations, the sexual cannibalism observed occurs less than thirty percent of time when the male and female are in a unbound setting beyond a lab. That, for the male, is quite a good set of odds of eaten or not eaten.

The sexual ritual of the praying mantis is also quite different in the wild, as it turns out. It is a lengthy courtship, quite a romantic thing far removed from the horrid decapitations of a lab, and typically ends with both parties quite satisfied and unharmed.

Yet there is a undeniable, somewhat horrible, advantage to the female if she does decide to decapitated her unsuspecting lover. It is a strange fact and yet completely true that the brain of a praying mantis controls inhibition. A similar ganglion in the abdomen, takes over for the bodily motions involved in mantis reproduction. Therefore, if the female decapitates the males head during intercourse he will copulate to her with wild abandon.

And so what if the female is hungry? That is typically where the thirty percent comes in. If a male chooses to mate with a hungry female he is unlikely to live to bred again.

The Myths And Legends Of The Praying Mantis


Insects hold many places in our collective culture. Spiders are generally feared and shied away from. Ants are generally seen as nuisances and destroyed quickly. Caterpillars are seen with wonder as they cocoon themselves and become the butterfly, a thing of beauty and wonder that capture all our imaginations.

Yet no creature of the insect creature is so prevalent in everyday life, as still mysterious and myth shrouded as the Praying Mantis. These bug killers are still looked at through a veil of myth and wonder even though they are now prevalent on every continent in the world save Antarctica.

The ancient Chinese saw the praying mantis as a symbol of fearlessness and courage. They used the creature as a symbol for how to wage war, ‘strike fast and without hesitation.’ The Mantis has even been the inspiration behind not one, but two separate styles of martial arts combat. The creature has seen an almost worship of its movements, and the two Mantis Styles are even becoming popular in the west now as well.

Speaking of worship, did you know that the Mantis is seen as a god in two separate yet connected traditions of South Africa? Mantis and several other bugs and arachnids are seen as gods in African mythology. Meaning Seer in ancient Greek languages, the Mantis holds a place of honor in their myths as well. The Mantis is being seen as a sort of prophet or symbol of wisdom to the ancient Greeks. In Australia, native populations and even animal populations fear them and avoid their territory.

Praying mantis can be terrifying to behold with its speed (they strike faster than a human can see) and voraciousness. Large Mantis’ have been known to capture small lizards. They have been known to kill birds (even fast little hummingbirds) and feast on them as well. They are majestic predators of the first order using speed and cunning and camouflage to get it done.

Now for a few weird facts about Mantis. They can rotate their heads a full 180 degrees. It makes for a weird and amusing site. They are relatively new on the evolutionary track and serve as a good study in recent genetic evolutions. And yes a female mantis sometimes will eat their mate after the mating is done.

Today we find Praying Mantis for sale as pets or agriculture aids. They are used to control pests in crops as a natural pest control. They are also used heavily as an organic pest control, and a preventative pest control. Praying mantis pets are sought after over the entirety of the exotic animal market.

Whatever you’re reasoning for looking into one, a Praying Mantis is a fantastic and wondrous creature. Worth every bit of study and reading, and truly deserving of the myth and reverence they hold.

Female Praying Mantises – Saints In The Organic Garden

Insect pests don’t have a prayer of a chance to survive if there are praying mantises around.

The most distinctive feature of these unique-looking creatures is their grasping front legs that make the mantis appear to be praying. With its wide eyes and ability to rotate its head a full 180 degrees, the praying mantis is a formidable predator, capable of spotting prey up to 20 meters away. The praying mantis has one ear located on its thorax, enabling it to listen for bats, its primary predator.

The praying mantis has a voracious appetite and will eat almost any type of insect, sometimes including its own kind. It is especially helpful to organic gardeners who choose to allow nature to solve insect pest problems, rather than spray chemical pesticides. A mantis never eats crops, leaves, or plants. It also camouflages easily in grass or shrubs, changing from green to dark brown, and can appear to be a large twig.

Mantises prey on beetles, grasshoppers and roaches, and can consume up to 16 crickets in a day. Their nocturnal hunting activity focuses on moths, mosquitoes and houseflies. Incredibly, moth larvae can eat an entire plant in a few days, making the moth population control by praying mantises indispensable.

The female praying mantis has a bigger abdomen and is heavier than the male, and the female has six abdominal segments as opposed to the male’s eight segments. Other differing features include the female’s shorter, thinner antennae and shorter wings. The praying mantis mates in late summer, and this ritual begins with the male dancing in front of the female, followed by copulation that can last for hours. If the female is hungry, she will cannibalize her male partner by biting his head off and then eating him.

After mating, the female praying mantis stops flying and eats incessantly. After laying her eggs in the fall, the female dies within two weeks, ending her one-year life span. Mantis eggs are enclosed in a case that holds approximately 200 eggs, protected by a frothy sheath the female deposits to protect the eggs until they hatch.

Egg cases hatch in the spring when temperatures warm, and the one-eight inch long nymphs are predators from birth, immediately devouring insects they are capable of eating. After molting numerous times, the nymphs become six-inch long adult mantises.

Gardeners wishing to add this amazing insect to rid their insect pests can purchase dormant praying mantis egg cases at garden centers or online garden supply companies. Sets of three cases cost under $12 and cover an area of 6500 square feet; ten to 100 cases can cover an acre. If the cases are not released immediately, they can be refrigerated for up to one week. When putting cases in the garden, they should be tied to plant branches at least three feet above the ground.

The angelic-looking praying mantis is a deadly predator that is a welcome alternative to chemical pesticides in the organic garden.

Sources:

www.thebeneficialinsectco.com

www.keepinginsects.com

www.hgtv.com

www.insects.about.com

www.gardeninsects.com

www.prayingmantisfacts.net

www.natpestco.com

The Joys Of Owning A Chinese Praying Mantis

If you are interested in a praying mantis for sale, or thinking of being an owner, then this article will be beneficial to you. First, think of owning your mantis for organic pest control. If you are deploying broad spectrum chemicals on your property, you won’t find one as Chinese Praying Mantis only are happy in environments that are free of chemicals.

But using the Chinese Praying Mantis for organic pest control is common. People often buy large supplies of nymphs each spring and place them in their garden. Ferocious predators, they work for you all their life of maybe a year, serving you well.

As a praying mantis pet, they are a good addition to your family. They reach about five inches long with colors ranging from pale green or tan with a distinct line of green running down its body. Blessed with a head shaped as a triangle that swivels, it is a superior hunter, as it will track without moving. Fascinating to watch, any insect that flies or creeps slowly past makes a yummy meal.

Harmless to humans, they can at times not be kind to each other. The praying mantis life cycle is interesting. Often after mating the female will eat the male to help feed the praying mantis eggs as well as nutrition to the mother. The sexual cannibalism is common. Mating usually begins in the fall. On the average, four hundred eggs are developed in a foamy mass that hardens into a capsule that can hang on a tree, placed on the ground, or any flat surface. Sometimes the mother will stand guard.

Watching for not hatchings of praying mantis are fun. Gather an egg case and find a brown bag of paper. Fasten it closed with a wooden clothes pin or a paper clip. Put the bag in a safe place in a warm sunny place. Check the bag on a periodic schedule and if you see babies, gently tag their home outside and place every few all over your property. You may have to wait for hatchings to appear in eight weeks so patience in this case is a future.

The three stages of the praying mantis life cycle are egg, then the baby nymph, and then swift growth to adult. Nymphs are without wings or genitals that function.

If you purchase a praying mantis as a pet, they adapt to the presence of humans and will become friends and low you to hold them by perching on your hand and often taking feedings from you. They are easy to care for but remember they must live alone. An exoskeleton is present and molting does occur as the mantis grows. In warmer climates, mantises live ten to twelve months. Cold climates are not kind to both male and female. Those mantises in captivity tend to live a few more months.

An interesting side note: Several martial arts moves and strategies have been developed in northern China, which are patterned after the Chinese Praying Mantis. In recent decades, popularity for these martial arts has increased in North America.

Praying Mantis Army Defends And Protects My Backyard Garden From Pests!

As young Boy Scouts growing up in the Carolina outdoors, we were fascinated with all of the animals, insects and other “critters” we could find in the woods and swamps of the Piedmont. But the praying mantis was always among our most sought-after finds – any large, voracious predatory beast like the praying mantis that would attack and eat lesser insects are always of tremendous interest to young boys, and having praying mantis pets in the home terrarium would make any boy the boss of his neighborhood.

I never captured one until many years later, on a late night fuel stop deep in the tobacco road region of South Carolina when my dream of having a pet praying mantis finally came true – a magnificent 5” specimen landed right on top of my car hood as I sleepily filled my tank. Moving slowly and deliberately as not to startle him into flying off, I managed to throw a pillow case over him and captured my trophy-sized Carolina Praying Mantis at last!

Once I got home and put him in a hastily-prepared terrarium made from an old fish tank, I immediately set out to learn every praying mantis fact I could find – learning how to feed and care for them, all about praying mantis life cycles, breeding, praying mantis eggs, etc – everything I could find in my encyclopedias and online. It was only then that I learned their tremendous potential for organic pest control that would allow me to convert my entire backyard garden to this natural pest control method – the Praying Mantis was the ruthless bug killer that would finally save my grape vines from the nasty little grub worms that had stripped entire stalks of leaves overnight!

As my two young sons captured and fed all sorts of bugs to “Attila”, our beloved 5” praying mantis pet, I excitedly ordered praying mantis eggs for our extensive back yard garden. The pods arrived in perfect condition, and I just placed them among the cornstalks, bean poles, grape vines and tomato cages in my raised square foot garden plots and left them to nature. Not long afterward, the pods just emptied themselves naturally, unleashing an army of hungry praying mantis predators to execute the preventative and natural pest control I wanted for my family’s vegetable garden.

Knowing that this little army of bug-eaters were hard at work, I warily skipped my yearly application of chemical pest control products, and hopefully crossed my fingers. Amazingly, while this brigade of aggressive pest predators still remained very difficult to spot at work in my garden, the entire crop thrived and produced the first worm-free corn stalks, grape vines, and healthy, uninjured vegetable plants in my entire gardening history! The Praying Mantis army had conquered and devoured pretty much every pest in my garden!

Praying Mantises As Bug Killers

Praying Mantises can be found for sale in many easy and convenient ways now. You can find them online on popular sites such as Amazon and eBay as adults or in egg cases. Adult mantises tend to run more expensive, while egg cases can be purchased in bulk. Cases are typically sold in sets of 5, with each case yielding 200-2,000 babies. These can be purchased for $17.99 to $35.00, but smaller lots of 3 can go for less than $10.00. Garden stores, such as big name chains Home Depot and Lowe’s, can sell tens of thousands of mantis egg cases each year. They are typically available January through April as mantises lay eggs in the spring and these cases need to be stored at low temperature to simulate the hibernation cycle.

If you’re wondering why these would be so widely available you’re asking the right question. There are many reasons why one might want purchase a Praying Mantis or mantis eggs, but one of the most beneficial reasons to have a Praying Mantis around is because of its inherent ability to keep away unwanted bugs. Many gardeners, who believe in an organic approach to gardening, work to avoid using pesticides and one way they do this by using mantises as a biological pest control. Each case contains about 200 eggs and covers about 6,500 square feet. At less than $10 a case this is a very affordable and environmentally free way to protect your garden.

Praying Mantises are natural predators to many types of bugs that plague gardens and yards. This includes: Japanese Beetles, the culprits that eat your beautiful roses, moths, whose larvae can destroy entire plants over the course of just a few days, grasshoppers, stink bugs, flies, aphids, and insects. Praying Mantises are predatory in nature but harmless to humans; therefore making a great natural remedy for unwanted pests in your yard or gardens. Praying mantises will be the gift that keeps on giving as you can look for your current praying mantis to lay egg sacks which you can take care of during the hibernation period in order to have more for the next season.

If you are a creative gardener who loves to promote and observe nature being nature than the use of praying mantises in your garden is the perfect option for you. These natural predators will create a welcomed balance in your garden oasis and will have all your neighbors asking what your secret is. You can sleep soundly knowing that you are not pouring any harmful chemicals into Mother Earth and are still able to produce plants and flowers of great size and beauty. Tap into this natural remedy today in order to produce the results that you are looking for.

Praying Mantises – An Amazing Form Of Preventative Pest Control

Insects and small reptiles can be a pest to people both in the yard and in the home. You may be tempted to spray your home with pesticides in hopes of keeping these pests at bay. However these chemicals only temporarily solve the problem. By putting your praying mantises in your yard you will be putting natural pest control in your yard that will lower the number of insects you see.

The praying mantis eats a diet that primarily consists of the meat from smaller insects and in some cases rodents and lizards. Since they don’t eat plants they pose no threat to plants in your yard or in your garden. When you put praying mantises in your yard you do not have to worry about them consuming your precious plants.

When looking for praying mantises you should strongly consider buying praying mantis eggs. An egg pouch can provide you with hundreds of praying mantises. The praying mantis life cycle is fairly short (about a year) and a single praying mantis will not be an effective enough bug killer but by using an egg pouch you will guarantee that you have enough praying mantises to deal with any pest problem you may be having and you these praying mantises will breed and provide you with future generations of bug killers.

One species of praying mantis to consider would be the Chinese praying mantis. This variety has been in the United States for over a hundred years as a form of organic pest control and there are no concerns that it may develop into an invasive species. This variety is very easy to take care of and if you put it in an environment with a large amount of pests the population should essentially take care of itself.

If you have young children in your household or visiting you may want to talk to them about the praying mantises in your yard. Children are often scared of insects and may harm the insect out of fear. By explaining that the praying mantis is a form of preventative pest control you will be able to teach them about the food chain and about the life cycle. What could have been a scary experience can become an educational one. One educational fact people may find interesting is that female praying mantises eat their mates soon after mating. They may also be interested to learn that praying mantises do not eat plants and only eat insects.

Praying mantises are an amazing form of natural pest control that will keep the pests in your yard and garden under control. Hopefully by having praying mantises in your yard you will also have a reduction in the amount of pests you see in your house as well.

The Praying Mantis: The Hero That Your Garden (Probably) Deserves

When the casual garden-dweller witnesses a praying mantis in action, it is probably not without some trepidation. These carnivores are swift enough to snag a moth in mid-air and merciless enough to consume members of their own species when other sources of food run low. Even their appearance is unnerving; with two bulging eyes atop a narrow face, the mantis resembles the archetypical alien of twentieth-century sci-fi films. Mantises can even rotate their head a full 360 degrees—not unlike young Regan from The Exorcist. While these creatures are certainly horror-movie material as far as other insects are concerned, their voracious appetite makes them particularly useful to gardeners. When it comes to biological pest control, the praying mantis is the grower’s best friend.

Mantises target many of the more burdensome leaf-eating species (e.g. beetles and grasshoppers), and unlike most humans, they love cockroaches. The praying mantis is also one of few nighttime predators skillful enough to catch and eat moths. While adult moths are not a noteworthy threat, their larvae are capable of devastating whole gardens. Many horticulturalists argue that a thriving mantid population is essential for any healthy organic garden. Special care must be taken to provide a suitable habitat for these species; even minimal chemical pesticide use can devastate praying mantis populations. Whereas species can take years to reestablish themselves, crop-devouring pests will return with a vengeance and—unburdened by predators—will wreak havoc on defenseless gardens. For this reason, growers should consider purchasing dormant mantid egg cases.

Mantises in the Wild

Praying mantises are avid eaters. They will ultimately consume both harmful and beneficial insect species, and each other if nothing else suffices. Mantises can hunt both during the day and at night, maximizing their chow time. They are both quick and stealthy; typically a shade of green or brown, mantises are adept at camouflaging themselves amongst the spring- and summer-time shrubbery. While a few species of praying mantis are native to temperate North America, most can be found in tropical climates.

Female praying mantises are notorious for decapitating their mating partners en coitus, but some males do escape with their lives after consummation. Mating takes place in late summer and females deposit their eggs in late fall before succumbing to the cold. The hungry offspring emerge the following spring and immediately seek out smaller insects such as leafhoppers, aphids, and small flies for consumption. Praying mantises don’t change much anatomically throughout their life cycle; mantis nymphs are essentially smaller-scale versions of their parents.

Mantises as Pets

Praying mantises can also be kept as pets, but prospective pet owners should keep in mind that the maximum expected life span for any mantis species is only about a year. There are a number of options to consider as far as appearance goes. Their size can vary quite a bit, from less than an inch to six or more, and some are brown and twig-like while others are brightly colored. However, all praying mantises are carnivores and as such, should be housed individually. In order to house a praying mantis, you will need a relatively small tank (about three times its length and two times its width) filled with soil or peat mixed with vermiculite or sand as well as a few twigs from which the mantis can hang while molting.

Misting is probably the easiest and safest way to provide your pet mantis with water. Especially in the case of young nymphs, they can drown in a water bowl. Many different types of insects should be provided, so that all nutritional needs are met. They can be fed simply by placing the intended prey inside of the tank, but if the enclosure is too large, the mantis may have a difficult time finding its food. Ideal temperature, humidity, and food will vary by species, so it’s a good idea to do some research before committing to owning a praying mantis.