Category Archives: Praying Mantis

Keeping A Praying Mantis For Your Yard Or As A Pet

Pet Praying Mantis
Pet Praying Mantis

When you first see the term praying mantis for sale you may be a little freaked out but rest assured that praying mantises’ make wonderful pets. While having a praying mantis as a pet may not seem normal the praying mantis provides great benefits in the form of pest control.

Having a praying mantis will provide you with organic pest control. Most praying mantises’ are exclusively carnivores. They almost exclusively eat other insects. As they get larger they may eat other household pests such as scorpions, lizards, or even rodents. While having a praying mantis in your yard will not necessarily get rid of all the pests in your house or yard but it will reduce the number of pests you see. This feature is especially useful if you have a garden. The praying mantis is a carnivore so you don’t have to worry about it eating your vegetables but you do have to worry about the insects that it would eat consuming your vegetables. The praying mantis will eat those insects and thus your garden will get healthier. Having praying mantis in your yard is a wonderful form of preventive pest control that will reduce your reliance on insecticides.

You may be so taken in by the praying mantises you have in your yard that you want to keep one as a pet. Praying mantises can be kept as pets and are a wonderful option if you don’t like animals with hair, are allergic to pet hair, or simply want to have a new and exciting pet. They are harmless to humans so you don’t have to worry about the praying mantis hurting you or your child. You will need an enclosure with holes at the top and grass and dirt make a perfect carpet for your praying mantis to hang out on. If you have more than one you should keep them in separate enclosures as they may want to fight each other and you do not want to wake up to a dead praying mantis and another praying mantis that is injured. The praying mantis has a relatively short lifespan so you may want to start with an egg sack. When the eggs hatch you can keep one praying mantis in your yard and release the rest of them into your yard to prevent other insects from taking over your yard. One variety to look into is the Chinese praying mantis. It has been in North America since the eighties and will not have a detrimental effect on the native area other than the reduction of insects in your yard. Overall the praying mantis makes a wonderful pet.

Overall while it may seem strange at first a praying mantis is an amazing addition to a yard or home. In a yard they act as preventative and organic pest control by eating all of the other insects that may be damaging your lawn or sneaking into your house. As a pet they make an interesting and exotic pet that you are easy to take care of.

 

More Mantis Facts

Nymph Praying Mantises
Hatching Nymph Praying Mantises

When praying mantis eggs hatch, they do not produce larvae. Under the right conditions, young praying mantis is born as a nymph, fully formed. When it comes out of the shell, it is ravenous and begins searching for hapless prey. If it is in your home and you are trying to fight a roach problem, it will find them and eat them up.

You will want to watch for the tiny eggs that are smaller than grains of rice, so you can protect them. A female praying mantis will mate towards the end of summer. The fact that she will sometimes eat her mate is not a myth, but often, the male praying mantis will escape with his head intact. The female will then lay her eggs in the fall before the frost brings her death. You may find the eggs on branches, leaves, walls, under eaves, or along fences. A frothy “goo” called ootheca hardens to make the egg casing. It will be somewhere around ¼ to ½ inch long, about the size of a multivitamin.

Your baby nymphs will hatch in the spring, when insects are beginning to enter your home or garden and cause distress.

A praying mantis, or better yet, several praying mantises are one of the best forms of organic pest control available. If you can handle having an insect as a pet, they make excellent companions indoors, decimating your troublesome insect population. They may not be cuddly and soft, but they are quiet and very busy. You will not regret having a praying mantis nearby for your preventive pest control.

How A Praying Mantis Provides Preventive Pest Control

preventive pest control mantis

Throughout the year, there are several months when pests, both in the home and in the garden, disrupt your life. Your first instinct is to stock up on aerosol bug spray, boric acid powder, or other chemical products. Depending on the nature of the pests and the level of infestation, you may also call an exterminator.

The problem is, many chemical products used to rid yourself of your tiny, annoying friends also affect the health of people and animals living in the home. It can affect your breathing and cause irritation to your skin and eyes. In fact, in extreme instances, insecticides have been known to cause serious allergic reactions that can lead to death.

The trick is to find a way to instill natural pest control in your home without flooding it with unwanted chemicals. One way people have found to do this involves bringing insects into the home. This is an interesting ploy, but it makes sense. A pet praying mantis will eat many of the most problematic pests that invade your home. If you have one in the garden, it will eat grasshoppers and beetles. At night, they will get rid of moths whose larvae tend to destroy plants over a period of a few days. The best reason, though, to have a praying mantis? They devour roaches.

Innovative Natural Pest Control Solutions – The Praying Mantis Patrol

praying mantis from India
Praying Mantis from India

Perhaps they should have been called “preying” mantises. Although they are named for the way their forelegs resemble a supplicant in prayer, praying mantises sit atop the insect food chain. For this reason, these carnivorous insects offer effective, natural pest control for the home gardener. Praying mantises are also readily available – they can be found for sale online or at home-and-garden stores.

While chemical pesticides can adversely affect both home gardeners and the life-giving soil in which they plant, praying mantises provide organic pest control that works. In addition to targeting troublesome leaf-eating insects such as grasshoppers and beetles, praying mantises feed on aphids, cockroaches, flies, spiders, bees, and mosquitoes (among others). Basically, mantises will consume any smaller species of pest. So having a platoon of mantises on duty is like having a crack team of border agents on garden patrol.

Chinese Mantis (Tenodera aridifolia sinensis)
Chinese Mantis (Tenodera aridifolia sinensis)

On the other hand, chemical pesticides can harm humans, pets, wildlife, and the environment. A report from the National Academies linked exposure from pesticides to several types of cancer, nervous system disorders, and reproductive problems (including birth defects, stillbirths, and infertility). Pesticide exposure has also been shown to aggravate asthma and allergies, and children tend to be more susceptible to pesticides than adults. Moreover, pesticide leeching and runoff results in chemicals contaminating both groundwater and surface-water supplies, according to a study conducted by the University of Missouri-Columbia. As a result, these chemicals cause collateral damage to species they were never intended to target – including pets, birds, and fish.

One way to avoid chemical pesticides and set up a praying-mantis pest-control system is to raise the creatures at home. Because these exotic-looking insects are fascinating to observe and easy to maintain, praying mantises also make interesting pets. Prospective owners can either buy an adult praying mantis individually or purchase a praying mantis egg sack (called an ootheca). Each ootheca contains between 100 and 400 eggs (enough to safeguard almost any home garden). The life cycle for a Chinese praying mantis – one of the most popular among the 1,800 species – typically spans about one year.

Tenodera aridifolia sinensis adult female
Tenodera aridifolia sinensis adult female

In terms of habitats, praying mantises in captivity need a space at least three to four times as big as they are. Mantis enclosures should have holes in the top and be cross-ventilated. Because mantises in the wild are camouflaged to match their environment, their enclosures should include dirt, grasses, sticks, and leaves accordingly. Enclosures should also be kept warm and humid – daily misting of the area with water will help to achieve the appropriate conditions.

Praying Mantis Tenodera sinensis
Praying Mantis Tenodera sinensis

Whether they are to be kept as pets or for pests – or both – praying mantises are a captivating lot. In the world of natural pest control, these monkish creatures have few peers. To learn more praying-mantis facts, or to start a collection, look online or visit a home-and-garden store.

Chinese Praying Mantis

When I started looking for a praying mantis for sale, I learned one of the best mantises for first time caretakers is the Chinese Mantis. A cool fact about this praying mantis is that there are actually two types of kung-fu named after its movements.  The Chinese Mantis was imported into the United States in the 1890s as a form of natural pest control. If you live in the United States this means there’s no need to worry about it overtaking native species since it’s already prevalent in North America!

Praying Mantis For Sale
Chinese Praying Mantis

When you buy a praying mantis, the first thing you need to decide is whether you want to buy praying mantis eggs or an adult praying mantis. The praying mantis life cycle is roughly a year for the Chinese Mantis. The adult female praying mantis in the image above is likely a few months to a year old, judging by its size.



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Be sure to check back often as I’ll be posting a bunch of pictures of my ootheca as I wait for baby praying mantis nymphs to develop. All of my current praying mantis eggs are from Chinese Praying Mantises. Check out my other post for some cool praying mantis facts!

Praying Mantis Facts

European Praying Mantis
European Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis Facts

The praying mantis gets its name from the way their front legs bend up to their mouths, almost like they are praying. There are around 1,800 species of praying mantises around the world. They are predators within the wild that hunt in order to survive. Their heads are triangular shaped and have a long neck attached to their elongated bodies. They are able to turn their heads around a full 180 degrees in order to scan their surroundings and search for predators. Most praying mantis species are brown or green color to allow them to camouflage within their surroundings and stay safe amidst the plants. Understanding some praying mantis facts can help you better understand these creatures, their habitat and their lives as a whole.

Praying Mantis
Praying Mantis

Praying Mantis Diet

Praying mantises are carnivores and they will eat smaller insects and sometimes their own species. Some of the smaller insects that they eat include, but are not limited to roaches, flies, mosquitoes, butterflies, bees, crickets, aphids, grasshoppers, moths, spiders and beetles. Almost any smaller insect is in danger once a praying mantis spots them in their area. The praying mantis will stalk or ambush their food. They use their long front legs to ensnare their prey. The have fast reflexes and they are difficult to see with the naked eye when they snatch up their food. Their legs have spikes on them to help them grab the prey easily and pin it in place while they feast. A pet praying mantis will usually eat the small insects placed in their habitat in the same manner.

Praying Mantis Life Cycle

Part of learning praying mantis facts is learning about their life cycle. The praying mantis does not live a long life, since the average life span for those out in the wild and in captivity is only around 12 months. Bats, birds, spiders, frogs, fish and other animals become threats to the praying mantis while out in the wild and may cut their lives shorter than a year.

The praying mantis life cycle begins when a female praying mantis lays hundreds of eggs that are enclosed in a small case that is made of foamy material to insulate the larvae inside them. These egg cases are called ootheca. The females lay eggs on a regular basis. Each sack can contain anywhere from 100 to 400 eggs depending on the praying mantis that lays them. They eggs will sit in that particular place that they were laid for up to five months. Sometimes the mother will stay with the eggs and guard over them since they too, can be susceptible to being some other animal’s prey. It can take up to five weeks for the sack to fully develop. Once the eggs hatch, the tiny praying mantis nymphs that come out of them look just like their parents but on a smaller scale. They then grow quite fast over the span of a few months.

Praying Mantis Habitats

The praying mantis habitat can vary depending on the species and if they are a  wild or pet praying mantis. Praying mantises tend to live in bushy fields or gardens and can actually be found in a lot of gardens throughout the United States. The climate is usually warm and tropical or temperate. Praying mantises are prominent throughout Northern Africa, Asia, Southern Europe and North America. Green, warm habitats are most common for wild praying mantis habitats.They can camouflage well within their surroundings.

Praying Mantis Camouflage
Praying Mantis Camouflage

Praying Mantis Pets

Owning a praying mantis as a pet can be really fun since they are harmless to humans. Searching for a praying mantis for sale can be easier than you may think since a lot of people choose to keep these beautiful creatures as pets. You can find egg sacks on your own in the garden or order them from a nursery, pet store, or online store of your choice. A praying mantis has to have the right food for its size. A young pet praying mantis nymph will eat smaller flies. As your pet praying mantis grows it will eat crickets and other larger insects. Praying mantis pets will want habitats which have leafy greens, brown sticks, and remain warm. The enclosure that you keep them in should not be too big, but around three to four times their size. Grass and dirt can be added to the bottom of their habitat and holes should be put in the top to ensure that air is able to get in and out. Cross ventilation is important. The inside of the habitat should be misted with water very lightly on a daily basis to keep the environment humid. You can give them water inside a small bowl inside the habitat, but your pet praying mantis could fall in it and drown so it is better to use wet paper towels or just mist when your praying mantis pets are young.

If you own more than one praying mantis, they should be housed in separate containers since they may have conflict and may actually eat each other depending on the species. Molting is also a normal phase for them to go through and they will do so a few times throughout their life span. Adding vitamins and minerals to their insect meals is not essential to their well-being, but can help them live longer lives while in captivity.

Praying Mantis in Defense Pose
Praying Mantis in Defense Pose

Praying Mantis Fun Facts

  • Female praying mantises tend to eat their male mates while mating with them, or shortly after.

  • Some species of praying mantis are able to get as large as a tea cup or up to 6 inches long.

  • Praying mantises can be used as natural pest control due to the fact that they are carnivores and will eat the smaller insects that ruin your plants.

  • The Chinese Mantises that are seen throughout the United States are exotic. They were introduced to the area and are not native to it.

  • Praying mantises are closely related to termites and cockroaches.

  • Praying mantises have binocular-like eyesight, but only have one ear. Some species can use this ear to detect bat ultrasound and know when they need to dive bomb while flying to avoid being bat dinner.

  • A praying mantis will bite the back of their victims neck to paralyze them before eating them.

  • The three most common species of mantis are the European Mantis, Carolina Mantis and the Chinese Praying Mantis.

  • Praying mantises are actually referred to as praying mantids in many areas. Both are technically correct.


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