Tag Archives: praying mantis

Praying Mantis Eggs; The Chinese Mantis And How To Care For Its Eggs

Mantis ootheca on fence in Cala de Mijas, Spain
Mantis ootheca on fence in Cala de Mijas, Spain

There are well over two thousand four hundred species of mantis, but the one most people commonly agree is the best kind of mantis to raise, for those whom have never raised them before is the Chinese mantis. It is the largest species of mantis in Northern America and also a very excellent source of natural pest control. Praying mantis are for sale at many different kind of pet shops and can even be ordered in from other countrys (for those die-hard mantis fanatics).

Ootheca
Ootheca

The Chinese mantis, like most other kind of mantis, lay their eggs in a hardened, temperature protecting case, called a ootheca, egg sack or egg case. When first produced by the female the casing is soft but it soon dries and when it does it acts in much the same fashion as concrete. This hard casing protects the insects until they are ready to hatch, from both predators and the environment. Though all mantis lay eggs their egg casing differs markedly species to species in size, shape and color.

Caring for the Egg Case (ootheca)

When you have purchased a female mantis and she has laid her eggs you should not bother her. After about three to five days after she has laid her eggs, the casing will be hard enough to allow you to remove the ootheca. It is highly recommended that you remove the nymphs, not just because of temperature and environmental concerns which they require when hatching, but also because the female adult will likely eat all of the nymphs! Remember that the praying mantis is a cannibalistic species.

Japanese Mantis Ootheca
Japanese Mantis Ootheca

Once the ootheca has been removed place it a enclosure that is at least about 15 cm up and down and 8 cm side to side. There will be a lot of mantis babies so this makes sure there is enough room for all of them when they finally emerge. Also make sure that this container has a lot of ventilation so that the mantis babies don’t die from oxygen deprivation. If you are using something that does not feature mesh or similar material try punching holes in the material but make sure that they are very small or else the mantis hatchlings may swarm your home!

Container with Praying Mantis Eggs (Ootheca egg cases)
Container with Praying Mantis Eggs (Ootheca egg cases)

Place the ootheca on the lid on the inside of your enclosure and make sure you place it with the same orientation that the female did previously. The egg sack can be secured with tape. If you use tape make sure that none of the adhesive is exposing or it will trap and kill any hatchlings that are unfortunate enough to walk across it. A needle or similar item may also be used if you know where the eggs are and are not, this is generally the tip of the ootheca.

Nymph Mantises Hatching from Praying Mantis Ootheca

When the eggs are ready to hatch ensure that you keep both the humidity and temperature at the appropriate level for your species. Use a substrate at the bottom of your insect enclosure to ensure high humidity.

 

Praying Mantis – Natural Pesticide

There are so many chemicals that we get exposed to every day. It is in our food, our energy systems, our air, and even in our pesticides. Have you considered natural pesticides to reduce the insect elements in your flower or vegetable garden? Organic pest controls are the safe and chemical-free alternative. How about some insect on insect warfare? Praying mantis insects are a natural pest control agent. They are interesting for children to observe and study as well as being very effective insect repellents and a natural form of preventative pest control.

What can Praying Mantis Pets do?

Mantis species, like the Chinese praying mantis, are voracious eaters. They seem to eat all the time! This makes them very effective in reducing the damaging insect populations around your gardens. Many garden shops provide customers with praying mantis for sale. The natural, and chemical free bug killer, the mantis, will quickly deplete the insects that you do not want in your garden.

Self-sufficient

The praying mantis is a self-sufficient insect, too. The female praying mantis is definitely an asset because she will lay eggs. Praying mantis eggs hold around 100 to 400 eggs each. This population of mantis babies, when hatched, will begin eating right away, and start with the very small aphids and other vegetation eating insects. One egg case will support around 1600 square feet.

Praying Mantis Life Cycle

The praying mantis lives a long time, around six months from hatching to the end of their life. They are natural hunters that begin eating from the moment they emerge from their egg cases. The life cycle begins with eggs that are fertilized just before the winter. Their gestation period is about four months, emerging and ready to eliminate their insect foes.

When they first leave the security of their egg sacks they actually have more opportunity to eat each other. Praying mantis nymphs are actually weeding out the weaker of their species in this way because the strongest hunters will succeed and will progress on to adolescence. As a teenage mantis they will shed their skin to allow for growth to their full 1 to 6 inch adult length.

Since a mantis has a long life cycle, they are effective hunters for a complete season of planting. They can protect your flowers as well as your vegetables. They are not discriminatory, and will eat any insect pest that ventures into its domain. Since they reproduce in the late fall, once a person has purchased praying mantis eggs, they will likely have a lifetime supply through natural reproduction. Each year the garden should be equally protected as the population of mantis is maintained by food supply.

Praying mantis can be bought as adults in the spring, or as egg cases in the wintertime. Regardless of whether insects or their unborn offspring are purchased, this natural pesticide will keep your garden free of chemicals that may be harmful to yourself and your family as well as the environment. They are interesting and attractive to look at and they self-maintain through their own voracious appetites.

How To Raise A Pet Praying Mantis

A praying mantis as a pet can make a unique and delightful pet. These unusual creatures will give hours of pleasure to its owner. However, proper care must be taken to keep your praying mantis strong and healthy.

Your praying mantis will need an enclosure that is at least three times longer than the body length and two times wider than the body width. This will allow plenty of room for the praying mantis to walk around and shed its exoskeleton (outer shell) when necessary. A good rule of thumb is to use a container that is at least 6 X 6 in diameter.

The container should be well ventilated. Mesh or screen is a great option to use for the sides. Also make sure the container has a secure lid as the praying mantis is smart and will sense an escape route.

Next, fill the enclosure with appropriate substances for your pet praying mantis. Start with something on the bottom to hold water such as tissue paper, shredded wood, bark or sand. The purpose of this is to keep the humidity somewhat constant. Every praying mantis requires a specific temperature and humidity to survive. It is advisable to speak with someone at a pet store or look online for your specific species.

A quick praying mantis fact: there are over 2000 species of praying mantis!

Add branches and other items your pet praying mantis can climb or sit on. Make sure to choose objects that are safe and that there is plenty of room to move between the objects. A living plant is a good option if there is room for it.

Unlike pets such as a dog or cat, your pet praying mantis does not need to eat every day. A typical feeding schedule is one to four days depending on the species, the type of food you are providing and where it is in its life cycle.

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 praying mantis eats only live insects for food. A nymph will require smaller bugs such as aphids, micro crickets, gnats and fruit flies to name a few. For a molting mantis serve up larger sized bugs though not those that a full grown adult would eat. During the adult stage your praying mantis can eat butterflies, grasshoppers, crickets, houseflies and other insects. An adult female praying mantis will typically eat more than an adult male.

To make sure your pet praying mantis is eating the food you bring it, you may want to watch until it catches the prey or offer it with a tweezers directly to the mantis. Otherwise, if the bugs hide or escape your praying mantis could end up starving.

The praying mantis is small, producing little waste so its enclosure will need infrequent cleaning. However, be sure to remove partially eaten prey so they don’t start to rot and smell. When cleaning the enclosure simply remove the bottom absorbent and use hot water to wipe. Do not use detergent or other chemicals as this may harm your pet praying mantis. Once the enclosure is dry simply add fresh absorbent material in the bottom and replace twigs, plants and other items and its done!

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.