You come home from a long day’s work to relax in your garden, only to find yourself swatting at pests that keep multiplying. Not to mention, you’ve begun to notice recurring holes in your plant leaves.
With all the hard work you’ve put in, wouldn’t it be nice to have a form of pest control that you didn’t have to constantly re-apply?
Mantis religiosa, commonly known as the praying mantis, serves as an excellent protector in that it defends plants from invaders while itself requiring little human care/attention.
What’s the benefit?
Mantis religiosa casings typically hatch around 300 eggs, but do not be alarmed at this large value! On average, only around one fifth of the hatchlings survives to reach maturity.
After reaching adulthood, these insects will eat anything they can grasp. Often perceived as slow, mantids are actually voracious hunters and are able to take in their prey within a matter of seconds. Assuming sixty mantises make it to adulthood from the casing, you’re looking at a decent-sized army for your garden.
The average lifespan of a mantis ranges from four to six months. This allows for cases to be let down twice a year, saving you added time for routine pest maintenance. The odds are, however, that the mantises you place originally will breed to form their own cases, causing the initial purchase to turn into a long-term, compounding investment.
Common mantis | Common Black Ant
How do you raise them?
When hatching, the mantises will need to be placed in either a hatching net or an enclosure that is large enough to accommodate the soon-to-be nymphs. Due to their small nature, the younglings will need to be fed fruit flies (flightless options are available at minimal cost). When they grow large enough to eat other, larger insects (e.g. ladybugs), they can then be released into your garden to be self-sustaining.
Where do I get them?
Mantid casings can be purchased for as low as $5.00 each from Arbico Organics. In addition, cases can be found from locations such as Amazon and Ace Hardware.
In case you are interested, I have listed a few general items to consider purchasing below:
Egg Cases | Arbico Organics Egg Cases & Habitat | Amazon Wingless Fruit Fly Starter Kit | Amazon
Great information! I am always in search of another way to rid my plants and garden from unwanted critters, but in a natural way. I will definitely be incorporating this into my garden routine!
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