Praying Mantis - Tenodera aridifolia sinensis
3 Mantis Egg Cases $18.95 / 5 Mantis Egg Cases $23.95 / 10 Mantis Egg Cases $33.95 / 15 Mantis Egg Cases $46.10
This adored insect, praying mantis is a general predator of most pest insects, mites, eggs, or any insect in reach. Each egg case contains approximately 200 baby mantids. Use 3 cases per 5,000 square feet or 10-100 cases per year per acre. Attract to twigs, leaves, fences, and other vegetation. Praying mantis egg cases may also be placed in the crotch of a bush or tree. Do not place on ground, as they become easy prey for ants. Releases can begin after the last frost and continue through summer. The Praying mantis is a most interesting and enjoyable beneficial insect to have around the garden and farm. It is the only known insect that can turn its head and look over its shoulder. Mantis lie in wait for their food and when close enough, snap it up with a lightning movement of their strong forelegs. Measurements of their reflexes show they react more than 2 times quicker than houseflies. Mantis have enormous appetites, eating various aphids, leafhoppers, mosquitoes, caterpillars and other soft-bodied insects when young. Later they will eat larger insects, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, and other pest insects. These ferocious-looking praying mantises actually make great pets. Some will even eat raw meat and insects from your fingers. With plenty to eat they usually will not stray far. If handled properly they don't bite.
FOOD AND REARING: Providing food for a mantid can easily be done by trapping flies or other insects, and releasing them into the mantid's container; a wide-mouth jar covered with a net or screen on top and a twig or branch inside the jar. Insects used for food must be alive and not much bigger than the mantid. If the insect is too small, the mantid will consistently miss and be unable to grasp the prey. Mantids will eat insects dangled from tweezers, and most mantids will not except dead insects. Mantids in captivity do need additional water. Gently place a small wet sponge inside the container every week. The mantids will gather the water off the sponge.
Mantids in captivity do need additional water. Gently mist the container every week depending on the humidity. The mantid will gather the water off the sides of the jar and its body. Taking Care Cleaning Remove the dead insects from the bottom of the container. Long forceps are best to minimize disturbance to the mantid. If the container needs to be cleaned, gently remove the mantid and stick and place in spare, clean container while the container is washed. Handling Mantids are delicate. They can be carefully handled by allowing them to voluntarily walk onto your hand or finger. Mantids will sometimes strike out and it can be very startling. Make sure not to drop the insect with alarm. Raising Young Some adult female mantids will lay egg cases in the container. Continue to care for the female as described. She may lay additional egg cases. After a period of time (varies with species and season) the immature mantids will emerge from the egg case. They will eat each other if additional prey is not provided. Small fruit flies are ideal for small mantids. You can also remove the mantids and set them up in other containers. Other Concerns Precautions Mantids eat often and finding food for lots of immature mantids may get to be exhausting if you do not have a culture of fruit flies available. Do not release mantids outside unless you are sure they are a species that lives in your area.
Best results will be achieved by attaching the egg cases to a twig or a plant using a twistum or wire tie, wrap around the egg case and tie it to a branch in warm location, filtered sunlight. A hanging, swinging egg case is safer from birds and other predators. It will take about 10 to 15 days of good continue warm weather for them to hatch. When hatching the young will crawl from between the tiny flaps in the egg cases and hang from silken threads about 2" below the case. After drying out the long legged young disappear into the vegetation around the area, leaving little if any trace of their hatching. This happens within an hour or two and it is difficult to know hatching has occured unless the elusive, well camouflaged young are found. Use this valuable insect in conjunction with all other beneficial insect releases.