As the gardening season bursts forth, you must’ve spotted a praying mantis in your garden hedge. While most insects are considered a nuisance that feeds on your foliage and harms the vegetation, are these praying mantis beneficial for your garden?
Definitely, these fascinating bugs might seem to be another type of pest, but they bring many benefits to both gardeners and farmers alike. Praying mantises help clear your garden of problematic pests by feeding on them. You can avoid using chemical insecticides by attracting these gentle creatures to your garden.
Also, these bugs are carnivorous, so you need not worry about them messing with your plants. With the praying mantis being beneficial insects, let’s find out everything we need to know about these little heroes and how to attract them to your backyard.
Table of Contents
- Praying Mantis; What Are They?
- What Is A Praying Mantis Exterminator?
- Are Praying Mantis Beneficial Insects?
- How to Attract Praying Mantis to Your Yard?
- How To Get Praying Mantis To Your Garden?
- How To Find A Praying Mantis In Your Backyard?
- Praying Mantis Eggs
- Using Mantis As Natural Pest control
- Praying Mantis In Garden: Good Or Bad?
- Praying Mantis Control Methods
Praying Mantis; What Are They?
Praying mantis, also known as Mantids, are medium-sized insects mostly found in the warmer temperate regions. Typically, they are either brown or green in color and mostly seen lurking around in your backyard. Their brownish green coloration enables them to blend well into the natural landscape, especially among shrubbery and grasses.
Though there are thousands of praying mantis species across the globe, only a handful of them are found in North America. They are known as praying mantis due to how they fold their forelimbs close to their body. However, their unusual praying poster can be deceiving. While they appear to be in deep meditation, they’re lying, waiting for insects to venture close into their vicinity.
What Is A Praying Mantis Exterminator?
In reality, when other insects in your garden happen to be problematic, adding a praying mantis to your garden would be great. Extreme predators have quick reflexes that react quickly even to catch a wasp or fly that lands close by. If you notice insects are destroying the flowers and vegetation in your backyard, getting a praying mantis would be an excellent exterminator
Are Praying Mantis Beneficial Insects?
Praying mantis are efficient hunters that help eliminate insects and rodents from your gardens and backyards. Known as one of the most beneficial insects, they act as natural pest control, limiting the use of harmful pesticides on your plants.
Their ability to camouflage themselves in any setting makes them great ambush predators, where the unsuspecting insects often end up as their meal. These expert hunters are not only found in your yard or garden but also seen in the wild among fields, pasture lands, and ditches.
Also read my other related article about green lacewing benefits
How to Attract Praying Mantis to Your Yard?
It’s quite simple to attract these interesting creatures to your yard. If you’re in a hurry to attract a praying mantis to your garden, you can purchase a praying mantis egg case and shift them to your garden hedge. Once they make your garden their habitat, you will be able to benefit from natural pest protection from a wide variety of insects.
4 Tips To Attract Praying Mantis To Your Garden and Yard
Now that you know praying mantises are beneficial insects, you might be wondering how you can attract mantids to your backyard or garden.
- Plant Shrubbery or low shady plants.
Mantis prefer to hide under protective or shady shrubbery that lies close to the ground. Believe it or not, praying mantis love to hide, and getting them a hiding spot would be a great option. Please provide them with ground-level covering plans to sneak away and lie in wait for their prey.
Planting shrubs with leaves lying close to the soil provides an umbrella cover that these fellows will enjoy. Most of these beneficial insects like to hide in shady places to stay away from predators.
- Provide hydration.
During the hot summer months, praying mantis can get thirsty. To quench the thirst and keep them cool, it’s advisable to provide them with water. Remember to place shallow dishes filled with water so the mantids can easily climb in and out to get a sip. By keeping a shallow dish, you can avoid causing any danger to these beneficial insects and, at the same time, prevent it from being the breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- Avoid using harmful insecticides.
If you’re planning to use insecticides in your garden, you need to check the labels before using them. Use products that are not toxic to these beneficial insects. All the information concerning the chemicals used in the insecticide will be provided on the product’s label. Choose products that will not hurt praying mantis or other beneficial insects in your garden.
- Grow flowering plants.
Praying mantis are mostly attracted to flowering plants. You will see mantis flocking to your property by planting herbs and flowers. To top it off, you also enjoy these blooms spreading their fragrance in your yard. Some of the herbs or flowering plants that attract these bugs are:
- Raspberry canes.
How To Get Praying Mantis To Your Garden?
One of the best ways to get praying mantis in your garden is to buy the egg cases from gardens that culture them or a reputable online beneficial insect seller. Certain online sellers also provide individual praying mantises that are mature enough to find insects on their own.
Getting just three egg cases can produce approximately 500 to 600 eggs, which will be enough to cover a land area of 5000 sq. ft. It’s advisable to store these egg cases in the refrigerator in a bag till the weather outdoors is warm enough to hatch. If the temperature outside is already warm, you can place the egg cases outside in a shady place.
How To Find A Praying Mantis In Your Backyard?
Praying mantis generally thrives among evergreen shrubs having dense foliage and stiff branches. Look out among the shrubbery that lies close to the ground with lots of leaves cover and shade.
While woody flowering shrubs like azaleas work great, these interesting insects do not find herbaceous flowering plants attractive. If you find praying mantis in your backyard or flowering garden, it might be because you have at least one evergreen shrub in the vicinity that attracts them.
Praying Mantis Eggs
Female praying mantis prefers low-lying shrubbery to lay their eggs. The dense leaves and branches of the shrubs hide the egg cases from hungry birds, who often devour them as a delicacy. The plants need not be large shrubs. Shrubberies like lavender bushes in your yard can be a haven for females to conceal their egg cases.
In the fall, female praying mantis lay eggs in cases where the outer shell hardens, acting as a protective barrier against the harsh winters. By spring, your garden will be rewarded with lots of young hungry mantis who will get your garden rid of pests. The young ones mature during the late summer and often die during the harsh winters after mating, leaving behind egg cases for the next generation.
Using Mantis As Natural Pest control
Praying mantises make excellent garden friends that help reduce the bug population in your garden. It also helps maintain a healthy and natural ecological balance in your yard. While they play a crucial role in the insect control plan, you also need to be aware that they will feed on the beneficial insects on your property. So if you’re planning to use mantis for pest control, you must also keep this downside in mind.
Praying Mantis In Garden: Good Or Bad?
Good or bad? This is something most gardeners ponder about when it comes to praying mantis. Being one of the most beneficial insects, they eat a variety of pests, making them an inevitable part of pest control in your yard.
On the other hand, they also devour other beneficial insects, reducing the presence of natural predators needed for biological pest control. Hence, take measures to control the mantid population.
Praying Mantis Control Methods
Having a huge population of mantids can be a nuisance at times. Though they might not harm your plants, they will eradicate even the beneficial insects. Some of the best ways to control them are:
- Introduce natural predators.
- Freezing the egg cases.
Is Praying Mantis Good To Have Around?
Praying mantises might be one of the largest insects in your yard that may look frightening, but offer a great deal of help while patrolling through your garden. These predators actively hunt for their prey and are voracious insect eaters.
They patiently wait and ambush the prey once they come in sight, catching them using their front legs. The insides of their legs have sharp spikes that pierce into the prey, holding the insects in place as the mantid enjoys his meal. Praying mantis eat a wide variety of insects, including their own kind.
How Do You Befriend A Praying Mantis?
Befriending and having a praying mantis in your garden is great, as they keep your backyard pest-free. Having a huge appetite, these mantis devour other insects, often turning your garden into a buffet.
The best way to befriend them is to slowly slide your hand below the mantids and allow them to crawl onto your hand. Avoid making any quick motions, as they tend to fly away. You can feed them small insects and allow them to catch and eat on your hand. After several times, they’ll become more associated with you and allow you to hold them at will.
Where Is The Best Place To Find A Praying Mantis?
It is not easy to locate praying mantises or their egg cases among plants l due to their ability to camouflage. In order to find adults, you will have to look under flowering plants during the late summers. Flowering gardens and organic home vegetables where insecticides are not used are also good places to look for praying mantises.
What Food Do Praying Mantis Eat?
Praying mantises are stealthy predators that feast on both big and small insects. These bugs are the only known predators that feed on moths at night. This helps bring about moths control in your garden and around your property.
They feed on live insects such as roaches, aphids, wasps, mosquitoes, caterpillars, flies, etc. During the late summer, when the praying mantises reach adult size, they look out for larger prey. When it comes to bigger pests, they voraciously devour:
- Small rodents.
Praying mantises have a huge appetite, so, fortunately, they will accomplish the task of being a great hunter. These terrific pest exterminators help reduce the population of bugs that cause a threat to farming. Their huge appetite can sometimes seem problematic, as they prey on harmful and beneficial insects. During extreme cases when the food supply is low, they even prey on their own species.
Mostly found clinging onto branches or in the hedges, it’s hard to miss out on these beneficial insects. These large insects are interesting to look at with their front legs folded in a prayer-like manner. Coupled with their unusual behavior of poking their head sideways and hunting prey of all sizes, Praying mantises are known as one of the fiercest insects in the garden.