Praying mantis egg hatching

How to Take Care of your Praying Mantis Egg Case

Each Praying Mantis Egg Case from Josh’s Frogs contains 50-200 baby Chinese praying mantids (Tenodera sinensis), just waiting to hatch out! Josh’s Frogs sends you two egg cases for the price of one! Praying Mantids are an ideal way to control insect pests in the garden without the use of harmful chemicals – a single praying mantis will eat hundreds of insects a season. Praying mantids can also be kept as pets, and are easy to keep.

Typically, praying mantis egg cases will hatch within 3-10 weeks. If you wish to delay hatching, simply keep the egg case in a refrigerator in a non-airtight container, then remove it 1-2 months before you want it to hatch. Please keep in mind that a very low percentage of Praying Mantis Egg Cases may be infertile – that’s why we sell 2 for the price of 1!

Most customers wish to introduce beneficial praying mantids into their gardens or yards for pest control. If this is the case, simply attach the egg case (also known as an ootheca) to a protected, stable surface with the ‘gills’ oriented facing downward. The egg case is glued to a twig, which makes an excellent attachment point using a zip tie or some twine. A good example of this would be attaching the egg case to a tomato plant cage or fence.Alternatively, the egg case can be hatched indoors, and the baby mantids released into your yard after they hatch.

If you wish to keep some praying mantids as pets, Josh’s Frogs recommends setting the egg case up to hatch indoors. Many times, the praying mantids may hatch and leave the egg case in less than 24 hours – it’s easy to miss them! Using a 32oz Insect Cup with Vented Lid, we make 2 slits in the lid and run a zip tie through it, using it to secure the egg case to the lid, so that the ‘gills’ are facing downward. In the bottom of the cup, we place a couple layers of paper towel. Every few days, add a bit of water to the paper towel to keep it moist and raise the humidity in the Insect Cup. Expect the egg case to hatch in 3-10 weeks.

Once the praying mantids hatch, offer food within 24 hours or they may start eating each other! We recommend releasing the bulk of them outside, and housing the mantids you with to raise up individually in 32oz Insect Cups with Vented Lids. Keep a thin layer of paper towel on the bottom, and provide a few thin sticks or twigs for the praying mantis to climb and perch on. Spray the cup lightly with water every 1-2 days.

From hatching on to about 4 weeks of age, the praying mantids will be able to consume hydei fruit flies, which are very easy to culture with a Josh’s Frogs Fruit Fly Culturing Kit. After the mantid outgrows the flies, offer crickets. Feed 2-3 flies every few days. If flies are still present in the Insect Cup at the time of feeding, skip a feeding. We recommend using the Josh’s Frogs Mantis Rearing Kit if you choose to raise some mantids in captivity – it makes caring for praying mantids easy!

The eggs of a mantis are enclosed in a foamy pouch called an ootheca or egg sack. When the female produces the ootheca it is soft, but very quickly it will dry to become firm en tough. The ootheca protects the eggs until they hatch. Every species of mantis has a different color, size and shape of ootheca. Some have just a few eggs inside, other species can have hundreds of mantis eggs inside just one egg sack.

Most mantis species in temperate zones lay the ootheca in fall, after which all adult mantises die. The eggs inside the ootheca will rest until spring, when the nymphs will hatch and grow up to repeat the cycle.

This female Hierodula membranacea is making a ootheca.

Taking care of the ootheca

Chinese mantis egg sac

When the female produces an ootheca, you have to make sure not to disturb her. Around 3 – 5 days after she has laid the ootheca, it has hardened enough to be removed from the enclosure of the female. It is recommended to remove it, because the nymphs need a different environment than the adult female. The female will also eat the nymphs if she is housed with them.

Place the ootheca in a container that is more than 15 cm high and more than 8 cm wide to ensure there is enough space for the nymphs when they hatch. Of course extremely small species will do with less space, but generally these dimensions are suitable for all species. The container should have plenty of ventilation, either through a mesh or by punching holes in the plastic container.

A Gongylys gongylodes mantis ootheca against glass, making it possible to see the eggs.

Put the ootheca on the inside of the lid of the container. You have to place it in the same orientation as the female has placed it! Attach the ootheca with double sided tape. Be sure to cover all the tape, because any leftover tape will kill nymphs that try to walk on it. You can also use a needle to attach the ootheca, but you can only put the needle through a part of the ootheca that has no eggs in it. This is generally the outer edge of the ootheca.

Some species of mantis need a diapause, tropical species others do not. A diapause is a pause in development in winter, making it possible for the mantis to produce its eggs in fall and have the nymphs hatch in spring. Low temperature will arrest the development of the ootheca. Higher temperatures will trigger the development. Species that have a diapause in nature, for example the European Mantis, need to get this pause in captivity too. Keep the ootheca cooler, around 12 – 15 degrees Celcius, for at least 8 weeks. After that you can keep the ootheca as described. As tropical mantis species don’t experience seasons in nature, they don’t need a diapause.

For hatching the mantis eggs, you need to keep the humidity and temperature in the container on the appropriate level for your species of mantis. You can find this information in the Species section of this website. You can keep air humidity high by putting substrate on the bottom of the container. Good substrate is paper, cloth, white sand or very small pebbles.

As soon as the nymphs hatch, you have to transfer them to a appropriate container in which you can raise them.

Raising the nymphs

A very young Pseudocreobotra wahlbergii nymph is black, but will molt into white.

The mantis nymphs are very small so you should be careful with them. They can get trapped on a bit of glue or resin residu or they can get caught in the fold of mesh. Make sure the enclosure is safe for them. The prey you will feed to these mantis nymphs should be the appropriate size. Most species will eat the small fruit flies Drosophila melanogaster.

Very young nymphs are generally a bit less cannibalistic than the older nymphs. You can keep the young nymphs together in one big enclosure if you make sure there is plenty of hiding space and plenty of food. When they get older you need to place them in individual containers to ensure maximal survival.

For more information about raising nymphs you should check out the individual page of the mantis species you are keeping. Every species needs a different air humidity and temperature to thrive.

Young African Mantis nymph, 3th instar

Praying Mantis Ooth Care

Proper Praying Mantis Ootheca Care

Praying mantis lay egg cases in the fall of the year and these egg cases are called Ootheca. You may wonder how does a small insect lay such a massive egg. The answer is the ootheca when first laid by the mantis is a soft foam. Over the next 24 hours the ooth hardens and is permanently attached to the stick where it was laid. In the spring with the warm weather and increased daylight something starts to happen in the ootheca that we can’t see. It’s natures alarm clock saying it’s time to start developing we have food available. Then the miracle happens and 50-200 baby praying mantis nymph emerge from the egg case.

What You Will Learn

  1. How to make a ootheca hatching container.
  2. Preparing food and enclosures for the nymphs.
  3. What the right temperature and humidity are for hatching.
  4. Raising the nymphs into adult praying mantis.
  5. How to collect your own ootheca’s.

Watch this video first

Chinese Praying Mantis Nymphs Just Hatched

Where do you buy Ootheca’s?

You can buy praying mantis egg cases on the internet from various gardening and beneficial insect sites. Here in North America there are two common species that are sold. The Chinese praying mantis (tenodera aridifolia sinensis) and the Carolina mantis (Stagmomantis carolina) just make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder and I would advise you buy two egg cases to start in case something goes wrong. If your looking for a more exotic mantis species just let me know and I can try to find you an ooth.

Natural Garden Release Method

If your plan is to let the mantis egg cases hatch on their own in the garden I want to give you a few tips. Depending upon where you live it is very important that you factor in the weather before placing your ooths in the garden. I live in Minnesota and it’s April 12th and we are still getting freezing temperatures at night. You need to really look ahead and make sure your temperatures are going to be in the 70’s F. Not only is it important for your baby praying mantis growth and development they are feeding machines when they are born so if there are no natural insects to eat they will cannibalize each other. The nymphs also need vegetation to climb on and hide in so make sure the plants in your area have begun growing. Exposed baby praying mantids are easy pickings for birds.

Place the ootheca under something to protect it from direct rain and sunlight. If you want to observe the mantis nymphs and possibly transplant them into different gardens I would recommend placing cheesecloth or some form of mesh around the egg case. This will give the nymphs some extra protection while they hatch out of the egg case and prepare for life on their own. The ideal temperature for development is around 76-78 degrees F and after about 4-6 weeks the nymphs should hatch from the egg case.

Important Do Not Release Exotic Species Outside

If you want a little more control of the hatching I would recommend hatching your ootheca indoors. I use 32 oz deli cups like Kevin shows in the video above. I also use Eco-Earth as a substrate which is ground up coconut hulls but a paper towel works great as well. The reason you need a substrate is to control the humidity because without it your ooth is going to dry out. I have hung my ootheca’s from the lid by drilling a small hole in the branch that is attached to the egg case. I then put a small piece of wire through the hole in the branch and the other end through the lid.

The temperature also needs to be right for the praying mantis to hatch. When I’m hatching Chinese mantids I like to keep the temperature around 76 F. I place my containers on top of my chameleon cage and the heat from the lights keeps the container at around 76F-78F with a drop in temp at night when the lights go off. You could use a reptile heat pads or try using a low watt light bulb hung above your hatching setup. You will have to play with the distance of the bulb to the container to get your ideal temperature.

If you did everything right I hope you wake up one morning to find a container full of praying mantis nymphs. In my next post I will go over properly raising the small baby mantids into adults. I hope you enjoyed the post and if you have questions please leave a comment.

After a couple of months you can expect your mantis to be around the size below.

Category: Praying Mantis Tags: ootheca, praying mantis

Praying Mantis Egg Sac Info: Learn About Praying Mantis In The Garden

When I was a child we used to go hunting for praying mantis egg sacs. The prehistoric looking insects had a magnetic attraction to children and we swooned with delight while watching the miniature babies erupt from the sac. Praying mantis are highly prized in the garden due to their predaceous nature against the insects that plague our plants. They are also lovely to look at and fascinating to watch in action. What do praying mantis egg sacs look like and when do mantis egg sacs hatch? Read on to learn how to find and care for these amazing insect eggs.

Praying Mantis Egg Sac Info

Praying mantis in the garden provide a safe, biological weapon to combat the summer’s onslaught of pesky insects. They will eat almost anything, including each other, but their pest control of flies, crickets, moths and mosquitoes makes them incomparable natural assistants in the landscape.

They have a complex life cycle, which starts with cannibalistic mating and encompasses an overwintering egg period followed by a nymph stage and finally adulthood. You can find praying mantis egg sacs in much of North America, but in colder regions, you may have to resort to purchasing them for use in the garden.

Finding the sacs in your landscape should start with a little praying mantis egg sac info. When do mantis sacs hatch? These predatory insects begin to emerge from their casings as soon as temperatures warm in spring. That means you should be hunting for cases November through April.

Females lay eggs on twigs and stems but also on walls, fences and house siding and eaves. The sacs can be difficult to spot but become more evident once trees lose their leaves. How many eggs do praying mantis lay? The relatively small insect can lay up to 300 eggs in one sac. Of these, only about one-fifth of the nymphs will survive to adulthood, which makes the protection of the egg sacs important to preserve the next generation of powerful predators.

What Do Praying Mantis Egg Sacs Look Like?

The adult female lays eggs before she dies with the first frosts. The sac is about 1 inch long, rectangular with rounded edges and tan to white. The eggs are surrounded by a frothy foam which hardens into the casing. The foam is called ootheca.

If you do find one and want to watch the sac hatch, place it in a glass or plastic jar with some air holes. Once brought indoors, the warmth will ensure the insects hatch within four to six weeks if immature or immediately if the sac is found late in winter.

The nymphs will look like miniature adults and emerge with voracious appetites. Release them into the garden to begin doing their work. You should not encourage hatching and release if the outdoor temperatures are freezing or the babies will die.

Encouraging Praying Mantis in the Garden

One of the easiest things to do to encourage praying mantis in your landscape is to suspend any pesticide use. These insects are susceptible to numerous types of chemical preparations. If you don’t find praying mantis ever, the population may have been wiped out, but you can purchase egg sacs and hatch a new group of insects for your garden.

Care for newly hatched nymphs by separating them into individual vials or they will eat each other. Place a moist cotton ball in each container and feed them with fruit flies or aphids. Keeping mantis babies until release in spring can be a time-consuming task, so it is best to order the casings in late winter and hatch them for spring release.

You may also choose to refrigerate egg casings for a month to prevent hatching and then gradually warm up the sac for a warm season release.

A Hunt for Praying Mantis Egg Cases

We’re still a long ways off from the first sighting of baby praying mantises. At least, we are around here — northern Virginia — where they generally make their first appearance in May.

Still, even though we won’t be seeing them for a while, now is the perfect time to guarantee we will see them eventually. All it takes is a bit of time to organize a hunt for praying mantis egg cases. A pair of clippers help too. And maybe a bag to carry your treasure.

Treasure?

Yep. Because, come springtime, those brown-foam egg cases will erupt with dozens of baby mantids that are hungry hungry hungry predators. Young mantids are great at controlling the smaller pests, while the adults will dine on larger problems, like cabbage moths and stinkbugs.

They really are goofy looking when they hatch. In a space-alien-invasion kinda way.

Finding Praying Mantis Egg Cases

If you live anywhere near a field, roadside ditch, or overgrown brambly area, then you’re in luck. Praying mantis mamas seem to prefer laying their foam-like egg cases on the upright stems of blackberry, raspberry, large grasses, young trees, and other thin-but-strong-stemmed plants in open or semi-open areas.

I collected my first few eggs cases from my parents’ property. Their one-acre rural yard is densely edged with raspberries, grasses, and other brambly stuff that praying mantises like so much.

Three easy steps, and you’ll be all set to welcome lots of bug-eating baby mantids to your garden this spring.

1. Find them

Venture out into any brambly area (ideally somewhere you actually have permission to be). Take a small pair of clippers with you — blackberry stems are tough! A plastic bag will help carry your prizes, but it’s totally optional.

I like to do this on a warmish sunny day. The sunlight helps my eyes see the egg cases, and the warmth is just because I’m a cold-weather wimp.

Walk slowly and look side to side into the brambles. You want to concentrate on a height range of about one to three feet off the ground. Don’t look for an egg case. Instead, let your eyes go a little out of focus, and look for a roundish straw-brown blob where just a stem should be. Once you’ve seen one, it’s much easier to see more.

I like to collect about 12-18 inches of stem along with the egg case. So, perhaps 6-9 inches on either side of the egg case. That may seem a bit ungainly now, but it makes it MUCH easier to reposition the egg cases in your garden later.

One request: Please don’t over-collect. I like to harvest every other egg case I find, ensuring I’m leaving plenty behind to restock the local population.

How many to collect? That’s up to you. But, remember, praying mantises eat EVERYTHING, including other praying mantises. So, after a while, more eggs cases ≠ more praying mantises. I usually aim for about six or so in my front yard garden, and then a couple more scattered around in my other plantings. So, perhaps 8-10 egg cases all told on my half-acre lot. Less would be fine too; more would probably be silly.

2. Take them home

Nothing to this step. Just head home with your harvested egg cases.

Don’t worry. Those eggs are dormant; they won’t hatch in your car. But, uh, don’t leave them in the car either. A few sunny days in a warm car might be all it takes to break their dormancy and convince them to hatch in your passenger seat.

3. Set them up in the garden

This is like a reverse hunt. Take those egg cases and find new homes for them. Use string or twisty ties to attach the egg cases to their new homes. Or, just prop them up in a bush or shrub if that works too. Sometimes I can just wind the old stem around a new stem (this is when those extra inches of stem really come in handy).

A few things to keep in mind:

  1. The egg cases will hatch late spring (early- to mid-May around here), which is before the garden really bulks up with plant life. Choose places for your egg cases where the springtime plant growth will be dense enough to support plenty of little tiny bugs for eating.
  2. Set them up at least a foot off the ground. Those egg cases are little packets of protein, and mice and other critters will eat them if they find them before springtime. I’ve lost a few over the years — this is nature; it ain’t always pretty — and have found that the best survival rates seem to come from egg cases set one to three feet off the ground. Just like mama mantis would choose.
  3. Spread them out so they don’t all eat one another.
  4. Be sure to set a few near your front porch or walk or any other place you walk past regularly. You just might get lucky and walk past as they’re hatching this spring. If so, definitely stop and watch the show. Best way I can describe it is to say it looks like the hatching of an alien pod. So very very fun to watch.

And that’s it! If you’d rather skip the hunt, you can always order a few eggs cases from a garden catalog.

Once you’ve started your local praying mantis population, you may never need to augment it again. Depends on the size of your yard and the variety of your plantings. More diversity = more likelihood that your praying mantis population will establish itself to become self sufficient.

If you wander out on a praying mantis egg case hunt, I’d love to hear how it goes!

PRAYING MANTIS FACT SHEET & Release Instructions

(Tenodera sinensis)

Praying mantis are beautiful insects with a voracious appetite, and a delight to have in the garden. Being strictly carnivorous, they’ll eat almost any insect of a size they can overcome. Waiting in quiet ambush for hours at a time, when an insect comes wandering by they suddenly jump out and attack – always biting the neck first. At rest, they seem to be “praying”, holding their “hands” together.

Each praying mantis egg case will hatch about 100-200 tiny mantises, all at once. In order to hatch they’ll need several weeks of warm weather, so they can “sense” that summer (and pest insects for food) has arrived. Attach the egg cases to a twig or plant about a foot or two off the ground where there’s cover to protect the babies. When hatching, the young crawl from between tiny flaps in the cases and hang from silken threads about 2″ below the case. After drying out, the long-legged young disperse into the vegetation leaving no evidence of their appearance. This happens within an hour or two, and it’s very difficult to know hatching has occurred unless the elusive, well camouflaged young are found. (The egg case does not change appearance in any way.) If you’d like to see when the mantis have hatched, place the egg cases in a paper bag, fold the top and seal shut with a paper clip or clothes pin. Place the bag on a window sill in direct sunlight. Periodically open the bag carefully, and when you see tiny mantids running around inside, take them outside and sprinkle them throughout the garden. Be patient – sometimes it takes up to eight weeks of warm weather for them to hatch.

Once hatched, praying mantis begin feeding on small insects, such as aphids. Later on, they’ll continue advancing up to larger and larger prey. By summer’s end, praying mantis can reach several inches in length. In the fall, females produce more eggs, deposited in a frothy secretion that hardens to protect the eggs from predators and severe winter climates. Egg cases are attached to twigs, leaves, fences, etc. Several egg cases may be laid before cold winter finally sets in. This new generation of praying mantis will hatch when warm weather returns, to repeat the process.

Order NOW Praying Mantis Eggs (Tenodera Sinensis)
Praying Mantis are out of season until December.

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Praying Mantis Egg Case (Ootheca)

◊ Praying Mantis Egg Case

    Details:

  • Praying Mantises are easy to hatch and fascinating to watch and care for. You’ll love your new pets.
  • Praying Mantises make an awesome pet, beneficial garden friend or an appropriate Biology/Science experiment.
  • Each egg case will hatch oodles of nymphs.
  • Hatching usually occurs in 4-6 weeks.
  • See below for food requirements,
    or go directly to our mantis food page here.
  • Complete and easy instructions are included.
  • The egg case can be ordered now and hung outside where it will hatch in Spring when the warm weather arrives. Or, you can keep it warm inside your enclosure and it will hatch in a few weeks. Egg cases can also be kept in the fridge for a few months until needed.


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PRAYING MANTIS KITS
PRAYING MANTIS FOOD
PRAYING MANTIS ENCLOSURES
LIVING PRAYING MANTISES

Praying mantis egg case attached to the underside of a leaf

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FRUIT FLY CULTURING SUPPLIES:
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Methyl Paraben Mold Inhibitor
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SILKWORMS:
Silkworm Eggs
Extra Small Silkworms
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PRAYING MANTIS:
Praying Mantis Kits
Living Praying Mantis
Praying Mantis Food
Praying Mantis Enclosure
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PEST CONTROL:
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Upon receipt of your praying mantis egg case, hang the case in your enclosure or in a shady area amongst your garden foliage. Please be sure you have an appropriate enclosure on hand. There can be no small openings that the mantis nymphs will escape out of. Try the nymph enclosure shown below. The egg case will hatch many many mantises after approximately 2-8 weeks of warm weather.
BE SURE TO HAVE FOOD ON HAND BEFORE THE EGG CASE HATCHES. Praying mantises are voracious eaters. Many folks are caught off guard without food and their babies end up dying. We recommend the D. Melanogaster wingless fruit flies for newly hatched nymphs and D. Hydei flightless fruit flies for feeding after 2-3 weeks.
Once hatched, the nymphs will soon begin stalking prey. Our flightless fruit flies, mini silkworms and rice flour beetle larvae also make appropriate feeders for the baby mantises. As they grow, feed them larger items, such as fly larvae and larger silkworms.
Just feed them, keep them warm and give them space as they grow and you’ll have full-grown adults in no time. You can even teach them tricks and hand feed them crushed up silkworms!
Please Go Here to View Prices and Purchase Praying Mantis Egg Cases

We are proud to announce the newest edition to the Silkworm Shop & Fruit Fly Shop family of websites:
The Praying Mantis Shop – www.PrayingMantisShop.com.
There, We offer praying mantises to purchase, praying mantis supplies, praying mantis educational items and plenty of information on this fascinating insect. Whether you need the praying mantis itself, living food for your mantis, or perhaps you need books and life cycle figures for education- You’ll find what you’re searching for.
Images to the right show the Discovery Praying Mantis Kit (top) and the Praying Mantis Nymph Enclosure (bottom) that we offer here at The Fruit Fly Shop. Please click each image to go to that page of our website.

Praying Mantis
Discovery Kit

Mantis Nymph Enclosure

Pregnant Praying Mantis behavior

While females are known for feeding on males at the time of reproduction, this only takes place from five to thirty-one percent of the time, often when the female mantis is hungry. The male mantis at the time of mating puts a capsule, which contains his sperm, into the reproductive tract of the female. The female mantis after mating starts swelling and then her abdomen is going to become extremely fat. Also, she will stop flying and eat much. She lays eggs on twigs, buildings, plant stems, rocks, fence posts, or any other rigid surface that can bear her weight.

In general, a praying mantis lays sets of thirty to three-hundred eggs in foamy liquids, which harden into shells. The stored sperm fertilizes the eggs, since the latter pass through the reproductive system of the female. The female mantises die around two weeks after they lay their eggs. It usually takes three-six months before the young praying mantes hatch. The eggs are protected against low temperatures by being stored in separate cells, which provide insulation in winter. Egg cases begin to hatch during the spring season, after two-three weeks of high temperatures.

It is possible that they hatch all at one time or over a period of multiple weeks. The mantis nymphs measure only around 1/8 inch in length and can be difficult to see. Also, they are going to molt many times and become six inches long (full size) in around five-six months.

Spotting a Praying Mantis

When considering spotting a praying mantis, look for an insect out there that looks like a branch. The praying mantis typically measures three-four inches in length. The most prominent physical features of this type of insect are its front legs and bulging eyes. When hunting, a praying mantis tucks its foreleg claws under and appears as if it is praying. Purchase an insect identification field guide that has color images. Many different praying mantis species exist, thus it is useful More…

Catching a Praying Mantis

The praying mantis is a master of both ambush and camouflage. This silent type of insect patiently waits for its next meal and usually blends in with surrounding leaves and/or flowers completely. The insect’s spiny and long frontlegs are generally strong and can instantly grasp prey and then hold on to it. Although a praying mantis can be easily caught, you must catch it cautiously. The legs of this insect have the tendency to poke and then cause a hand More…

Why Teach Praying Mantis Facts to Farmers

Farmers are always faced with continuous problems about pests and insects destroying their crops. This is really a big problem if it is not controlled since their crops are their main source of livelihood and income. Most farmers would use insecticides but the government is controlling the use of pesticides due to the possible effects of these chemicals to the crops. For this reason, it will be very useful if farmers are taught about praying mantis facts. Praying mantises are More…

Praying Mantis Facts about their Eggs

Just like most other insect species, the praying mantises also reproduce through hatching eggs. Many farmers and gardeners take note of praying mantis facts about their eggs especially if they plan on using these mantises as a natural form of pest control. When praying mantises release eggs, the eggs are enclosed in a case and farmers call this a mantis egg case. Egg cases of praying mantises can be sold to other farmers and gardeners. When the praying mantis lays More…

Hatching a Praying Mantis

In order to start hatching a praying mantis, put the egg case into a terrarium, in case you are planning to keep them as pets. A terrarium can take the form of a fish bowl, a jam jar or any other container, as long as there is a small branch of plant left inside. Install mesh on the top to prevent the nymphs from getting away but allows for both air flow and food delivery. The egg case should be More…

Praying Mantis Questions

Answers in the Category “Praying Mantis Questions”

Where can I find Insect Lore Live Praying Mantis Instructions?

Click here for Insect Lore Live Praying Mantis Instructions.

Are praying mantises predators?

Yes! Praying mantises will eat almost any live bug small enough to capture! However, praying mantises do not like to eat our beneficial ladybug friends because ladybugs have such a bitter taste!

Should I provide food for my baby mantis?

Yes! Praying mantises have voracious appetites and will eat almost any insect.

What should I feed my praying mantis?

Feed your nymphs (baby mantises) small insects like aphids or flies.

How often should I feed my praying mantis?

Feed your praying mantis every 2 to 3 days.

Should I provide water for my praying mantis?

No, your praying mantis will get all the moisture it needs from the insects it feeds on. While waiting for your egg case to hatch, mist the sides of the habitat every few days with a mister bottle. Do not mist the egg case directly, instead mist the enclosure to create some humidity.

How long will a praying mantis live?

Praying mantises live outdoors for 3 to 6 months.

When should I release my praying mantis?

Feed and observe the growth of your praying mantis, but keep in mind that they live only for 3 to 6 months. Insect Lore recommends that you release your praying mantis when it develops wings.

Do praying mantises fly?

Praying mantises are very poor at flying and walk very slowly. You will probably see your praying mantis friends in your garden for weeks after your release!

How can I tell whether a praying mantis is male or female?

The female praying mantis is larger in size and sometimes eats the male after mating.

When does the female praying mantis lay her eggs?

The female lays her eggs in the fall and attaches them to leaves and twigs.

When will praying mantis egg cases be available?

Praying mantis egg cases are available now! We usually ship the egg cases from January through May, or until supplies last.

Can I reuse my Pop-Up Port-A-Bug or Praying Mantis Habitat?

Yes! You can order Praying Mantis Egg Cases from our website, they are usually in stock January- May.

What is an “ootheca?”

An “ootheca” is a hardened egg case.

How many times does a praying mantis shed its skin?

A praying mantis will shed its skin (or exoskeleton) 6 times. Your praying mantis will refuse to eat when it is preparing to molt.

What do nymphs or baby mantises eat?

Nymphs (baby mantises) like to eat small insects like aphids or small flies.

What do larger praying mantises eat?

Larger praying mantises will eat caterpillars, moths, flies, crickets, bees, wasps, butterflies, grasshoppers, beetles, spiders, and even small frogs.

What are the natural enemies of the praying mantis?

Birds, frogs, spiders, bats, ants and lizards will eat small nymphs. Larger birds will eat fully grown mantises and a females praying mantis will sometimes eat the male praying mantis after mating.

How long will it take for my praying mantises to hatch?

Be patient and maintain the egg case at room temperature. Don’t forget to provide humidity by misting the enclosure (not the egg case directly!) very lightly with water once a week. Dehydration is one of the main reasons egg cases fail! Your young mantises will hatch in 3 to 10 weeks.

What is a “nymph?”

A “nymph” is another name for “young praying mantis.”

How many mantises are in the egg case?

About 75 to 200 tiny mantises will hatch from the egg case.

What should I do when the egg case hatches?

When the egg case hatches, take your praying mantis habitat outdoors and release all but one or two of your young mantises to feed and observe, if you are ready to take on that project. Otherwise, release all of the babies into your garden.

The young mantises seem smaller than the mesh net that encloses them. Can they escape?

No, the mantises’ long legs prevent them from escaping from the weave of the mesh net.

How do I release my young mantises?

Take your praying mantis habitat outside and unzip the top of the habitat. Let your mantises leave slowly. Do not shake the habitat.Your mantises will be hungry, so try to release them near plants infested with aphids or other insects.

Why should I release my young mantises soon after they hatch?

We recommend that you release your mantises shortly after hatching. Failing to do so causes undue stress as tiny mantids are fearful of each other, and the possibility that they themselves will become prey. Their bodies contain only a small amount of residual nutrition and this is used up quickly under these conditions. Normal behavior of newly hatched mantids is to fall from the old egg case to lie among leaves and flowers, while watching for small prey. To keep for rearing, separate them from others and rear individually.

Mantis Questions(we’ve got alot of them)

Hey again. My mom and I have a more questions.
This time it’s about a Praying Mantis we found in our garage, who we decided to keep as a sort of pet… it was that or let him go to be maimed or eaten by our cats. Due to his size I really wanted to hold on to him for a while, if not keep him until his death. We’ve been feeding him house flies, and he seems to not be starving. He’ll ignore the some of the flies we put in there for a long time before hunting them again… anyway, enough back story, on to the questions.
—Do they have eyelids? We’ve noticed his eyes change from the color of the rest of his head to the color black (or a color so dark it looks black). I didn’t notice this until tonight, because the other day I was saying how I wished his eyes were more visible so we could tell what he’s looking at. And tonight I checked on him and his eyes were completely black. My mom has said she’s noticed that when he’s hunting his eyes had definite black spots, but they weren’t as obvious.
—Can they change the size/aperture of their eyes? My mom is wondering this one because she thinks his eyes may have changed so he could see better in the dark, because he is on our porch, and we had just been out shopping since daylight, and the porch light wasn’t on, so any hunting would have to be done with some sort of night vision.
—How can we tell male from females? We assume Manty (our mantis) is male because one of my sisters teachers said the male mantis that is common in our area is the straw/tan-ish color Manty is…. Leading to the next question:
—All the Mantids we’ve seen in our area this year are straw colored, are they all male or have the adapted to the surrounding vegetation? Our lack of watering out lawn has lead to most of it being straw like in color, and out house is almost the same color. We did see one Mantis that was a darker color, but it was still dull, and not the bright greens we’d seen last year.
—How much will a Mantis eat each day, and can they over eat and get sick/die?
—What do they eat other than flies? That’s all we’ve been able to catch and give him, and we are wondering if it would be worth it to try and catch other types of food for him.
—If you maintain the habitat you are keeping your Mantis in, how long will it live? Do the always die when winter starts regardless of how warm you keep the habitat, or will he go on living for a while longer?
Manty is approximately 3in (7cm) long, I don’t have an exact measurement due to me and my mom being a bit to worried about holding him for measurement. I had to compare his size with my ring fingers length. He’s straw colored as stated above, but he is also developing some black spots on his lower body section (abdomen?). Either that or I didn’t notice them before, but they seem to stand out too much for me to have not noticed, although things like this have managed to slip my attention before. I did some looking at pictures via google and have found a Mantis that looks like Manty in body shape but not color. This is the photo (it‘s times like these I wish I had a digital camera). Also Manty’s antennae are shorter.
And for my mom’s sake… will he bite us if he is given the chance?
Thanks in advance for any answers you can give us. =)

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