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PRAYING MANTIS INFORMATION AND STUDY
What & How Do Praying Mantises Eat?
The use of praying mantises as a form of biological pest control is becoming more and more common, as it should. The spraying of chemical poisons in the garden and into our environment is increasingly being seen by folks more negatively, also as should be.
As we know, praying mantises are pretty big eaters. They would love to snack on little morsels of aphid, worm, grub, etc. But beware, the mantid will eat beneficial insects as well, such as lady bug larvae and lace wings.
We DO recommend the use of the praying mantis to control large outbreaks and infestations of harmful insects. Since the mantid is basically a transitory creature, they will soon move on and you'll be left with a pest population devastated by your little helpers.
As a method of biological pest control, praying mantises are great, along with lady bugs (far left), which can also be purchased. Be aware that the mantises will eat good bugs as well, including perhaps what one may consider "good" caterpillars (second from left) that turn into pretty butterflies. But, you'll definitely want your mantid buddies eating the dreaded tomato hornworm (third from left) that will devour your tomato vines. Also bad and on the mantis menu: Earwigs and hungry, greedy grasshoppers (last two on right respectively).
How To Care For Praying Mantis Pets - Food & Love
Many people LOVE having pet praying mantises. Or, as mentioned above, they make a very useful "garden pet." Don't forget the incredible classroom science project that mantises will make.
THE EGG CASE:
The praying mantises may emerge from the egg right away, but you can expect them to take 4-6 weeks to hatch. The case may hatch over 100 mantises, but you can realistically expect five or so to survive. This is because you'll ultimately need to place only one individual in each enclosure.
Upon receipt of your praying mantis egg case, place it inside your enclosure. Mantises need plenty of areas to climb around, hide and stalk food, so place vegetation - either living or non-living along with some branches and leaves inside the enclosure. The egg case should be kept at room temperature. If it's kept chilly, it may take longer to hatch or may not at all. You may also place the case outside amongst the garden foliage if you are using the mantises for biological control. Do not let direct sunlight hit the egg case. If humidity is dry, mist the foliage inside the enclosure once or twice.
THE NEWBORN NYMPH:
Please be patient, the egg case WILL hatch. The timing of the hatch will vary from egg case to egg case and with conditions such as temperature. Some will hatch quickly and others will take much longer.
After hatching, the egg case does not appear changed in any way. If you have hung the case in your garden, you may see the tiny babies or nymphs near the case. Since mantises are basically transitory, they will roam all parts of your garden and many are sure to leave it altogether. Some may be eaten by birds or lizards. Just be sure there is food in your garden such as aphids. If not, you may be interested in the food items we offer.
Provide the newborn mantises with food and water right away. Be sure to mist the entire inside of the enclosure daily. Our Flightless Fruit Flies can not only be fed to your pet mantises in cages, but can also be sprinkled around the garden for your free-range mantises if their habitat doesn't show much sign of life yet.
Please visit our Mantis Nymph Food Page if you are in need of food for your newly hatched mantids. If you have larger mantids, you may be interested in our Mantis Adult Food Page.
Continue to mist frequently and provide continuous food. Keep them out of direct sunlight and keep the humidity up by misting. Some of the nymphs will die, which is normal. Or may be eaten by their brothers or sisters if they are hungry. After a couple of days, separate the number you'll want to keep into individual enclosures. You may wish to still keep the remaining nymphs in the mass enclosure in case one of the separated individuals die.
As they grow, the mantises will eat larger and larger food and will need more and more room. If you are keeping the praying mantises in one of our enclosures or your own, be sure there is room for them to move around and have their own space from each other. Mantises need places to climb.
Clean your pet's enclosure weekly. Be sure there is always some food, such as our flightless fruit flies available in the enclosure. Beware of slots in the lids of critter keepers or other screen lids. The nymphs will quickly escape through very small openings. Our Nymph Enclosure or Pagoda will ensure that the newborns and flightless flies don't get out.
Keep the mantises at a comfortable room temperature. Unlike reptiles, praying mantises need no special lights or vitamin d supplements (they have no bones). Also, no special dusting of their food with vitamins is necessary. How EASY!
TEACH THEM TRICKS:
Through observation and interaction, we believe praying mantises are rather unique. You can sense almost an alien intelligence as they turn their heads to look at you looking at them. You can hold your new friends and teach them to walk on your fingers. You may even get them to take food from your hand! Be sure to give them a special name and HAVE FUN!
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - You'll find more information on the FAQ page of our website.
National Geographic - One of our favorite places to find information on just about anything in nature that's under the sun.
The University of Arizona - This page packs a ton of concise information about our animal friends into a small space.
WikiHow - How to Take Care of a Praying Mantis - A very easy to read, step-by-step guide about how to care for this amazing creature.
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San Diego, CA 92138
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