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Praying Mantis The Gardening Magician
Home & Garden
Protect your garden naturally
I recently just completed my first homemade container garden. I am a true organic freak so of course I wanted my garden to be as "pure" as possible. During my search for natural insecticides I came across a magical solution that never crossed my mind, the carnivorous Praying Mantis.
Built myself, pretty proud if you can't tell!!
The adult female Praying Mantis can lay between a 100 to 400 eggs after fertilization. The eggs are laid safely on a firm leaf or stem just before winter. The females produce a liquid that hardens to become a protective sac called ootheca. The secure casing is extremely hard so it can protect against extreme weather changes. The baby mantid, or nymphs if you want to be precise, arrive during the warmer temperatures of mid-spring when the casing cracks open.
Praying mantid, scientifically called Mantis Religiosa, are considered a great solution for keeping plant predator populations at bay. Their voracious appetite, an adult praying mantis can eat up to 25 flies in a day, makes these fascinating insects great companions for any Gardener. I purchased one ootheca at a locally owned nursery that specialized in organic growth. The price was $10.99, an awesome deal considering each integument can produce hundreds of nymphs.
When the tiny nymphs are ready to emerge from the ootheca (usually early in the morning), they crawl out from one-way valves in their compartments. They then hang from tiny threads like cobwebs a couple of inches
After hatching, it only takes about one or two hours for the praying mantis babies to disperse. Even when they are young, mantises are master camouflage artists
Top: praying mantis egg with hatchlings pouring out and scattering across my fertile ground.
Bottom: garden closeup attached egg to tomato cone shaped cage left corner
My egg hatched mid February, the delivery took three days!! After the purge the little guys seemed to just disappear. So many vanished overnight!! I was worried, was my garden not suitable to call home? Months passed, I got over the rejection. The first week of May I was startled by my first encounter, he was small but brought me insurmountable joy! The following week another appeared!!