I pray for a mantis, for a walking stick near,
soon attacking my garden will be lygus I fear.
I hope he won’t dally, will come fairly quick,
praying for patience, bugs think he’s a stick.
A.O. Kime

Justin snapped some pretty cool pics capturing hundreds of manti emerging from their egg case.  Actually, we have spotted nearly a dozen of these cases throughout the garden.

Masters at the art of camouflage, praying manti are one of the most fascinating of the beneficial predatory bugs here on the homestead.   Not only do they eat “bad bugs” but also often eat each other.  The manti have an extremely ravenous appetite; it’s quite common for the female to eat her mate and the emerging young’s first meal will be that of each other.

After they cannibalize each other, they will feast on aphids, caterpillars, flies, mosquitoes, spiders, grasshoppers, moths, crickets and beetles.

Onward soldiers!

Already taking care of business

Pretty soon these nymphs will be 10 times the size, blend into their surroundings and take up their deceiving “praying” stance preying on any bad bugs that come their way.

What do you find  most fascinating about these beneficial insects?

:: Resources ::

Natural Pest Control with Praying Mantis

Fascinating Facts on the Praying Mantis

National Geographic: Praying Mantis


  1. Jeni Vandall says:

    A couple of years ago I was tearing down our corn stalks when I realized I destroyed a nest that a momma mantis had been watching over so closely I felt terrible:( I’m so happy you got to catch all these little guys and gals hatching!! I’v heard its pretty hard to catch!!!

    Hope your finger is getting better!

  2. Sandra says:

    I always love seeing them appear in our yard. I admit they are one beneficial that I haven’t tried to purchase to add to the yard. Usually I buy lady bugs.

    What amazes me is that first picture. It gives such perspective as to how tiny and delicate they are when they emerge.

  3. paula says:

    okay, that second pic gave me the heebie jeebies.

  4. Leslie says:

    Great Pics!!! The other day, my son William came by to visit you. He thought your garden was amazing and would like to create something similar in our own garden. William was facinated with the Preying Manits from about age of 9-12. They are amazing creatures and so interesting to watch!!!

  5. Audra says:

    When I was a young child I had found a nest on a twig and I thought it was pretty neat. Thinking nothing of what would come I put it in a vase in my room. When they hatched they nearly covered a wall. It took a lot of time to catch them and get them moved out to the garden. Now with children of my own I remind them that they can’t be bringing those in the house.

  6. Juanita says:

    When I worked as a gardening teacher the children would always be fascinated when they happened upon a praying mantis. Many were fearless and took turns holding them. Only once did someone get bit, which surprised me! We were lucky enough to witness their emergence from an egg case one day and we were all amazed at these miniature creatures.

  7. Rhonda says:

    I love the way they turn their heads and look at you. They follow your movements and watch you like they know exactly what you’re doing.

  8. elaine nieves says:

    When I was teaching 2nd grade, one of the teachers went to the science center and got 5 praying mantis egg cases. She gave those to 3 other teachers and kept 2 for herself. She figured there would be 4 or 5 babies per egg case. Surprize!! One weedend she came into her classroom to find many, many baby mantises crawling all over everything. Live and learn! The students loved it and took home several manti with the instructions to let them lose in the backyards.

  9. Karen says:

    Do your chickens and ducks eat a lot of the babies?

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