Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had a fascinating with praying mantises. These usually green insects were so fascinating to me! Seeing one was definitely a stroke of good luck. As an adult, I’m still fascinated in them but for different reasons. Praying mantises are an excellent addition to any garden. They control pests and are just plain cool to find. In this article, I’m going to be talking about how to attract praying mantises to your garden.
Do praying mantises benefit your garden?
Before we go all out in attracting praying mantises to your garden, let’s talk about what benefits they have in store for you.
Mantids are carnivores – they eat insects and, if large enough, small animals like lizards. These insects reach maturity in a single season and lay pods with tens or hundreds of eggs after mating. These eggs hatch the following spring and the cycle begins again.
Praying mantises are known for eating insects and small animals that you might consider unwanted pests. These include:
Mantids don’t wine and dine with human expectations in mind, though. They do consume plants that you might like in your garden, like ladybugs, butterflies, bees, and even other mantids.
Still, I am a firm believer in having a biodiverse garden, and that includes attracting praying mantises.
How to attract praying mantises to your garden
So how do we go about getting these adorable little insects to our gardens? Is there a praying mantis call or a special bait? Sadly, no. Praying mantises go where the food and habitat is, so you can go about attracting them by ensuring that their ideal habitat is in place.
For starters, praying mantises are highly likely to avoid gardens that have been sprayed with commercially manufactured chemicals, like pesticides, herbicides, and inorganic fertilizers. If you’ve been employing weed killer or pest control chemicals in your garden, stop now!
Praying mantises have been known to be attracted to plants like roses and berries. These plants often attract smaller insects, like aphids and ants, which are a vital early food source for baby mantids.
Praying mantises also need shelter to stay safe and lay their egg cases. Tall grasses and shrubs are a favorite shelter of praying mantises.
Buying praying mantis eggs
Attracting praying mantises the good old fashioned way, with good habitat and food sources readily available, can take time. If you want to jump start the process, you may purchase praying mantis egg cases to get the process going.
These egg cases can be placed in your garden and, in time, praying mantis nymphs will emerge and begin going about eating unwanted insects in your garden. Mantids don’t necessarily stay close to home though, they are prone to travel. Any babies that emerge from your egg cases have a good chance of departing with time, but it’s still a worthwhile endeavor.
We hope this guide on how to attract praying mantises to your garden helps bring in some very nifty carnivorous insects and leads to a successful, beautiful, biodiverse garden!
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