So you found an egg sack in your garden and you don’t know what it is for or who lives there. It could be a praying mantis egg case. It looks something like this.
Photo Credit: Flickr
But are Praying Mantis good for your garden?
Every Fall, Praying Mantis mate and produce one or more egg cases. The egg case is a frothy secretion that hardens to protect their eggs from winter weather and birds. When the spring arrives and the weather is warm for a few weeks, the eggs hatch and up to 200 tiny mantises will emerge all at once. The young crawl out of the egg case, dry off and disperse into the vegetation without a trace. This whole process takes an hour or two so it is easy to miss even if you are keeping an eye on the egg cases.
Praying Mantises are carnivores with an insatiable appetite. When they first hatch, the small mantis feed on small insects such as aphids and as they grow in size, so does the size of their prey. Praying Mantis can grow up to 6 inches in length and live from spring hatch to the onset of cold weather. They hunt day and night and can wait for hours for a meal to come by and then reach out and attack!
Praying Mantis are good for your garden because they control pest insects. But, they are not selective and will eat just about any insect that is beneficial to them. If there are not other insects available, they will eat each other!
Photo Credit: Flickr
Why are they called Praying Mantis?
Praying Mantises get their name because they hold their hands together and appear to be praying. Don’t be fooled though. If an insect gets within their range, all praying is off and they strike with lightening speed and snare the prey with the sharp spines on its arms.
They are perfectly safe for humans. They are the only insect in the world that can turn its head a full 180 degrees. Don’t be surprised if you are looking at them from behind and they swivel their head and look right back at you.
Praying Mantis are a wonderful addition to your garden and if you want to make sure you have some in your garden this year, you can actually buy Praying Mantis egg cases online.