Praying Mantis are killing my monarchs
Hi, I'm new here. I'm into my second year of Monarch rearing, and had a good year this year. A BIG problem I'm beginning to see is having a healthy in full bloom (even today) butterfly bush near the milkweed in the back yard. I have seen at least one or two monarchs being killed every week by a praying mantis, while she is taking nectar from the blooms on the butterfly bush. All the praying mantis in the neighborhood must know of this backyard with the milkweed and the butterfly bush! A perfect restaurant for the praying mantis--a one stop get all the meals you want set-up. Yesterday I saw a lone wing on the bush and already had dread-went over and this time he was green and FAT and my monarch was all but gone. I KILL THEM WITH no hesitation-it's them or my monarchs.To kill them, I smack them hard towards the ground with my hand was all I had at the time. They are stunned a little, I immediately smashed it, I used a bare foot it was all I had at the time! It was sad, I have to say, to see his face with no body left to speak of. But they PREFER monarchs. I'm wondering if the butterfly bush has to go? Any way to cover the bush with netting, only leaving a few flowers pop through? Would the mantis be able to still get the monarch? Usually they are hiding within the plant. I killed a tan mantis 3 days ago after he ate part of monarch's abdomen and the top wing was severed. I took her in and she fought for days but I lost her. The wound healed but that top wing cannot easily be re-attached. I called M.W. and spoke to (can't think of the name-very nice). He has a u-tube video on how to fix monarch wings. I think she may have bled out or starved, I did offer various nourishment. She was fighter, and hung on for 2 days. :( so sad she didn't make it. I caught her attack very early that time. II check the bush for mantises all day long and show no mercy. Think the butterfly bush has to go?
I don't think butterfly bushes nearby milkweed is a good idea, what do you think? It's a HIGH risk of death for the monarch.