Got praying mantis?

karen64(6b)July 27, 2004

I'm still fascinated with these guys. As of late, you can walk outside my door and pretty easily find one or more, with not much of a search. The ones i've been spotting are about pinky's length. Now I have a field on my back acre where I always find egg cases and I took one over the winter and set it in the garden close to the house. Would these guys have grown that large since hatching in spring? We've hatched them before and they come out the size of small ants. I came upon one the other day and put my finger near it and it raised itself up on its hind legs as if to fight! Pretty cool. Do they bite if you poke them? The larger ones seem to be dark brown, right? had lots of hummingbird moths last week, this week its the mantis. I wonder if they travel far or stick to the area they are born in.

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I used to really like these guys and did the same thing you did -- carried a couple egg cases to my garden and thrilled to watching them roam around. They really are fascinating.

Unfortunately, near the end of the summer, I witnessed one kill and eat a beautiful monarch butterfly. Now they are no longer welcome in my garden. Fortunately, I have not seen any since this happened or I would try and relocate them down into the woods.

BEst, Diana

    Bookmark   July 28, 2004 at 10:59AM
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Give them to me! I don't have any, and know that they are great for eating other bugs, hopefully the bad bugs. It is a shame when they eat the beautiful bugs, but that's part of nature. I think someone posted a picture a while back on another forum of a praying mantis killing and eating a hummingbird. Don't quote me, I may be totally wrong on this.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2004 at 11:04AM
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Mvespa(Z6 NJ)

I haven't seen any this year. I used to see them alot in previous years. Don't know why they don't come around anymore.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2004 at 12:58PM
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We have a couple of young mantis' in our yard which my 6 y.o. son found with his amazing vision. It took me a while to see where he was pointing because it was so well camouflaged(I had to look that word up :) ) in my lemon thyme. I'm glad they're in our yard to eat up all the bad bugs. I know they eat some of the good ones too but it's all part of the circle of life. Although it was a little sad to witness a grasshopper leap into a spiders web-the poison actually seemed to cause it's insides to come out a little. Yuck!


    Bookmark   July 29, 2004 at 6:54PM
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I have seen them at times in my yard near my front porch when they are only one and a half inches long and the size of a very fine pencil lead. They will come to your yard if you have the bad bugs but will migrate elsewhere if you don't have enough bugs to satisfy their endless hunger. Same thing with ladybugs, when the aphids appear so do the ladys and when the aphids are under control they are gone too. I have been know to guide the ladys to the right spot.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2004 at 10:00PM
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Granite_Man(Locust Valley)

We had two, but on Thursday their lives came to a crashing hault.

Both were perched about 3 feet below the bird feeder when a male woodpecker decided that mantis would be a tastier than the nuts left in the feeder. The woodpecker devoured both in what seemed liked 5 seconds.

Hopefully, our garden still has a few mantis left.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2004 at 10:18PM
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rothwood(z7 NJ)

We have plenty. Each winter my wife and I scout out a field of goldenrods and look for egg cases, and bring two or three home for our garden. The adults do not last the winter, so yes indeed, those little ant size babies are the same as the big guys you see in summer. At our house, they set up on plants preferred by bees and wasps, and take them

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 6:22PM
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jeanmelissaNJ(z7 Central NJ)

What do the egg cases look like? I have seen some praying mantis outside in my containers, and I THINK I have seen egg cases, but not quite sure what they look like...


    Bookmark   August 15, 2004 at 10:20AM
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Datdog(z7 NJ)

All over the yard... It seems each Mantis has it's own little plant. Makes for great picture taking.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2004 at 1:21PM
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WPalm033(Chicago Z6)

I want some!!! WOW how neat! I have never heard of anything like that living anywhere around here!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2004 at 1:16AM
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arden_nj(z6 NJ)

The egg cases look like lumpy brown balls. About the size of a walnut. You can actually buy them online.

They hatch out in early spring and only live one summer. When the female is ready to lay eggs, she attracts a number of males (which are much smaller than the females). All of the unsuitable guys are eaten. Either by her or each other. Finally one will impress her enough to mate with her, after which HE gets eaten. But don't feel to bad because after she lays her eggs, she dies too. My guess is that she needs all that extra protein to make the eggs. Truly a wonder of nature.

Also, they do not roam far from the bush where they're hatched. We've watched this cycle in one azalea bush for years.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2004 at 12:43PM
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lpcat(Z7 SJ)

I have plenty of praying mantis. I collect the egg cases each fall and use fishing line to tie them to branches of small bushes around the yard.

When they hatch they are tiny - you really need good eyesight to spot them. They will grow to about 6 inches long by summer's end. I watched one molt last week - at first I thought it was a two headed mantis.

They seem to like to live in my dahlias and roam at will around the vegetable garden. I've watched them eat crickets - pretty fascinating. Never saw them bother the hummingbirds though.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2004 at 9:02PM
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Great pic Dat!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2004 at 9:19PM
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A few more praying mantis stories, if I'm not too late. Long ago, when I was just a wee kid, my older brother had found an egg, and put it on his dresser in his room. To my Mom's horror, they all hatched and were crawling all over his room. Seems like there were hundreds, but I could be remembering wrong. Luckily, a friend of my Mom's was over, and recognized the critters, so the two of them were capturing them and releasing them out the window. I seem to recall some story that it was against the law to kill them ($50- fine if you were caught), but again, I don't know if this was just a rumor, or a real law. Two weeks ago, I was on my way into a local Pathmark with my 5-year-old son. I just got the cart, and was walking into the store, when I noticed a large green form on the side of the cart. At first I thought it was a grasshopper, then realized what it was. I picked it off the cart, showed my son ( he of course wanted to keep it), but I said "let's let him go over in the woods". So we walked over to the woods on the side of the parking lot. Strangely, while we were walking, I was carrying him on my hand, he turned his head all the way around and looked me squarely in the face. I think he was happy to be released back into the woods.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2004 at 11:59PM
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I haven't seen any this year. Normally I only see one or two though...

    Bookmark   September 1, 2004 at 11:13AM
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Cool pic! I'm happy to see them most every time I go in the patio garden now! The larger ones have brownish back "wings". they have a very graceful manner about them, the way they turn their heads around or stand up on their back legs. When my boys were younger, we collected several egg cases in the back field and each was put in a see-thru jar with stockings tied around the top of the lid securely. The jars were kept in the garage out of the sun, where it was cold. Once spring arrived and no more frost, they brought their jars to school and checked each day for the babies. They must be free'd the day they hatch or they begin to eat each other! 2 of the boys had luck but one son's did not hatch. My reasoning is, it may have been a nest from the year before. Its hard to tell if the nest has released the babies, it looks the same. I imagine the old nests break down from the weather or are eaten after a year or more? The nests look like mini indian napsacks, not quite round, and they are not smooth at all, rather like a walnut maybe? Light brown.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2004 at 9:46AM
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dragonfly_dance(z7 SENJ)

Peppermint, this is one of the things I find fascinating about these creatures, They seem to be bold and will make direct eye contact with you. they also pay attention to their surrounding like once I was sitting on the porch with one one my wrist, A car passed by and his little head moved from one side to the other as he watched the car pass by. recently while working in the garden center, I invited one on my hand. She had been there for about a week. She was leary at first and raised up, but eventually she climbed on and them made he way up my arm, where she grabbed hold of my hair and climbed on top of my head. She really liked it there - I counldn't get her to come down and when I finally did, she was on my hand making a beeline several times back up my arm. Finally I put her on a perennial, but we had a big sale over the weekend and I s'pose somebody bought her plant and her with it. Now I have this other creature, a very long grasshopper like dude, who buzzez all nightlong and he lives in the maiden grass. He has been there about two weeks. I am not sure what he is, but he's really cool and keeps me company while I work alone.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2004 at 12:24PM
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dighappy(z7 NJ)

Yep, have seen several lately, bigguns too! Here are a few pics of one of my visitors.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2004 at 1:38AM
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wellhung(6b NJ)

So is it illegal to keep praying mantis?

    Bookmark   September 24, 2004 at 10:06PM
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Sheila611(z7 NJ)

In the spring I saw of praying mantis in the garden but have not seen any lately. I would like to look for the egg cases and do as suggested above (tie with string in the garden). Are there any particular plants that they lay their eggs on or does anyone have a picture of an egg case?

dighappy-loved your pictures!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2004 at 10:14PM
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cfrizz(z7, WA)

Dighappy: That first pic is great (both are actually)! He's looking right at ya!!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2004 at 9:15AM
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dighappy(z7 NJ)

Thanks guys.....he was doing a GQ for me.....was very cooperative during his "shoot"!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2004 at 12:48PM
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TheGardenersDaughter(z6 NJ)

I love, love, love mantids. They're so clever and graceful.

Last summer, while walking in the surf in Bay Head, I spotted a mantid stranded on the sand. I scooped him up and walked a half-mile to my blanket. I figured he was thirsty -- all that salt water! -- and offered him a drink from the cap of my Poland Spring bottle. He slurped it right down. Then I took him over to the dunes and encouraged him to latch on to a rugosa branch. I think he was a very happy mantid indeed!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2004 at 6:58PM
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The egg case looks like a walnut, just not very round. And they are extremely textured, like a sponge or just like a wafer cookie (resist the urge to taste) They instinctively attach the case to stems or branches that will stay intact all winter. For example, in our field, many things will die back to the ground but the egg cases are attached to wild evergreen shrubs below eye level, and young tree's at about waist height or lower. I've never really seen one up high, maybe the highest was around eye level but they might do it different in other locations. I cannot find anymore mantis in my garden, I was down to 3 in August and now there are none to be found. I'm looking for a nest but it might be easier when things die back. I know I'll find the nests in the field this fall and we have fun looking for them! Im hoping to get a digital camera and new computer for my b-day this december : )

    Bookmark   October 4, 2004 at 10:36AM
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Sheila611(z7 NJ)

Thanks Karen64. I will look for the nests. A digital camara is great. I just got one and am constantly taking pictures of my flowers! It has been helpful in creating a catalog of the plants I have.
I took a good picture of a praying mantis at a friends house but I don't know how to post it to the forum. Can anyone give instuctions? I also have an unknown plant and would like to post its picture to help identify it.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2004 at 9:27AM
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birdgardner(NJ/ 6b)

I have a very preggy female in my miscanthus. Yesterday she laid an egg case and today a male is on her back staying out of reach. I removed a large forsythia/multiflora rose tangle and found five egg cases but I don't think they are all this year's - some are dark and raggedy looking. tucked them all in safe places just in case.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2004 at 5:18PM
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robinson622(z7 NJ)

I had to share, even though this thread is pretty old.

Every summer we see lots of praying mantis, but my son (then 4, now 6) never saw one. One day we were watching The Discovery Channel or Animal Planet and they were talking about scorpions. My son was amazed by the power of the scorpion's sting, and the fact that it could kill a person. I assured him that there were no scorpions in NJ. As we continued to watch, we learned that the only predator of a scorpion was...A PRAYING MANTIS. We watched as the praying mantis grabbed the scorpion with its very strong arms and actually ate it while it was alive. He thought that was amazing.

After the show ended, he decided he wanted to go outside and play. As he walked out the door, there looking right at us was a praying mantis. Weird huh? He turned around so fast and ran into his bedroom screaming. My husband and I were hysterrically laughing. It took quite a while to convince him that the praying mantis wouldn't do to him what it did to the scorpion. Great memory!!!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 12:34AM
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Katrinawitch(Zone 6b NJ)

I wish I had a mantis! As it is, even the ladybugs don't stay in my garden (although the somehow find their way into my bedroom windowsills!). I have a great memory of seeing my first mantis in my neighbor's yard when I was about five. It scared the bejeezus out of me! Since then, I've only seen them at Cook College's Ag-Field day! Are there any plants they favor, or maybe my yard doesn't have enough bugs!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 3:13PM
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transplant_england(z6 NJ)

we are new to NJ and had no idea such an exotic looking insect would live here, I thought originally that some must have escaped from a pet shop!
We had 3/4 end of last summer.
Does anyone know what colour the egg case is? we have some walnut size, light brown, chrysalis type looking, lumps on a rugosa and ornamental grasses and I don't want to cut them back if they might be babies waiting to hatch.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 1:10PM
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That describes their egg cases. They will hatch once the temp gets warm enough- probably June.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 1:55PM
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I had one in my yard two years ago... never seen it since.. how do I get them to stay?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 12:36PM
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any one know where I can purchase some Ootheca sacs(praying mantis eggs cases) in ontario?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 7:38PM
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transplant_england(z6 NJ)

evan1 - you were spot on! I've seen quite a few "babies" this year, about an inch long so far. I have no idea why they like what we have planted and am happy to see them here but, as mentioned in a previous posting, don't think I would be as keen if I had seen one killing a hummer.
The plants I have seen them on are roses, bronze fennel and feverfew but I think this is probably because these are in close proximity to each other rather than choice. Also have spotted some on the petunias. Mind you, a couple were in the kitchen and had to scoot them out, they may look at you with a knowing eye but they are still insects!
Sorry, I have no idea how you might get egg sacs in Ont., given my experiences crossing the border it is difficult enough getting your luggage across let alone insect eggs, but good luck.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2005 at 8:03PM
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Here's a young one my son spotted on a pumpkin leaf this morning. He turned his head to the camera just as he took the picture.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 2:10AM
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dighappy....what camera are you using to take those??
I have a digital...Canon Powershot A70, and my close-ups are always out of focus. It drives me crazy. the subject always seems to be in focus when taken, but it's always focused on the background in the picture. I use macro setiings, etc. to no avail. If you don't mind...let me know the specifics of your in-focus close-ups. Thanks!

Great pics!!!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 1:19PM
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JerseyGirl57(z6 NJ)

I have at least 2 hanging out, saw one on my geranium and one on my deck. This picture was taken about 2 weeks ago, he was about 1 1/2 inches then, the guys I saw today were about 2 1/2 ins. long. This guy may be one of the same as today, if so, he's a fast grower!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2005 at 8:56PM
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so, do they bite humans? And what does it mean when it sticks it's back end in the air?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2005 at 10:45PM
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