Although they may be
a bit scary looking at first, the praying mantis is
actually one of the "good guys" in the insect world.
At least they are from the standpoint of home
gardeners. This is because, although they are not
discriminate eaters, they do tend to eat many of the
insects that we consider pests in the garden.
These insects can get
quite large (up to 5 inches) in length and they are
green to straw colored so they often blend into
their surroundings. They do not go through
metamorphosis so the immature mantis just look like
miniature versions of the adults...only smaller, of
This is one of those
species were the males are at a disadvantage. After
mating, the female usually eats the male. Each
female produces about 100 or so eggs which they
attach to plants in the garden. The ones that
survive the winter will hatch the following May or
early June and begin to eat other insects.
You can buy praying
mantis eggs commercially. Follow the instructions
you receive and you too can have these insect eating
machines working for you. REMEMBER that they will
also be killed if you go around spraying general
insecticides for garden pests.