Learn All About This Backyard Beneficial Insect!
When I was a kid in Ohio, our science teacher had us collecting egg cases in late spring from a field trip. Our rural community was in the middle of large cornfields and insects were constant inhabitants. We didn’t know what kind they were but she put them in her vented metal cupboard over the summer vacation. When school started again in September, millions of 1 inch baby praying mantis had hatched! The janitors had to sweep them up and throw them outside. They were everywhere!! Even after we were allowed back into the building, I could hear girls scream when they encountered some of the “escapees”. I laughed when I heard these screening ninnies!
Another time, I wasn’t so brave. It was late fall and the corn stalks had dried in our large garden. I heard a really loud commotion in the middle of the cornfield, cornstalks were thrashing all around. I was cautiously curious and quietly walked near enough to see what had caused the commotion. Two huge 4-5” brown mantids were fighting!! They were jumping and flying all around the dry cornstalks. I didn’t stick around to see the outcome but have always wondered about this behavior. Are mantids territorial? Was this a mating ritual? I never found out, and am still just as curious.
What a storyteller you are. Yes, mandids will fight each other, even do the death. It’s quite ruthless. Often they fight to mate—and the losers will get eaten by their own kind!
Just noticed him(?) on plant I was trying to trim. He's brown, about 4 inches biggest I've ever seen. Watched him, looked like he was stalking; then I saw the lanternfly. Mr. mantis went after him, they both fell down the plant so I couldn't see. However the next day I saw just wings of the lanternfly stuck in what looked like some sort of sticky web on my plant. It would be great if more mantises could be a predator to get rid of these lanternflies.!!!
Mantis, of course. The timbre of The Old Farmers Almanac is becoming questionable, at best, and you can print that. Geez!!
I have two in my yard this summer. One is brown and the other is green. Both are about 2 inches long.The green one I picked up in the grass and showed it to the neighbors. It was looking around at the people and back at me. A very unique and calming experience.
I have been watching a mantis all week on my screened porch. She is the biggest one I have ever seen. Over 4 inches and 5 or so with her arms out straight. Beautiful specimen.
Most mantises have relatively short livespans—only about six months, from spring to early fall. In the fall, females lay an egg case containing hundreds of eggs in a sheltered location, from which baby mantis nymphs hatch in the spring. The nymphs spend the summer eating, growing, and breeding to eventually repeat the cycle.
They may survive for a little while indoors, but due to lack of food and their naturally short lifespans, they’re unlikely to make it through winter.
Living in the country a few years back, every spring when I mowed the lawn, a mantis (usually in the young stage) would hop a ride on the hood as if it was guiding me. Sometimes one would get on the steering wheel; I pretended it was driving. They were my buddies, I was proud, felt safe, and I truly miss them.
FYI - the plural of mantis is not mantis. It is Mantids, although mantises is becoming a little more common these days.