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I Was Munched On By A Praying Mantis & I Still Love Them!

When I was young, my Dad was photographing an adult female who was particularly defensive and on my hand. Dad was trying to get a side view of her in the attack mode, but she was turning around with him as he moved to get the side view photo of her. I lifted up my little finger on my other hand to distract her, and got too close to her, and she grabbed it and started biting me and eating my skin near the cuticle!  We finally had to give her a piece of meat to chew on to get her to let go of my finger! I let her finish eating the piece of meat, but never picked up this particular mantis again.  I have never again held any other mantis who was as aggressive as she was.  And, a picture of this particular female mantis is on my profile page in my praying mantis album. 

For the last few years, it seems like there are fewer and fewer praying mantises around here.  It is probably because the city I live in has grown a lot and the suburbs are increasing each year.  I haven't even seen any mantises outside of my yard for about 8 years now, though I constantly am looking for them

As a result, I decided about 6 years ago, that I would buy 3 praying mantis egg cases each year and I would release the 1st instar nymphs in my yard.  This way, I hoped  to try and increase the praying mantis numbers in my area.  Unfortunately, I fear most were eaten by lizards and other animals in my yard, for in the last two years, I have only seen an adult female Carolina Mantis on my porch door, and last year, a 2nd instar nymph on a bush next to my porch.   But, this pretty well fits in with the laws of nature, for generally only 1 in 100 young animals of any species survive to adulthood.  And, I intend to keep ordering more egg cases each Spring, and I'll keep hoping that I will see some praying mantises in my yard each year!

As an adult, I have managed to raise one 1st instar nymph to adulthood.  At first, I fed it fruit flies and other tiny flies and insects that I caught at my night light outside of my back door each night.  And, as it got bigger, I caught larger insects for it plus I also fed it mealworm larvae.   It took 6 weeks to finally molt into it's adult stage, and I then released it in my yard.  Unfortunately, I didn't take any photographs of this experience, but should I ever decide to raise a baby mantis again, I  will photograph it as it grows.

I still love praying mantises and I will try to hold them whenever I can!
 

insectlady insectlady 56 5 Responses Feb 28, 2010

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oh yeah..also..i caught a tiny lil fellow last summer,in my backyard,and at first thought it might be a grasshopper,but...no...it was a mantis...yay ok bye

O.K. the guy in silence of lambs excluded, bug freaks are the bomb. Just to let u kno...in Michigan,I saw a large mantis downtown[big city area]several years ago and a large mantis here in the suburbss last summer enjoying[for at least a week] a purpleish hosta type area where bees hung out.so..power to the mantises

you clearly care a lot about the mantises and i agree . these are magnificent pets. my bedroom is a zoo and i currently own a Chinese mantis and will be getting two giant asian mantises and they are amazing pets. everyone should own one and i think you are doing the right thing on letting them grow and releasing them in to the wild and doing the best you can to increase the population.thanks for shearing.

Yes, it was fun and hard work to bring my mantis to adulthood. I enjoyed holding every day before I collected the insects at my outside light! <br />
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There are about 100 eggs in each praying mantis ootheca or egg case. That is why one will see so many babies when they first hatch.<br />
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Japanese Beetles are a pest, because they do not have enough natural enemies to control their numbers naturally. <br />
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One reason that the ladybugs are being seen more, is that they migrate when they have used up their food supply, where they were first located. This means that they are helping you when they first arrive at your yard, for there must be aphids and similar insects in large numbers. Scientists have recently found that out plants send out distress signals to predators when they are overwhelmed with pests. And, the predators receive this signal and respond to it and help the plant by eating the pests. <br />
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When cold weather sets in, ladybugs, try to find a protected area in which to clump, which can cause problems for the home and business locations where they congregate. Hundreds of ladybugs gather in a safe location and form a huge clump, as they do not freeze in the cold, as a group, when in huge numbers. I have photos Dad took in the late 1950's of a hollow log that we found in a swamp in mid-winter that was filled with hundreds of ladybugs. <br />
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Here, the ladybugs have infested a local hospital's operating rooms, and the staff have to vacuum them up and destroy them so that surgery can be done. One of my doctors had an office in their professional building, and I would bring my net and collect all that I could at each appointment, and bring them home and release them here. <br />
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Another reason that the ladybugs are being seen more, is that they migrate when they have used up their food supply, where they first located. But, that means that they are helping you when they first arrive at your yard, for there must be aphids and similar insects in large numbers. Scientists have recently found that out plants send out distress signals to predators when they are overwhelmed with pests.

Yeah, they're cool. I found one hanging upside down above my door. I put it somewhere else, after I showed it off. They eat other bugs, llike mosquitoes, so, I never kill them. I wouldn't let anyone else either. How do you feel about Japanese Beetles ( Ladybugs)? They were imported because they eat crop predators. I don't mind them unless they swarm my house. Now Redbugs ( As I call them) I kill on sight. I hate those *******.