The Praying Mantis

 We are fortunate to have this insect at Oakridge Ranch! 

Mantis in "Prayer"; Photo by B.LaVergne, 09-22-2013.
Mantis in “Prayer”; Photo by B.LaVergne, 09-22-2013.

 The Praying Mantis, Mantis religiosa (or European Mantis) is such an interesting insect.  A second species of this insect is the Carolina Mantid, Stagmomantis Carolina is also common is Texas.  It’s often debated whether these insects are friend or foe in the garden.  The Mantis feeds on various insects including flies, crickets, grasshoppers, caterpillars, bees and lady bugs.  The Praying Mantis will even eat its own if no other food is available.  Because of their cannibalistic nature, there is often not enough of them in the environment to effect a difference in the population of the bad insects in our gardens.  Some people even make pets of these and often use them in teaching as they can be easily fed with flies and caterpillars.  The life cycle of the Mantis is not long, approximately only 6 months.  These beneficial insects usually die off by the first frost.

Praying Mantis enjoying a thunderstorm at Oakridge; Photo by B.LaVergne, 09-22-2013.
Praying Mantis enjoying a thunderstorm at Oakridge; Photo by B.LaVergne, 09-22-2013.

There is so much additional information on the Praying Mantis available.    Check out the following link for more details:
http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/galveston/beneficials/beneficial-20_mantid_praying_mantis.htm

We’d love to share your pictures!   Send them to ORWMA at oakridgeranchwma@gmail.com.

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