Praying Mantids – Defender of Home Landscapes
Praying mantids are among the largest (1 to 4 inches long) and most recognizable garden predators—and they’re not fussy about what they catch and eat. They are “sit and wait” predators that pounce on any insect that comes too close, including beneficial insects, like bees and butterflies. The most common species in the Pacific Northwest is the European mantid (Mantis religiosa). Praying mantids are most often seen in the garden from mid-summer to mid-autumn. After laying a number of white, hard-foam egg cases (which overwinter attached to branches and trunks), Mantids are typically killed off by the first frosts of autumn. They kill and consume a good number of pests like caterpillars and flies, but their contribution to garden pest control is usually less than their larger-than-life image.
For more information on beneficial arthropods in the home landscape, see WSU Extension manual EM067E- Beneficial Insects, Spiders, and Other Mini-Creatures in Your Garden: Who They Are and How to Get Them to Stay on-line at http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/EM067E/EM067E.pdf
Submitted by: Michael R. Bush, August 11, 2014