Praying Mantis

For me, one of the most interesting insects that we encounter is the Praying Mantis. Mantises are always welcome in the garden as they have a voracious appetite for other insects. We’ve been watching a praying mantis egg sac for a few weeks and the little guys finally emerged on April 22nd. The small mantises in the images appeared to be about 1/4” / 6.5mm in length. A few images of the event are attached.

A little background for those interested…Each praying mantis egg case will hatch about 100-300 tiny mantises, all at once. In order to hatch they'll need several weeks of warm weather, so they can "sense" that summer (and pest insects for food) has arrived.

Manteses have a complex life cycle, starting with cannibalistic mating and including an extended egg period, followed by a nymph stage and finally adulthood. You can find praying mantis egg sacs naturally in much of North America (you can also buy mantis egg sacs for use in the garden if needed). Females lay eggs on twigs and stems (as shown in the included images) - but you can also find them on walls, fences and other structures.