Praying mantis: Praying mantises including Tenodera aridifolia sinensis, and Stagmomantis crolina are strong predators of many insect pests. These biological control agents are well known for their "ambush" type of foraging strategy. These predatory insects also have an ability to camouflage with their surroundings and deceive their prey. Praying mantises are commercially available and can be used as effective biological control agents against many insects pests (see below) infesting organic gardens.
Facts (show all)
- Effective against the following pests
- Aphids (Order: Hemiptera), Myzus spp.
- Beetles (Order: Coleoptera)
- Caterpillars (Order: Lepidoptera)
- Crane flies (Order: Diptera), Holorusia spp.
- Crickets (Order: Orthoptera)
- Flies (Order: Diptera)
- Grasshoppers (Order: Orthoptera)
- Leafhoppers (Order: Hemiptera)
- Mosquitoes (Order: Diptera)
- Moths (Order: Lepidoptera)
- Spiders (Order: Araneae)
- Wasps (Order: Hymenoptera)
- Key factors for praying mantis effectiveness
- Parying mantises are very fast predators. They are ambushers meaning they sit and wait for their prey to come by. Once their prey is within their reach, they can quickly attack and grab this passing by insect prey with their spiny forelegs, and then munch on it. They are also known to camouflage with their surroundings to mislead their victim insects. Both nymphs and adults feed on different kinds of insect pests. Young nymphs feed on small soft bodied insects such as aphids and flies whereas adults feed on large insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, moths etc. They are most effective against moths because they are active like them during night.
- How praying mantises applied in the organic garden?
- Praying mantises are sold as egg cases. These egg cases are generally hanged randomly in the bushes in he garden mostaly after last frost and then throughout the summer. Generally 3-4 cases per 5000 sq ft area seem to be enough for the effective control of many insect pests. Each case contains about 400 eggs, which will hatch when temperature begins to rise in the spring. Immediately after hatching, young mantises also called nymphs starts looking for their prey. Nymphs generally eat small soft bodied insects such as aphids but as they grow old, they will start feeding on any big sized insect pests including beetles, butterflies, caterpillars, grasshoppers, moths etc.
- Why you need praying mantises
- Because we can use them to control soft bodied insect pests that cause tremendous damage to our organic vegetables. Also, these biological control agents have a wide host range and can be easily indroduced in the garden.
- Why they are safer than traditional pesticides
- they are not harmful to children, pets and the environment.
- they do not harm plants and like pesticides, there is no question of leaving any toxic chemical residue on the produce that is ready to eat.
- do not cause any harm to the personnel involved in their production or application.
- Therefore, any produce including all vegetables are safe to handle and eat when they are treated with praying mantises.
- Research Papers
- Kaltenpoth, M. 2005. Life history and morphometry of the Chinese praying mantis, Tenodera aridifolia sinensis (Blattopteroidea: Mantodea). Entomologia Generalis 28: 1-16.
- Iwasaki, T. 1991. Predatory behavior of the praying-mantis, Tenodera-aridifolia. 2. Combined effect of prey size and predator size on the prey recognition. Journal of Ethology 9: 77-81.