1 egg case contains 50-400 eggs, with an average of 200 eggs. There is only one generating of mantis per season. Praying mantis are a general garden predator and will eat anything they can catch, including bad and good bugs. Mantis stake out a territory and hunt by stealth, catching anything that is small enough to eat which comes in to their territory. mantis are cannibalistic, so as soon as they hatch they begin to quickly disperse. Mantis camouflage well, and are very secretive, and so are very difficult to see among one’s plants, however later in the season after they’ve grown and claim territories, you may be lucky enough to spot one. These insects do not bite people damage plants or spread disease!
Setting the Egg Sack Outdoors:
- Place the egg outside when temperatures are warm (above 10° C/50° F), and insects are flying about regularly. The egg case should be placed in the garden, 2-5 feet above ground. Place the egg case on a shrub or plant, not in direct sun, but where it will receive some moisture from regular watering. Be sure that the egg case is camouflaged when outside, otherwise egg cases are liable to be eaten by other animals.
- BE PATIENT! The egg case will hatch when it is ready, and depending on conditions, some egg cases may take longer to hatch, while others may hatch much more quickly. Egg Cases may take 4-8 weeks to hatch. Once hatched, it only takes 1-2 hours for many of the baby mantis to emerge and disperse. After hatching, the egg case appears unchanged, so it may appear that the case has not hatched when it has!
Note: If intending to store an egg case, place inside the crisper drawer of your fridge until the temperature is above 10° C/50° F.
Hatching the Egg Sack Indoors:
- You’ll need an appropriate container (one with an opening which is, or can be covered by a fine mesh), a pin, a twig, and a misting bottle.
- While keeping the egg sack in its mesh bag, pin the bag to the twig. It is important to pin the egg case at least 5cm above the floor of the cage.
- Make sure that any large openings are covered by mesh.
- Place container in a warm spot, but be careful that it is not left in direct sunlight.
- Mist daily. This is very important! If an egg case dries out, it may not hatch.
- Wait patiently. Check egg case daily during its regular misting.
- Once hatched, enjoy the event, then be sure to quickly let the baby mantis go in your garden. Remember, mantis are cannibalistic, and will try to eat each other if kept in close quarters.
Note: Mantis can be kept individually as pets so long as you supply an ongoing food source for them.
Mantis Coverage Rates:
- 1 egg case covers an area up to 1000 ft²
- 3 egg cases cover and area up to 3,000 ft² and so on
Mantis Life Cycle:
Eggs: Mantis eggs are contained in an egg case, which are attached by the female to low weeds and shrubs. Egg cases are laid as a frothy substance which quickly hardens and contains the 50-400 eggs. As with most insects, many will hatch, but few survive.
Nymphs: When baby mantis first emerge from their egg case, they are very small (only about 0.5cm). As they dry after hatching, their arms and legs unravel, and once on their feet, they’ll sit to complete drying for a short time. Once completely dried, the mantis and its siblings will disperse before they become food for their brothers and sisters. A mantis nymph looks just like an adult mantis, except much smaller in size.
Adults: Once mature, both male and female mantis can fly; males are better at flying as they’re lighter than their female counterparts. In late summer, the mantis male will use their flying ability to seek out females in order to breed. Sometimes, smaller mantis males may become food for a hungry female, but despite stereotypes, this is never a given outcome. Female mantises may lay from 1 to 4 egg cases before the season ends. Praying mantis overwinters as an egg case.
Fun Fact: Did you know that in 1896, praying mantises were accidentally introduced by a nurseryman at Mt. Airy near Philadelphia, PA. Since then, the mantis has spread throughout North America.