Raising praying mantises

Raising praying mantises

I’ve been curious about raising praying mantises for a while; according to Wikipedia, there are 2,000 species of mantids; only 20 of them are native to the United States. I’ve heard of people using them for a natural pest control, but apparently they’ll eat beneficial insects as well as pests, and will even eat hummingbirds! If you’re interested in raising them at home, here’s a good article to start with. Don’t release them unless it’s the right time of year, and they can survive in your area! (I’ve never seen one in the wild in the Northwest – I think that means if I hatch some, they’re my responsibility as long as they live.)

32 thoughts on “Raising praying mantises

  1. Jeff says:

    The plural is mantii, you [removed].

    (Jeff, I removed the unnecessary part of your comment. And mantises is correct, as is mantids, but mantii is not, as far as I can find. Do you have a source? -Patti)

  2. Voodooschaaf says:

    What about raising milliedes in ur home?

    Take a look at my website and see how easy it is:

    Shura and the whole bunch

  3. Marc de Vinck says:


    I looked it up and the plural form of Mantis, it’s Mantises. They are also commonly called Mantids. Either way, I was not able to find “mantii” anywhere?


    And the Mantid source:


    On another note, this site has some amazing pictures of Mantises (Mantids)!


    Now let’s all be friends, K?

  4. ad astra says:

    According to Merriam-Webster, the plural is Mantises, with Mantes also being acceptable. The OED says Mantises. “Mantids” is also accurate, but more general.

    Anyway, setting aside the above ridiculousness, I actually did this when I was a kid. The kind I had didn’t grow all that big (certainly not big enough to snag a hummingbird!), but they were a lot of fun, and not that hard to raise at all. When they were first hatched I caught fruit flies and put those into their cage; when they were bigger I caught leafhopppers by sweeping a fine-mesh butterfly net over the grass in the yard. They’re amazing to watch, and especially if they’re native to your climate, I can highly recommend this.

  5. Dave says:

    Your info on Mantises lead to me researching other “bugs.” Now I’m planning on raising scorpions and my girlfriend is completely freaked out. She wanted to say thank you.

  6. peterman921 says:

    according to this article we have two varieties here in Southern Oregon.


    and I have not gone a summer yet without seeing them for at least the last 5 years.

    usually in the winter you can find the egg cases underneath eaves or in one case the kids had left a bicycle laying on the ground and the egg case was attached to the bottom side of the tire. I picked it off and stuck it to the living room wall near the fireplace and about a week later (because of the elevated temp) out hatched several hundred baby mantises.

  7. Rick Mason says:

    I did this when I was a kid too. I’d catch a few in the fields around our house and put them in an old aquarium filled with branches and leaves for them to climb on. Then I’d catch grasshoppers to feed them. Watching them hunt was thrilling. I even had a few that mated and laid their egg sacks on the side of the aquarium.

    Unfortunately the eggs never hatched. I suspect this was due to them not being exposed to the seasons the way they would normally be in Southern Ontario.

  8. Marc de Vinck says:


    That always happens to me, but I can’t say I want scorpions in my home!


    Sounds really cool, any pictures? Also, what did you do with them (maybe I don’t want to know)

  9. FriedPope says:

    Remember that if you plan on raising Mantises as pets or for pest control, “…non-native species are illegal to possess and release in the United States, under the Non Native Invasive Species Act of 1992.”

    I would hate to have non-native insects in my backyard eating the non-native birds =D

  10. Patti Schiendelman says:

    Oh, southern Oregon and southern Ontario have much more extreme temperature swings than my part of the Northwest – I wonder if that’s it? They don’t like moderate?

    Dave, scorpions, EW! My sympathies to your girlfriend.

  11. Kabuki says:

    Patti, I live in Salem, Oregon, and have for over twenty years. Now, I’m not sure about your location, but the Willamette River Valley is full of Mantids. I always enjoy seeing them, though since I live in the center of town now, I don’t see nearly as many as when I was a kid.

  12. Eric Cherry says:

    I lived in the city of Memphis as a little boy, my grandparents operated a large farm where I’d go each Summer for mandatory manual labor. My Grandmother would find neat things in her garden as she tended to it, mostly the molted bodies of cicadas that she’d find clinging to everything. I still think those are cool… but she once mailed me a mantis cocoon still attached to a stick.

    “That’s really cool, wonder what’s in it?”, for the time of year it was we all thought it was too cold for whatever was in there to hatch. So we left it in the kitchen cupboards with other odd curious items that didn’t have a home.

    I’m not clear as exactly how much time had passed between when I got the cocoon and what happened next. But it was one day that we noticed a ton of little white red eyed praying mantis all over our house!

    The moral of the story is: if you don’t want your Mother to get pissed off, take all the cocoons your Grandmother sends you and put them in sealed glass jars.

    Was worth it tho, mantis are more amazing to watch than my Mother having a fit.

  13. hojo says:

    I bought a couple of egg cases at Orchard Supply in Central California and put them on my grandmother’s rose bushes which were suffering from Aphids. They hatched out and ate the aphids (I guess), but they didn’t stick around afterward.

    I’ve seen mantises, mantids, mantii, mantuzelae whatever… in Eastern Washington.

  14. Jeff says:

    I apologize. I don’t know where I got the faulty plural from, but some google-fu turns up that I’m not the only one. I probably read the wrong version somewhere, and it stuck because of the quirkiness, I guess. I should have doublechecked, before pointing out non-existent errors and name calling. So, the joke’s on me, I guess I am the dumbass/[removed].


  15. Patti Schiendelman says:

    Thanks, Jeff. That’s very cool of you, I’ve seen people leave much worse comments and they’ve never apologized. :)

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