“The bug for folks who want fewer bugs”
My father told me that the praying mantis was “the bug for folks who want fewer bugs.” That was a conundrum that swam around my head for years.
It is actually in the same family as crickets, and if you have seen one you know how it got its name. Praying mantises actually use those long elegant legs to catch their prey. A single juvenile mantis can eat hundreds of mosquitoes, moths, and aphids. As the mantis gets older and bigger it will eat beetles, moths, and even grasshoppers.
The praying mantis is very effective at policing your garden. Egg sacks are laid in the fall. They can be put in your garden either in the fall or the spring. In warmer times of the year you need to buy the eggs hatched, or hatch them in an aquarium or other sheltered environment.
Each year’s colony will not only control insects, but will lay thousands of eggs that will hatch the following spring to “re-load” your garden.
Imagine seasons without the smell of commercial insecticides, or the harassment of mosquitoes and moths. Whenever my own children would bring a mantis in a jar, I would say… “Let’s visit with our friend for a few hours, but then he has to get back to work.”