They hatched!

Today when I came home from work, as with every day for the past month, I check my praying mantis ootheca to see if it hatched.

And it did!

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(This picture is actually of the one on the rose bushes that David checked after we found the first one.)

My ritual of checking each morning and night was rewarded by the joy of feeling little critters all over my hands.  And we got to gently place them in their new homes and bid them happy hunting.

A couple of weeks ago, I cracked the lid open on their cage. Whoops.

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About 5 of them were crawling on the screen.

They hatched some time between 7 pm and 4:30 pm today.  When I saw them, I ran inside to beckon David to join me, and grabbed the camera. He ran. We then tried to determine where we wanted to spread them, as our aphid infestation is at a low point right now, and our ant infestation is at a high point.

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There’s been bark at the bottom of the enclosure since I got it.  I only today realized it probably wasn’t the best idea, as it was tough to scoop these critters out.

How many can you spot in this picture?  I see two, but there could be more. As they were spread on the outside, the walls and over the inner mulch, my scientific brain had to be quieted, and we didn’t try to count the babies.

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This shy newbie turned away from the camera.

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As I picked them each up (or handfuls of mulch with one on it), each one made it’s way to the plant in a different way.  Some would bounce onto a leaf, others the ground. Some would be placed on a leaf and then crawl around for a bit.  Others would stay very still, until I blew on them or poked them.

P1010656Here’s a little one that we put on the side yard tomatoes.

They were spread in both the backyard and side yard. The one in the roses spread all over the side yard roses.

David and I are optimistic that the praying mantises will survive; last year we released lady bugs and we see quite a few of those around. We’ll keep our eyes open for them and fingers crossed.

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16 thoughts on “They hatched!

  1. Cool where can I get some! I have an orange tree that could use some. Haven’t seen these criters since I was a vere young man. In mr life time I have only seen 5 at best. I was told a long tkme ago that these critters are very important to the eco system!

  2. Favorite insect!!! How cool that you bought some! I have seen many in our area in the past summers but none actually in the garden. Maybe this year we’ll spy one;) We do have a lot of ants so maybe that has something to do with it? The ants haven’t caused us any major problems yet so I haven’t done much to combat them. I’ve heard sprinkling some fake sugar (sweet and low, etc. and coffee grinds can help).

    • I hope you and your little ones do see mantises! The ants aren’t a problem for us either, but since they’re everywhere and the mantids are so small right now, I just may take your advice. Thanks!

    • I highly recommend it! My friend put the ootheca in a paper bag and was able to see them hatch also. We had ours in a screen container that a friend built for me. Just make sure you have them in something, otherwise you’ll get to hunt for the babies on your plants rather than hold them right after they’re born!

  3. This is a great idea – to hatch your own praying mantis inside a container – and then place them where you need them! I see their egg clusters in the backyard every fall but never thought to contain them and spread them myself! Thanks for this idea!

    • I’m glad it inspired you! You’re lucky to have them around your yard already!! A suggestion was to keep the ootheca in a paper bag and place it in a sunny location.We didn’t want to have to check it that often (although I ended up doing so anyways) so we had a larger container wrapped in window screen. Good luck!!

  4. I watched as a praying mantis spun a cocoon in my butterfly bush last fall and it still hasn’t hatched. I’m in NW Ohio-is it too late, or will it hatch???

    • That’s so exciting that you were able to watch! How long did it take? We are in Southern California, and I would think you still have plenty of time. From what I understand, you need consistently warm weather for between one to two months. I would check with people at your local garden store, or if you have a county cooperative extension that you can call, that’d work too. I hope they hatch!

  5. Mantises eat ants?! We have many native mantises but I guess I hadn’t thought of purchasing more of them to release on our farm to keep our ant population in check (which is totally out of control). Your photos of the little ones are really adorable!

    • I actually thought it was the other way around- ants eat BABY mantises. Are you worried about your ants? I hadn’t considered ours anything but a nuisance, except worrying about them bugging our mantises.

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