The beneficial bugs that we invite to our gardens do more than scare away the bad bugs…they entertain. There is no bug that is more enjoyable to watch than the praying mantis. Their eyes catch the smallest movement and once you are in their radar, beware. It doesn’t matter that you are plenty bigger than them. They can fly and jump and they will even attempt to scare you, so be aware when walking in your garden. (Not for the squeemish or very young!)
When they first hatch, around the beginning of June, a swarm of miniature bugs that look just like the mature bugs, scatter in all directions. They are no bigger than 1/2″ and their biggest enemy is their sisters and brothers. They will eat each other after hatching, so that is why they make a bee line to safer ground.
I order my egg casings from http://www.planetnatural.com/site/praying-mantis-egg-cases.html. They offer 3 egg sacs for $12.95 and there is no shipping charged. A great deal. This is my second order from them and the price hasn’t risen since 2008 when I last made an order. The praying mantis will travel, and are not guaranteed to stay in your yard. I have had eggs laid on shrubs in my yard before, but this spring when I looked for egg sacs I found none, hence I am making an order today.
Neighbors have told me they have seen praying mantis in their yards and I am sure they migrated from my yard. Last year we did not have an infestation of Japanese Beetles so I am hoping it is the praying mantis who are taking care of those menancing beasts. The Japanese Beetle really does a heck of a job on my roses every year.