Instructions for the Praying Mantis Eggs

Praying mantis are beautiful insects with a voracious  appetite, and a delight to have In the garden. Being strictly carnivorous, they'll eat almost any insect of a size they can overcome. Waiting In quiet  ambush for hours at a time, when an Insect comes wandering by they suddenly  jump out and attack — always biting the neck first. At rest, they seem to be praying. holding their "hands" together.

Each egg case will hatch about 100 to 200 tiny mantises, all at once. In order to hatch  they'll need several weeks of warm weather, so they can "sense" that summer (and pest insects for food) has arrived. Attach the egg cases to a twig or plant about a foot or two off the ground where there's cover to protect the  babies. When hatching, the young crawl from between tiny flaps in the cases and hang from silken threads about 2" below the case. After drying out, the long-legged young disperse into the vegetation. This happens within an hour or two, and it's very difficult to  know hatching has occurred unless the elusive, well camouflaged young are found. (The egg case does not change appearance in any way) If you'd like to  see when the mantis have hatched, place the egg cases in a paper bag, fold the  top, and seal shut with a paper clip or clothes pin. Place the bag on a  windowsill in direct sunlight. Periodically open the bag carefully, and when you see tiny mantis running around inside, take them outside and sprinkle them  throughout the garden. Be patient. It can take up to eight weeks of  warm weather for them to hatch.

Once hatched, praying mantis begin feeding on small  insects, such as aphids. Later on, they'll eat larger and  larger prey. By summer's end, praying mantis can reach several inches in  length. In the fall, females produce more eggs, deposited in a frothy  secretion that hardens to protect the eggs from predators and severe winter  climates. Egg cases are attached to twigs, leaves, fences, etc. This new generation will hatch when warm weather returns.  

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