Harmony in the Garden Blog

Praying mantis nests for the tough-to-please teenager

 

Engaging older kids in the garden is definitely not as easy as it was when they were young.  

It takes a little more craftiness than having their own ‘big kid shovel’ to lure some of these kids back into the garden, so I’m always willing to try  something new.

One foolproof method is if you can find anything that’s the slightest bit icky – such as my mushroom experiment.

But one of my biggest success stories to date has been praying mantis nests.

You can usually find containers of praying mantis nests at your local nursery during early spring and summer for about $7.00 for a package of two.  

We’ve purchased them in the past, always hoping they hatch and provide us with at least one praying mantis that we can watch throughout the summer.

Being somewhat territorial insects, they tend to hang out in one location in the garden, and it’s always fun to have an ‘easter egg hunt’ of sorts to trying to find where he (or she) is hiding.

We keep these little nests in a warm location in the house (in a plastic terrarium – not loose!) so we can watch their progress.

I was fortunate enough to walk by at the exact moment the nest began to explode with babies  emerging from their cocoon.  

I quickly placed them out in the garden as they’ve got voracious appetites when they first emerge.

If you can find an aphid-covered rosebush, or some other such buffet, they will start feasting immediately!

 Be careful, though, because as soon as the little birds in your garden get wind that you’re setting out their next meal, they’ll swoop down and start their own feast (which is a little traumatic, even for those hardened teenagers) .

 

Yesterday I found one of the little babies, who is now a few weeks old. 

It’s only about 1″ long, but if it survives the birds, it’ll grow to be as long as 6 – 7″.

And don’t forget, they’re not only a great way to engage your kids in the garden, but they’re wonderful as pest management!

 

Enjoyed this article?  Please share it with others: 

Please leave a comment below

5 Comments

  • Wow! If you have too many, do drop them off at the vine on my trellis. Lots of aphids…What a fun post!

  • When I was a kid in Ohio we would catch praying mantises and feed them grasshoppers- then we could enjoy the spectacle of hunting, capture, and feasting up close.

    Now I just enjoy their grace and power without the hapless hopper part.
    Positive Massage Therapy

  • This IS super cool, but I’m laughing at the irony of praying mantises AND chickens to eat them, both for the hard-to-please teen. 😉

  • Very cool! I hadn’t realized you could buy a nest like this. Seems a bit risky though, if you’re not home when they hatch, to you arrive to some sort of last bug standing scenario?

  • Great post! After not finding my yearly mantis until the end of SEPTEMBER last year, I was really glad to see she left at least two of these eggs cases behind (I looked them up, they’re called ‘ootheca!’ This year I have at least a dozen, and that’s just the ones I’ve seen! The day I see one eating a baby snail or a slug will be a happy one indeed (do they?) Any flowery bush that gets visited a lot is a great home, and I like how you mentioned that they hang around the same spot. And they do get big; last year mine caught a little tree frog when she was in her prime. Eww. Too bad my kids are no longer teens!

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to my blog

Upcoming Speaking Events

February 12,
2020
February 25,
2020
February 27,
2020
February 28,
2020
February 28,
2020
March 20,
2020
May 28
2020

Don’t Snub the Shrub!

Merced Garden Club

Merced, CA

Topic:  TBD

Woodinville Garden Club

Woodinville, WA

When to Break the Rules
(and how to get away with it!)

Northwest Flower & Garden Festival

Seattle, WA

Container Wars!

Northwest Flower & Garden Festival

Seattle, WA

The 7 Sins of Garden Design

Northwest Flower & Garden Festival

Seattle, WA

Don’t Snub the Shrub!

Montelindo Garden Club

Lafayette, CA

Topic: TBD

Piedmont Hoe & Hope
Garden Club

Harmony in the Garden is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to
provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com and other affiliate marketing companies.

Scroll to Top