Praying Mantis

This topic contains 20 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  ChristinaH 1 year, 8 months ago.

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  • #12875


    I see quite a few reports coming in of praying mantis destroying Monarch larvae, and wonder if anyone has any ploys to reduce their population.

    I have found in my greenhouse, that if I water the plants with the hose spray attachment first, and gradually move the water upwards (so I’m spraying the leaves) the mantises run up the walls on the inside so I can catch them – I’ve got one of those electrified tennis racket type things.

    Anyone got any other ideas? Is there a natural predator for mantises? Does anyone know anything about their life cycle – what shoudl we look out for? I’ve seen males (with wings) and females (laden with eggs). I’ve seen green ones and beige ones too.

    All ideas welcome, please contribute them here.

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  • #51454


    Can anyone tell me how many eggs an African Praying Mantis lays in a case?


    C. Syde65

    A few days ago, I killed no less than 11 Springbok Mantises in a single day. There’s been quite a lot of Springbok Mantises on my property, and the ones that I haven’t killed, I believe are residing just underneath my house.

    The local population of Springbok Mantises on my property has increased over the last couple of years, which is at least partially due to the fact that I didn’t bother to kill them until recently, because until then I didn’t know anything about the different species of Mantises in New Zealand.

    I’ve been killing Springbok Mantises upon discovery. Unfortunately a couple got away. Man it’s tough trying to catch them when they are amongst the bushes. The first Springbok Mantis (a male one) only got away because I decided not to kill it – at the time I hadn’t properly learned to tell the difference, and didn’t kill it because it had black spots on his arms.

    I didn’t kill it in-case the spots were a misprint of the blue ones that the native Mantises have. But now I don’t even need to check for spots to know which are our Mantises and which are the Springbok ones. My mother claimed to have seen a native Mantis on the property, and I hope that if I kill off a lot of the local Springbok Mantises, then some of our native Mantises may return.



    Removing the egg casings is vital. All of those in our garden are the imported South African Mantis. I have a friend who has a lovely cluster of natives in her garden, if I ever find one here it will be relocated to her colony as she does not have swan plants.!The egg cases can be in the weirdest of places, generally under the eaves of the house, but I have almost every year found them on the wooden handles of stored tools.

    Utterly disheartening watching them predate newly emerged butterflies before they are flight capable. You will often know you have them on your plants as you will find black goop dripped all over the leaves, to locate the mantis responsible, look on the under side of the leaves above.If they are getting your butterflies as they hatch, all that will remain is a pair of wings 🙁

    When watering my garden I always try to mist spray under the plants pointing upward, they hide under the leaves but as Jacqui wrote, they come to the top when they get sprayed.

    This property has been a plague of them since we moved here and it has taken 4 years to even begin to get them under control.Also remember that though they are territorial, once you remove them from a good food source, others will chose to move to the restaurant so you need to be vigilant.



    Remove any unwanted mantises to another part of the garden… there will be plenty of other things for them to eat.


    Bron and Camryn

    Some cool posts here!

    I love preying mantises. When I was 5 I had a pet one called Bert. He lived in a bug house and I used to take him everywhere with me. Every morning I would catch him bugs for breakfast and let him out for a roam. I had him for quite a long time and to this day everyone in my family calls mantises “Bert”, as in “ohh look! A Bert!”

    So, I have a soft spot for them. And I’m also Buddhist so squishing insects isn’t really on my to do list if I can help it. So I get around them by raising my cats separately in their own containers inside. Keeps predators off and they can eat in peace and chill out (which they do!) I feel a bit mean when I release the butterflies and it’s the first time they get to be in the “real” world of nasty weather and predators though!

    One way to reduce mantises might be to remove the clusters of eggs before they hatch since there are so many in each casing or move the mantises to an area with no cats but other food.

    If I catch a mantis eating any of my butterflies I might change my stance on this lol!


    C. Syde65

    New Zealand Mantis ― Always Green, blue spots on their forearms, thick necks which are almost as thick as their heads.

    Springbok Mantis ― Usually Green, but sometimes brown, thin necks which are noticeably thinner than their heads, yellow under their wings, optional black spots on their legs.



    For those dealing with a plague of mantis 🙁 This is what the egg casings look like. I have been scouting the section as much as possible under4 edges, fences and even the handles of garden tools ! These suckers pretty much wiped out my winter over stocks this year.

    mantis egg sack



    Here’s another good description and a wonderful photo of our native mantis in a Forest and Bird article –



    Throw these African mantises onto Chinese paper wasp nests…they will eat wasps or be killed by wasps.

    Or feed your chickens / birds / red-billed gulls on mantises



    No Gilly – it’s the other way around – the native NZ mantis is bright green and the South African one is often beige or brown – or green.
    The NZ mantis has bright blue spots on the insides of its forearms and a narrow “waist”.

    I think we should all be aware of which is which – and not kill our native NZ species!!
    Also learn to identify the difference in egg cases (they look VERY different!) and destroy the South African ones when we find them.

    Check out this site:



    Anyone who has a plan for trapping these predators please let me know. I have now lost all of my larvae to them over the past couple of weeks and have even found them chomping on slower monarchs laying the last of their winter season eggs 🙁 PS: the south African imports apparently do not have the colors on their forelegs.



    these were flying around at night ( does anyone know if they are nocturnal) – and have never seen anything like that before in Cromwell – I had seen p. mantis in the north island when I lived there but they were out and about during the day.  I guess with having heaps of caterpillars they come out of the wood work.

    They were green – 1 had a reddish tinge to it’s head and all had yellow front legs –  I read somewhere the SA ones have a really skinny bit on their body between the first two pairs of legs – these did not so are they native ones?  I hope they are not as I want to be rid of them to protect my caterpillars.






    I saw a praying mantis eating a live bumblebee the other day, was quite gruesome. Ive been wondering how to tell the SA ones from the NZ ones, great to know about the blue/yellow on the front legs… We have SO many here.



    Was just about to  go to bed – lovely hot night down here in Cromwell and three bugs came flying in the window.  I caught one and I believe it could be a praying mantis (have never seen one before).  Was quite grossed out by it (I’m a bit of a sook when it comes to creepy bugs).  It had yellow legs inside on the front and a definate alienesque head and it was very loud when it flew around.  I caught them and threw them back outside where they belong.

    Are praying mantis nocturnal?

    I have 36 baby cats that I move inside at night as my plants are potted.  Are they after my babies?




    A Sth African insect at home on a Sth African plant – just not at home…….



    They also dine on the passionfruit vine hoppers that invade my buddleias over the summer.. so they do some good, they do some bad…. a bit like humans 🙂



    Ps – u always know if it’s a mantis eating yr pillars – there’s blood & guts all over the leaves………

    At least the wasps are well mannered & efficient – eat daintily/cleanly…..



    They do eat the occasional wasp – as I reported recently (karma) – (so give them credit) – and I’ve seen an egg case hatching near a spider web with a very well fed spider feasting on the babies as they emerged – so they have their own struggle to survive………

    Certainly a mantis doesn’t have to leave a swan plant once settled in – a continual easy smorgasbord of caterpillars (or chrysalis for dessert) to dine on……..

    They’ll eat anything that moves – even bees – voracious………!



    Bringing up the mantis again – Most of them around now are the voracious Sth African invaders. Immature ones can be pale brown, mature – green. These all need the squishing treatment. The native mantis are identified by the yellow and blue on their front legs. If they don’t have the blue, they’re not native. They need removing to another area of the garden, rather than squishing.



    I think the larger green ones are South African mantis Jacqui. The beige ones, I think, are our native mantis.

    Birds eat praying mantis – blackbirds, thrushes and kingfisher….and my pet pheasant adores them 🙂
    The female mantis lays that egg case and literally hundreds of tiny tiny mantis emerge. I have seen praying mantis eating monarch butterflies too 🙁

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