Occasional Invaders

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Praying Mantis



Tan to pale green. Forewings are tan with green along front margin. Compound eyes are chocolate-brown at sunset, pale tan soon after sunrise and during the day.


Let us give thanks. They usually lie in wait for prey with their front legs upraised -- as if praying. They attach egg cases to weeds or twigs where the eggs overwinter.

Where Found

Widely found throughout the U.S.


Meadows and gardens, on tall herbs, flower clusters and shrubs.


The praying mantis is carnivorous, and eats other insects, but isn't very particular, eating both nuisance pests and beneficials. They are also capable of eating small animals like frogs, lizards and even hummingbirds.


During fall, praying mantis females deposit a sticky egg case on the underside of a leaf or on a twig. If the egg case survives winter, the offspring, called nymphs, emerge in late spring or early summer. The nymphs have voracious appetites and will never be accused of waiting patiently for a meal since they typically cannibalize each other if they don't have an adequate supply of aphids and other small insects. Egg cases are commercially available for placement in landscaping.


The praying mantis is a beneficial insect, and should cause you no concern -- unless you are an insect too, in which case, praying is good.