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How to Hatch the Praying Mantis Eggs

By Edith Hignutt
When food is scarce, praying mantids will eat each other.

Watching a hundred tiny praying mantis hatchlings scurry around tentatively offers an interesting view into the life of a predatory insect. It is simple and easy to hatch a batch of these garden favorites. Peruse the branches in your garden and grab a set of clippers. Once you have found your egg sack or two, be patient and start hatching.

Add an inch of sand or other substrate to the bottom of the terrarium. Small-sized aquarium stones will also work as a substrate. Brightly colored sand or stones will provide a clear backdrop for the hatchlings to stand out against. Mantids will blend in with the typical sand color.

Insert sticks with praying mantis eggs into the sand. If cutting mantis eggs from your yard, leave enough stick below the egg sac to insert into the sand and pay attention to the direction. By sticking the egg sacs so they are upright, you have a better view of the hatching as it occurs.

Bring terrarium indoors. It takes six weeks of warm weather, at 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit with 40 percent or greater humidity, before the hatching will begin. If your house is kept cooler, a small hot rock for a reptile will help boost the interior temperature.

Add small insects such as fruit flies minus their wings or baby crickets. Keep the hatchlings well supplied with food while their siblings are continuing to hatch. If not provided with enough food, they will cannibalize.

 

Things You Will Need

  • 10 gallon terrarium with lid
  • Praying mantis eggs
  • Sand or other substrate
  • Small insects (once hatching commences)

Tips

  • The newly hatched mantids do not have wings. Provide insects that cannot get away or remove the wings from those that can to make it easier for the mantids to feed.
  • The egg sac has the equivalent of one-way doors. Once the mantis starts to hatch, it can only go forward. By placing the egg sacs upright, you ensure that the "hatch doors" are not blocked.
  • Mantids molt as they grow.
  • The process of hatching and raising praying mantids provides an excellent experience for children.

Warnings

  • Each egg sac can contain over 200 hundred praying mantids.
  • If harvesting egg sacs from your yard, do not try to store them for the winter indoors. Also, do not harvest all the egg sacs if you wish to keep a healthy population in your yard.

About the Author

 

Edith Hignutt has written professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "Her Sports & Fitness," "Maritime Life & Traditions" and "BMXer." Hignutt holds a USA Cycling Coaching License and works with athletes in addition to owning a small plant nursery. She specializes in health and wellness, recreation and home and garden topics. Hignutt attended Rutgers University.