Praying mantis' are a staple beneficial insect when gardeners want to combat "bad" bugs. They overwinter and create nests on large tall stalks from previous year plant debris. While clearing the land for my raised bed garden area, I noticed these nests/egg sacs throughout the field. I safely relocated four of these nests around my greenhouse (so they were not killed or injured during the land clearing).
Each nest produces about 100-200 babies. However, these babies will eat each other at first in order to survive, some will migrate, and there will be a few praying mantis' that will claim their territory within my garden. These insects emerge in spring as the weather continues to warm while they reach maturity in about 6 months after hatching. Praying mantis' molt 7-9 times throughout their lives and reach maturity when their wings emerge and they are about 4 inches in length.
The diet of a praying mantis consists of crickets, grasshoppers, spiders, (monarch) butterflies, beetles, aphids, any other small insects and larger praying mantis' can even eat frogs, leaf hoppers, caterpillars, mosquitoes, small birds, and lizards. Encouraging these beneficial insects is one step towards a more naturalistic way to farm while eliminating the need for chemical treatments to control insects.