Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Praying Mantis for Natural Pest Control In Fruit Trees

Knowing an insect's feeding habits, breeding habits and life cycle will significantly increase your ability to keep that insect from infesting your fruit trees. On the flip side, knowing a beneficial insect's feeding habits, breeding habits, and life cycle will significantly increase your ability to keep that insect safe from harm and encourage them to help you in your organic pest control efforts for your fruit trees.

Praying Mantis are one of the most popular predatory insects in home gardens and exist in most every part of the the world in one form or another. Praying Mantis have huge appetites for insects that can cause severe harm to your fruit trees. Their primary food source includes insects from the order of lepidoptera (caterpillars), coleoptera (beetles), and diptera (flies). These insects and their larva are the source of stress and anxiety for every fruit tree growing gardener around the world. You have probably ask yourself more than once, "What is the purpose of fruit tree pests!?" Well the answer is... beneficial insect food. Remember, even the bad insects are an important part of the earth's ecosystem and pest eradication on fruit trees and in other parts of your garden will have negative repercussions.

Praying Mantis are One of the Most Popular Beneficial Insects

When treating for fruit tree pests, make sure you are using methods and products that will not harm beneficial insects like the Praying Mantis. Once introduced, many insecticides will increase your efforts to control fruit tree pests by eliminating the predatory insects that feed on these pests. The best way to successfully improve your fruit tree's health is by working with nature and not against it.

Let's discuss just a few details that will help you understand how to enlist Praying Mantis and other beneficial insects in your efforts to control fruit tree loving pests.

Praying Mantis Feeding Habits

Praying Mantis are not shy. These bold, voracious hunters know that they are the predator and not the prey. Just try catching the next one that visit's your garden and you will quickly realize that they refuse to be intimidated by your size. Praying Mantis will turn to face you and attempt to defend themselves rather than flee from your presence.

Praying Mantis are visual hunters and primarily hunt during the day. They use camouflage to hide so that they can ambush their prey. They will find a comfortable location in your garden where pests are present and wait for unsuspecting insects to come close enough to be snatch up by the Mantis's raptorial legs.

Praying Mantis Breeding Habits

Male Praying Mantis are smaller then their female counterpart. Praying Mantis can breed anytime of the year in warm climates, but in cooler, temperate climates they reach full maturity and reproduce in the fall. Female Praying Mantis will often cannibalize their mate after conception.

Praying Mantis Life Cycle

Praying Mantis typically lay their eggs in a protective sheath called an ootheca. These egg sacks will remain dormant until the young emerge in the spring. Most gardeners have seen a Praying Mantis eggs sack not knowing exactly what it is. The following image shows two Praying Mantis ootheca found on a decorative piece of farm equipment protected by a Holly hedged.

Praying Mantis Ootheca in The Garden
Praying mantis will often place their ootheca in a protected location where food is readily available, so remember, the purpose of your fruit tree pests that lead to your stress and anxiety is to feed beneficial insects like praying mantis.