This Praying Mantis/Mantid Attacked Me!
Early this Spring, a friend gave me a couple praying mantis egg sacks to hatch for use inside of my greenhouse. The idea was for them to kill and eat the “bad” bugs which always show up in February/March. The egg sacks hatched as I found a few babies hanging around on my Hibiscus bushes.
Over the Summer, they seemed to have disappeared; I only saw one pretty big mantis, about 2-3″. No sign of another. When baby praying mantis are born, they are hungry and immediately begin to hunt down food. If they can’t find any or enough bugs to eat, they will begin eating each other! Based on his size and because I’ve not seen any other mantis in the house, I’m guessing this guy ate everybody else.
I noticed him watching me, turning his head, keeping his eyes fixed on me as I walked by. That didn’t bother me too much, though, as long as he kept his distance, which he did. I began looking at him like a “little greenhouse buddy” and looking forward to seeing him.
I’ve seen this guy a few times around the greenhouse lately. Two days ago I found a carcass in the shape of a praying mantis. I thought maybe I lost my little greenhouse buddy and he died from the heat.
But then I remembered reading that mantis molt, much as snakes do as they grow.
Mantis will shed their skin seven times before becoming a sexually mature adult.
Today I saw him for the first time since finding the carcass. He looks like he is twice the size he was just a few days ago!
Happy to see him, I moved along, doing my chores in the greenhouse.
At one point I reached up to get a small spider plant to place it with the other spider plants of the same size. The mantis must have been on or near the plant.
Suddenly I felt something hit me in the shoulder, when I looked over an immediately brushed it off- and then I felt it… that sucker stabbed me on the thumb with his foreleg! I didn’t hurt badly, scared me more than anything else- but he did break skin.
I turned and took a step towards him. He sat there staring at me, swaying back and forth as if getting ready to charge me. Within that few seconds, I remembered watching a YouTube video of a praying mantis attacking and eating a mouse- something twice it’s own size ( check it out here: https://youtu.be/4enilF4pEko ). They are fearless and aggressive when provoked- even if by accident. I made a decision right there that this guy had to go. I know I’d be creeped out, always watching out for him, waiting for him to jump on me again.
I got the pond net and gently put it in front of him. He gladly got on it, then started walking around the edge, toward me. I stepped it up, moving quickly toward the front door of the greenhouse where I encouraged him off the net and onto an outside plant.
As for me, I won’t be using mantis in the future to control bad bugs- I think I’ll go back to releasing lady bugs.