Chris DeWildt

November 22, 2018 3 min read
November 22, 2018
3 min read

Growers Network’s Beneficials Profile: Mantids

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In this series of articles, Growers Network discusses a few of the beneficial organisms that can help out your Cannabis grow. Today’s topic: Mantids.

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Welcome back! Today we’re here to talk about another beneficial organism you may want to include in your pest control regimen, the mantis. Read on to learn more about you can use this predator can protect your plants.

Quick Look

Scientific Name: Tenodera sinensis
Common Name: Chinese Mantis/Praying Mantis
How They Help: Mantids are generalist predators that will eat nearly any pest that moves.

Due to their appetite for pests, mantids are great for pest control. Some people even keep them as pets!

The stealthy mantis is a natural ambush predator you can include in your grow. As previously mentioned, they are a generalist predator meaning anything it can snatch and eat, it will. In fact, some larger species have been known to hunt and eat small vertebrates such as small reptiles, mice, hummingbirds, and even fish. We doubt you’ll encounter many Cannabis-hungry fish in your grow, but hey, now you know! The deadly mantis will go after a variety of pest species (listed below) with their barbed forelegs, waiting patiently until the unsuspecting pest gets too close, and that’s when they snatch it up with a lightning fast grab. Though there are several native species of mantis in the US, the species most commonly available for pest control is the Chinese Mantis, a species imported seventy-five years ago specifically for killing garden pests.

Pests Controlled with Mantids

  1. Plant Lice
  2. Aphids
  3. Whiteflies
  4. Beetles
  5. Grasshoppers
  6. Crickets
  7. Spider mites
  8. Caterpillars

Mantid eggs are available commercially, but it’s worth knowing that though each egg case contains up to 150 eggs, only a small fraction of those grow up as the majority will be eaten by their own predators (or each other!) That said, it’s a good idea to purchase several of these egg cases to assure a few will make it to adulthood.

mantis hatch
Mantids emerging from the ootheca. Only about 7% of these little critters will survive to adulthood.

Like any pest control option, mantids are not perfect. They are mobile, and if food is scarce they may fly off, so this predator may be better for your indoor grow. However, chances are that a few of them will set up shop and reproduce, resulting in another brood ready to eat the things that want to hurt your Cannabis.

So what do you think? Have you used mantids before? Are you going to give them a try? We’d love to hear all about your experience, so either leave your comment in the survey below, or better yet, join our forum and start a discussion. Happy growing!

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About the Author

Chris DeWildt is a graduate of Grand Valley State University and Western Kentucky University. He worked in education and publishing for ten years before joining the team at Growers Network.