Why Were Praying Mantises Invading Last Month?
Have you been invaded by praying mantises? What's going on?
If you've recently spent time outdoors recently, you've probably seen at least one praying mantis creeping near you. People have been posting to social media about these "huge" insects that seem to be gathering in large numbers.
Praying Mantis Myths
There is a misconception that praying mantises are endangered. In fact, some people believe that you can receive hefty fines or even jail time if you kill one. This is false. the praying mantis is not endangered in North America and there are no rules protecting them.
However, you may want to think twice before getting rid of them. Although their benefits in the garden are usually overstated, they can serve as a predator for unwanted insects. However, they're not quite as effective as many people believe since they don't distinguish between killing a bumble bee or butterfly as opposed to stink bugs or spotted lanternflies.
Why Were There So Many Praying Mantises Around?
If you think you're seeing way more praying mantises than usual you're half right. While there are more insects crawling around yards and decks this month, it's probably the same number that was there last year.
Praying mantises tend to be seen quite a bit in October due to the fact that they are reaching the end of their life cycle. The insects only live for one year, starting out as small nymphs in the spring. The praying mantis doesn't mature until the beginning of fall when they appear as a fully grown adult. That's when the insect is most active as they mate and leave their eggs on branches and twigs to survive the long winter and start the cycle all over again.
The Praying Mantises Won't be Here for Long
If you do happen to see a praying mantis at your home show a little pity. Their days are numbered and most likely won't survive the first frost. But don't feel too bad. Even if they find shelter from the weather, the praying mantis will die of old age in a month or so anyway, as they aren't equipped to live for more than a year even under the perfect weather conditions.
LOOK: 20 of the biggest insects in the world
Gallery Credit: Andrea Vale