Mantids

The praying mantid is often thought of as a gardener's friend. Praying mantids feed on insects in the garden, hunting with amazing stealth and precision.

Praying mantids have forearms that fold into a prayer-like position, which is where they get their name. Both forearms have spiny edges and sharp hooks. These arms are used to snatch bugs in flight for a meal. Preying mantids are bright green to brown in color, and they can grow to be between 2 and 4 inches in length.

Praying mantids will eat almost any bug. They have strong jaws and can tackle large and small insects. They hunt mostly at night, so they can be beneficial for mosquito and moth removal. When praying mantids are hungry, they have been known to be cannibalistic.

These patient hunters will sway back and forth in the breeze on a plant to fool their prey. They also have the ability to turn their heads almost 360 degrees in search of food, which helps to make them the deadliest insects in the garden.