Commonly camouflaged on plants and shrubbery thanks to their stick-like bodies and almost uncanny ability to keep still, praying mantises can be easy to overlook. These remarkable insects are formidable hunters, preying on a variety of common garden pests such as aphids, flies, and caterpillars.
Though these insects are normally welcome additions to a garden or backyard for their ability to prey on other, more harmful pests, they can transform from a blessing to a curse if they infiltrate your home. At A-1 Pest Control, we appreciate the contribution of praying mantises in keeping unwanted pests in check—but our main focus is maintaining a thriving and sustainable pest management system for all of our clients that keeps bugs out and the environment safe.
Bug Identifier: Praying Mantis
The most commonly spotted species of praying mantis in North Carolina is the Carolina mantid.
The Carolina Mantid
The Carolina mantid, or Stagmomantis carolina, is the most commonly found species of praying mantis found in the southeastern United States, including North Carolina. These mantids range in color from shades of green to brown, which helps them blend seamlessly into their lush, forested habitats.
With slender bodies and distinct, elongated thoraxes, Carolina mantids sport distinctive, spiky forelimbs, making them dangerous predators to other insects. Because they are cannibalistic, they are sometimes introduced as a natural insecticide in gardens where they can control insect populations, but won’t feed on plants and vegetation.
Their nesting habits involve depositing egg cases, or oothecae, on a variety of surfaces, such as tree branches or plant stems, which serve as protective incubators for their offspring. Their lifespan typically spans several months, depending on factors like temperature and food availability.
FAQ About Praying Mantis
Where Praying Mantises Live
Praying mantises are most commonly found in natural environments with abundant vegetation, as they rely on camouflage and stealth to hunt their prey. They thrive in gardens, meadows, forests, and grassy fields, where they can easily blend into foliage and capture insects like crickets, flies, and caterpillars.
Mantises may occasionally find their way indoors—especially during warm seasons. They are often discovered in and around potted plants, especially if these plants were initially kept outside. Mantises can also venture inside when hunting for prey like moths or other insects that are attracted to indoor lights.
Are Praying Mantises Dangerous?
Praying mantises are not considered dangerous to humans. They are generally harmless and are not venomous, so their bite, if it were to happen, would feel at worst like a small pinch.
However, it’s worth noting that praying mantises are carnivorous and can be quite aggressive when hunting, so if you handle them, they might use their spiky forelimbs to defend themselves, which could result in a minor scratch or pinch.
Learn about why the praying mantis is good to find in and around your home.
What to Do If You Find a Praying Mantis in Your Home
Though they look a little intimidating, there’s no cause for panic if you find a praying mantis in your home, there’s no need to be alarmed. You can use a glass or a container and a piece of cardboard to carefully capture the mantis. Approach it slowly, so as not to startle or harm the insect.
Once it’s contained, gently slide a piece of cardboard under the glass or container to lift it. Take the mantis outside and release it in your back or front yard. While praying mantises are not dangerous, it’s best not to handle them directly as they may feel threatened and use their spiky forelimbs in self-defense. In some cases, it may be best to call a pest control company to help handle the issue for prompt and safe removal.
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About A-1 Pest Control
For pest control solutions in North Carolina, A-1 Pest Services is your reliable choice, offering a comprehensive range of services from insect prevention to extermination. As a family-owned and operated business, we have been dedicated to serving our local community for over five decades. Our enduring commitment to excellence and ongoing education has distinguished us for generations, and we take pride in creating healthier, more contented homes for our neighbors. Contact us today to explore our pest control options and arrange your complimentary inspection!