Currently viewing the category: "Preying Mantis"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Drama on my Sweet Sarah clone
Geographic location of the bug:  Mt. Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 08/04/2018
Time: 11:08 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
I hope you don’t mind that I keep sending pictures of the same two predators that have taken up residence on my Sweet Sarah clone.  The California Mantis was missing for a few days and then it reappeared looking quite a bit bigger.  I noticed this drama today.  What was really interesting was that as soon as she got close to the Green Lynx Spider, he leaped out of reach.  I haven’t found a single grasshopper on this plant, while I have to pick them off the rest of my crop.
How you want your letter signed:  Constant Gardener

California Mantis stalks Green Lynx Spider on a Woody Plant

Dear Constant Gardener,
Keep your images coming.  We applaud your organic gardening methods and natural pest control.  When an insect molts, it becomes much more vulnerable to attack, at least until its new exoskeleton hardens.  Since your California Mantis has grown, it must have molted, so it probably was in hiding until its new exoskeleton hardened sufficiently, explaining why it was missing for a few days. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What are these Flies eating with the California Mantis?
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date: 07/23/2018
Time: 07:04 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Dear Bugman,
The California Mantis living on my Sweet Sarah clone is growing, but today was the first time I saw it with a meal, but these flies were swarming around and the Mantis was shaking its head and moving, but the flies kept pestering.  I watched this for about a half an hour at which time the flies finally tired and flew off.  What are they?  I couldn’t see what the Mantis was eating, but it was green.  There are lots of tiny Grasshoppers on my plants.
How do you want your letter signed:  Constant Gardener

Freeloader Flies Kleptoparasitize Feeding Mantis

Dear Constant Gardener,
Your image is amazing.  We quickly located this image on Colin Purrington Nature Photography that looks remarkably like your image, but the Flies are not identified, but they are compared to “vultures.”  Then we found another image of a Mantis with prey and small flies on BugGuide where they are identified as Freeloader Flies in the genus
Desmometopa and BugGuide states:  “Females are kleptoparasitic and are especially attracted to predatory insects or spiders feeding on honeybees.”

Freeloader Flies with California Mantis on Woody Plant

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  The Mantis on my Woody Plant is growing
Geographic location of bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date:  7/20/2018
Time:  3:19 PM
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
I am very happy to report that the California Mantis nymph that had been living on my Sweet Sarah clone, but vanished about a week ago, has returned, and now I haven’t seen the Green Lynx Spider.  Seems predators have some sort of hierarchy and now that the molted Mantis has grown, the Green Lynx Spider feels threatened and left.  It is interesting that this Sweet Sarah clone is the only woody plant in the garden has predators.  I wonder why that is.  It is also interesting that the little Grasshoppers that were common about a week ago have vanished, perhaps eaten.
How you want your letter signed:  Constant Gardener

Immature California Mantis

Dear Constant Gardener,
Your supposition of the hierarchy of predation sounds very plausible to us.  Plants give off attractants including odors to attract insects, especially female phytophagous insects that must lay eggs on the proper food plant, but it is also plausible that the smell given off by this particular plant attracts predators that are interested in insects feeding on the plants, which might help explain the disappearance of those immature Grasshoppers. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Mantis on my Woody Plant
Geographic location of bug:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
Date:  6/21/2018
Time:  10:01 AM
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
It is another year and another growing season.  I am growing more woody plants this year than I grew last year and I observed my first young Mantis today.  Hopefully it will eat grasshoppers and other insects that might negatively affect my crop this year.
How you want your letter signed:  Constant Gardener

Immature California Mantis

Dear Constant Gardener,
Thanks for the update on your gardening exploits.  We looked at some of your postings from last year and we see you did have California Mantids in your garden.  It seems they reproduced and have progeny to take up the job of patrolling your Woody Plants.  Please keep submitting images.  Many of our readers may benefit from what you are learning.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Tre killing Weirdo Thing?
Geographic location of the bug:  Los Angeles, CA
Date: 12/23/2017
Time: 09:49 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello sir,
This weirdo cocoon(?) is on our Silver Sheen Pittosporum tree. We’ve been puzzled about it for a few months now. I woke up this morning thinking about it, I’m concerned that it might be harmful to the tree, as four of these trees have mysteriously died in the past year.  Is this the culprit?
Thank you for your time!
How you want your letter signed:  No, thank you.

Mantis Ootheca

This is the ootheca or egg case of a Preying Mantis and it is not responsible for the death of your trees.  Mantids are predators that are often used by organic gardeners to control insect pests without the use of pesticides.

Thank you, Daniel. We didn’t hear from you guys, so we brought it inside. We put it in a terrarium and about three weeks ago, 20 aliens popped out. They were adorable.
My question now, are these predators a threat to the Monarch and Gulf Fritillary caterpillars that we raise?
Thank you,
Mike

Hi Mike,
Your original request arrived when our editorial staff was on holiday and we never seem to catch up on requests when we are away from the office.  We do not believe native California Mantids are a threat to either your Monarch or Gulf Fritillary Caterpillars, but Mantids will eat pollinating insects including Bees.
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Bug or fossil?
Geographic location of the bug:  Saw Washington state
Date: 02/19/2018
Time: 02:08 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I have no idea what this is. It was found in Southwest Washington state and is the second one we found. The first one was a couple months ago this one was just found a couple days ago (that would be early February). At first I thought it was a fossil but now I’m not so sure. If you can’t tell me what it is do you know who I might ask that’s local to Southwest Washington?
How you want your letter signed:  M.c.hlousek

Mantis Ootheca

Dear M.c.hlousek,
This is the ootheca or egg case of a Preying Mantis, but we cannot say for certain if it is a native species or a species introduced for agricultural purposes.  When conditions are correct, you should expect young mantids to hatch and begin hunting.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination