Do Praying Mantises Eat Earwigs? The Battle of the Bugs

Praying mantises and earwigs are both insects that can be found in gardens. Do praying mantises eat earwigs? This is a common question that gardeners ask as they try to determine how best to control pest populations in their gardens. 

What Are Praying Mantises?

Do Praying Mantises Eat Earwigs

Praying mantises, also known as mantids, are carnivorous insects that belong to the order Mantodea. 

These insects are known for their elongated bodies and long front legs that they use to catch their prey. 

There are over 2,400 species of praying mantises that have been identified so far, and they can be found all over the world.

Species of Praying Mantises

There are many different species of praying mantises, and each one has its own unique characteristics. 

For example, some species of praying mantises are known to be better at controlling certain types of pests than others. 

The European mantis, for instance, is known for its ability to control large populations of grasshoppers and other insects that can be harmful to plants.

Benefits of Praying Mantises in Your Garden

Praying mantises are beneficial insects to have in your garden as they can act as natural pest control. 

By eating harmful insects like beetles, caterpillars, and aphids, they help keep your garden healthy and free from pest damage. 

They can also help control populations of harmful insects like fruit flies and moths that can cause damage to your garden.

Using Praying Mantises as Pest Control

If you’re looking to use praying mantises as a form of pest control, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. 

  • They should never be used as the sole form of pest control, as they are not able to control all garden pests. 
  • You need to release them at the right time for them to be effective. 
  • You should also be aware that praying mantises also eat beneficial insects, so you need to be careful when releasing them into your garden.

What Are Earwigs?

Earwigs are another type of insect that can be found in gardens. They belong to the order Dermaptera and are known for their distinctive pinchers that they use for defense. Earwigs are typically brown or black in color and are usually around an inch long.

Earwig Identification

Earwigs are easy to identify because of their pinchers. They also have a distinctive shape with a flattened body and elongated antennae. 

When disturbed, earwigs will often use their pinchers to defend themselves, which can be intimidating to gardeners.

Earwig Behavior

Earwigs are primarily active at night and hide during the day. They are attracted to moist environments and can often be found under rocks or in tree bark. 

Earwigs are also known to be scavengers and will sometimes feed on dead insects or other organic matter.

Earwigs as Garden Pest

While earwigs are not necessarily harmful to plants, they can sometimes damage fruit or other crops. 

Their presence can be quite alarming to gardeners, as their pinchers can be intimidating. 

Despite their reputation, earwigs are actually fairly harmless and are not known to carry diseases or cause significant damage to gardens.

Do Praying Mantises Eat Earwigs?

Now that we’ve established what praying mantises and earwigs are, let’s answer the question that brought you here: do praying mantises eat earwigs? The answer is yes, praying mantises are known to eat earwigs.

Praying Mantises’ Diet

Praying mantises are carnivorous and primarily eat other insects. Their diet can include a variety of insects, including cockroaches, grasshoppers, and crickets. 

They can also consume other small animals like spiders and even small birds. This makes them effective predators in the garden.

Praying Mantises and Other Insects They Prey On

In addition to earwigs, praying mantises are known to eat a variety of other insects. Some of the insects that they prey on include beetles, caterpillars, aphids, grasshoppers, moths, and fruit flies. 

This makes them effective pest control agents in the garden and can help reduce the damage caused by these insects to plants.

What Other Insects Do Earwigs Eat?

Earwigs themselves are also omnivorous and will eat a variety of insects and other small animals. 

Some of the insects that they prey on include aphids and caterpillars, making them beneficial insects in the garden as well.

How Do Praying Mantises Eat Their Prey?

Praying mantises have a distinctive feature that they use to catch and eat their prey: their pincher.

Praying Mantises’ Pincher

Praying mantises have two front legs that are equipped with spike-like structures that they can use to catch and immobilize their prey. 

Once the prey is caught, the praying mantis will then use its mouthparts to eat the insect.

Praying Mantises’ Feeding Behavior

Praying mantises are known for their voracious appetites and will eat almost anything that they can catch. 

They will often eat their prey while it is still alive, which can be a disturbing sight for some gardeners. However, their feeding behavior is essential for controlling pest populations in the garden.

Baby Praying Mantises’ Eating Habits

Baby praying mantises, also known as nymphs, have slightly different eating habits than adult praying mantises. 

Nymphs will often eat smaller insects than their adult counterparts, and they may also consume other nymphs or eggs from other praying mantises if they are hungry enough.

Using Praying Mantises for Pest Control

We’ve already mentioned that praying mantises can be used for pest control in the garden, but how effective are they really?

How Effective Is Using Praying Mantises?

Praying mantises can be effective at controlling some garden pests, but they should not be relied upon as the sole form of pest control. 

They are not able to control all types of garden pests, and they can also eat beneficial insects if they are not released at the right time.

When Is the Best Time to Release Praying Mantises?

The best time to release praying mantises into your garden is when there is already a population of harmful insects present. 

This will ensure that the praying mantises have enough food to eat and will be effective at controlling the pest population in your garden.

Can Praying Mantises Control All Garden Pests?

No, praying mantises are not effective at controlling all types of garden pests. They are primarily effective at controlling other insects, but they are not able to control rodents or larger pests like deer. 

Their effectiveness can be limited if they are released into an area that does not have a significant pest population.

Leave a Comment