Hatching Mantis Egg Cases

April 28, 2013 | Organic Gardening

About 2 months ago I brought home an unusual gift for my wife, a praying mantis egg case in a terrarium.  We had been out earlier in the year collecting many of the cases we sell and though she had seen adults earlier that summer, she had never experienced the miracle of a mantis egg case hatch. The terrarium sat on her desk through the cold days of March and April, egg case unchanged. We got out and started our garden, the weather started to warm, and days continued to pass. And just like in hatching anything, doubt started to creep in. I reassured her that praying mantises hatch out every year in the fields without any attention paid to them. But as days passed my wife insisted this ootheca must be a dud. Yesterday we finally had a free weekend and got our seedlings into the ground and the praying mantis egg case came up in conversation again. “Maybe you should bring me another one?” she said. But that all changed when we got home.

“The praying mantises hatched!”, I heard from upstairs. I was just about to reply with “I told you so” when she shouted “Oh no, they are all over the room”. Sure enough they did hatch and the more limber praying mantids squeezed through the holes in the terrarium. We snapped a couple pictures and sent them on their merry way out into the front lawn.

So, given our most recent hatching experience, here is our praying mantis hatching advice:

  • Ensure the mesh (or whatever you are keeping the egg case in) is fine enough that your babies can’t escape. Praying mantis babies are really neat creatures, but are perhaps less neat when scaling your closet doors.


hatching mantises 1

Releasing the hatched Praying mantises

  • Secondly, have patience and purchase mantis cases from us or another reputable dealer. We make sure the cases we sell are from this year and not stored from previous years. Old egg cases are probably the main reason people have failed hatching experiences.


hatching mantises 2

Note the cotton like material by the exit of the case

  • Lastly, check your egg case frequently. Ours was left alone for no more than eight hours and it already seemed as though the young mantids were casting their hungry eyes on their brothers and sisters.


hatching mantises 3

Newly hatched praying mantis beside a penny for size comparison

Can’t find anyone to garden with you?  Get 200-800 gardening buddies to keep you company and guard your garden when you’re not there by ordering praying mantis egg cases!

Happy Gardening!