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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Please click or touch each question for the answer.
Q- 1. How do I care for the living juvenile mantis or the egg case that I'm about to purchase?         And what else do I need for it?

Q- 2. I would like to have a praying mantis as a pet. How do I get started?

Q- 3. I would like to use praying mantises in my garden for pest control.
        How do I get started?


Q- 4. When will you have living juveniles/egg cases available?
        Also: When is praying mantis season?

Q- 5. Do you sell or know where to get an adult praying mantis?

Q- 6. What species of praying mantis do you sell?
        Also: Do you sell or know where to get an orchid or ghost mantis (for example)?

Q- 7. My newborn/juvenile mantid is not doing well or has died. What went wrong?

Q- 8. What does a praying mantis eat?

Q- 9. How often should I feed my praying mantis?

Q- 10. How can I tell if I have a male or female?
        Also: Will you provide me with my choice of male and/or female for my purchase?

Q- 11. Can I keep more than one praying mantis in a cage?
        Also: Will they eat each other?

Q- 12. How long does the praying mantis live?

Q- 13. When will the ootheca (egg sac) hatch?

Q- 14. Can I refrigerate my egg case (ootheca) to delay hatching?
        Also: Can the egg case be left outside in the freezing temperatures?

Q- 15. I found a praying mantis or an egg case in my house or outside.
        What do I do? I have a lot of other questions about it.


Q- 16. I found an injured praying mantis. HELP! What do I do?

Q- 17. Emergency! I need an order right away. Can you help?
        Also: If I place an order now, when will I receive it?

Q- 18. I live in (insert any U.S. location here). Can you safely ship live insects to me?

Q- 19. Do you offer a live guarantee?

Q- 20. May I return my purchase?

Q- 21. I have a problem with my order, what should I do?

Q- 22. May I pick up an order at your shop and avoid shipping charges?

Q- 23. May I place an order over the phone instead of the website?

Q- 24. Do you ship to (insert any country except U.S. here)?


Q- 1. How do I care for the living juvenile mantis or the egg case that I'm about to purchase from you and what do I need for it?
A- Our products come with complete and thorough care instructions that will tell you exactly what to do and how to care for the praying mantis.

What do you need to purchase in addition to the praying mantis? For a living mantis you will need food and an enclosure. Get the D. hydei fruit flies and perhaps some silkworms. For the egg case, you won't need anything else if you're using it for garden pest control. If you'll hatch the ootheca inside and raise some as pets, you'll need an enclosure. You should also order food with the egg case so you won't get caught off guard when it hatches. Get the D. melanogaster and D. hydei fruit flies.

Please see Q 2. and Q 3. below for more detailed information.
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Q- 2. I would like to have a praying mantis as a pet. How do I get started?
A- You have the option of either purchasing the living juveniles or the ootheca (egg case). You can raise them any time of year, either inside or outside during the warm season. Minumum temperature in the 70s for daytime highs is warm enough. You can purchase both ootheca and living juveniles here at our shop, either individually or in kits, which include the other things you will need. Kits are HERE, Egg cases can be found HERE. And living juveniles are HERE. We have these items available for purchase from October or November through late summer each year.

If you go the egg case route, you will see the mantis in its newborn state. During the cold season, you can hatch the egg case in the warmth of your house. Keep in mind that the nymphs will require a bigger commitment of time and money and some folks have a more difficult time raising them at this stage. You will also have many, many babies to deal with. One idea is to release most in your yard and keep some. Or give the extras to friends. You may choose instead to purchase a pair of juveniles.

You will need food. For the egg case, purchase the D. melanogaster and/or D. hydei fruit flies. For the juveniles, also get the larger D. hydei and other things, such as silkworms. Many folks wait to acquire the food so as to coincide more closely with the egg case hatch date. But that turns out to be a mistake for many who, at hatch-out, are caught off guard with nothing. We recommend having food on hand along with the egg case. And obviously with the living juvenile purchase.

You will need someplace to house your mantis pet(s). We recommend our mesh praying mantis enclosure, which will house everything from egg case hatch-outs to nymphs and adults. It is a mesh cube. One side is clear plastic for viewing. There are no small openings that would allow mantids and their prey to escape through. And you can hang this enclosure from the ceiling. You'll find it HERE. You may also want to purchase a praying mantis kit, which includes this enclosure plus the food and living mantis or egg case.

All our living products include detailed care sheets so you'll know exactly how to care for them from here.
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Q- 3. I would like to use praying mantises in my garden for pest control. Where do I start?

A- You will need to purchase ootheca(e) or egg case(s). Three egg cases per 5,000 square feet of garden area is the generally accepted dosage. Repeat with new egg cases every few weeks, whereas some of the individuals may wander out of your garden. For most of the country, the oothecae will not hatch outside until the warmth of springtime. If you'd like to get a head start, you can hatch them inside at the appropriate time and them release the nymphs where needed. You can purchase the eggs from fall to spring and refrigerate the ones you aren't using right away. While keeping them in the fridge, give them a light misting with purified water every few weeks. They shouldn't be kept in there past July.

Place the egg cases out of the sun amongst foliage and away from animals such as birds that will be happy to take them off your hands. If it's warm enough, they will hatch in anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months, often without any evidence and then stay mainly hidden in your yard. If you would like to see the hatched nymphs, place the egg case in a tied paper bag. Check on it each day. Upon the hatch out, sprinkle the newborns where needed in your yard. They shouldn't require any additional feeding from you. If you live in a dry environment, be sure to sprinkle your foliage at release and every couple of days. You can purchase an egg case here.
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Q- 4. When will you have living juveniles/egg cases available?
        -When is praying mantis season?

A- Praying mantis season generally runs each year from late October or November through July or August, sometimes longer for the living juveniles. This refers to when you will be able to purchase them from our shop. If you would like to be notified exactly when they become available for sale on our website, you are welcome to email us with your request to be notified.

In terms of the praying mantid's natural lifecycle in the wild, the season would be from spring until late fall/early winter, when they have completed their lifecycle and begin dying. However, you can raise praying mantis anytime of year in the warmth of your house and they will live a normal lifecycle of up to a year and longer.
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Q- 5. Do you sell or know where to purchase an adult praying mantis?
A- We do not sell adult praying mantises. We DO sell juveniles. They are typically L2 or L3, sometimes older. L2 means the mantis has molted once. The Current age of our stock is listed on the living mantis product page, which you will find HERE. We do not know of any reliable sources to acquire full grown adults.

Q- 6. What species of praying mantis do you sell?
        -Also: Do you sell or know where to purchase an orchid (for example) mantis?

A- We currently offer one species of mantis- The Chinese (Tenodera sinensis), also called the Asian. We offer both living specimens and oothecae (egg cases). We often are asked where to find a particular type. Sorry, we know of no reliable source for various species, nor do we carry them. One exception to that rule is the Carolina, which can sometimes be found online.
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Q- 7. My newborn/juvenile mantid is not doing well or has died. What went wrong?
A- There are a number of reasons why a praying mantis may not be doing well and/or dying. In our experience, it's almost always because the mantis was not given enough food. If your mantis is just hatched or still very young, you need to put lots and lots of the flightless fruit flies into its enclosure and/or something similar in size. This is crucial. A fly here and there won't do. A smaller enclosure may also help in this regard since the food will be more concentrated and you won't have to put as much in compared to a larger cage. You should also offer other food. Try looking for suitable sized prey outside in your environment. Aphids are a good choice for nymphs. You can also crush up the food and try hand feeding it to your buddy. An excellent feeder for young and adults is the silkworm. It's loaded with nutrients and calcium for fast growth. We offer silkworms HERE at our SHOP.

Another problem may be dehydration. Be sure you are thoroughly spritzing the entire inside of the enclosure daily with bottled or purified water. They can go longer without water, but a daily supply is best. Please note, this applies to the Chinese praying mantis that we sell. Other species may have different needs. Also, be sure you are keeping the mantis at a proper temperature. 77 degrees is ideal, but anywhere from 70-85 is fine.

Do not mistake molting for something else. When the praying mantis molts, it will hang upside down, stay very still and contort its body. Some folks may think the mantis has died and is shriveling up. Do not disturb the mantis at this point. It is a delicate process. Remove all chewing insects, such as crickets. The mantis will emerge from the molt larger and ready to eat. But, unfortunately, a small percentage do not have a successful molt and will die.

Finally, your adult mantis may be dying from old age after living a full life. In the wild, the praying mantis lives from spring to fall and then dies. In captivity, they may live a bit longer or through the winter if it was hatched in the fall, but it won't live much longer than a year.
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Q- 8. What does a praying mantis eat?
A- Basically, they will eat anything that they can overpower and hold onto. If you have newly hatched pet nymphs, start them out with D. melanogaster Fruitflies. Newborns can also be raised on the D. hydei flies, which are a bit larger. As the praying mantises grow, feed them things such as Silkworms and other caterpillars, flies, moths, grubs, locusts, crickets and anything else of appropriate size that you can wrangle up. Do not feed them things that could obviously hurt them, such as a wasp. Remove all chewing insects, such as crickets, while the praying mantis is molting (they could kill it). If your mantis still doesn't seem to be eating enough, offer food by hand or with tweezers. If the item is too big, you can crush it up and hand feed. Prey that moves a lot, such as flies, will generally be caught more readily than prey that hides, such as cockroaches or certain caterpillars. If you are using the mantis for garden pest control, you won't have to worry about feeding them. They will find everything they need in your garden.
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Q- 9. How often should I feed my praying mantis?
A- For newly hatched and young nymphs, you need to have food constantly available. Praying mantises are voracious eaters and will do best when well fed. For older individuals, it depends on many factors, including: the species, what you are feeding them, the temperature, the mantid's size and gender and the life stage it is currently in. For example, an adult female will eat more than a male. And, a mantis that has just molted will soon be very hungry, but a mantis that will molt soon does not eat for a day or two. Of course, if you have just fed your pet a large meal, it may not need to eat for a day or two. If you're not sure, the rule of thumb is to offer food. You will soon learn how much and when your mantis wants to eat. Please note, this information applies to the Chinese mantis that we sell. Other species may have different needs.
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Q- 10. How can I tell if I have a male or female?
        Also- Will you provide me with my choice of male and/or female for my purchase?

A- Female praying mantises have six abdominal segments, males have eight. The female's final segment is larger than its others. For the male, the segments are smaller towards the end. To count segments, look at the underside of the abdomen. Gender cannot be determined until the L4 stage. Also, for the Chinese mantis that we sell, the adult female is larger and heavier than the male. Other than that, both sexes look pretty much the same throughout their life.

When you place an order, we cannot offer a choice of male or female praying mantis due to the fact that gender cannot be determined until the L4 stage (they have molted three times). Since we sell mantises younger than this, it is not possible to give you a choice of male or female.
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Q- 11. Can I keep more than one praying mantis in a cage?
        Also- Will they eat each other?

A- Praying mantises do sometimes practice cannibalism, especially if they are hungry (they are not picky eaters). So, no it's a bad idea to keep these animals together. They are naturally solitary insects and don't enjoy being around each other. There's always the possibility that your praying mantids will do harm to each other if kept together, especially as they approach adulthood.
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Q- 12. How long does the praying mantis live?
A- About a year. In nature, the praying mantis will generally live from spring to fall. Females die soon after making their egg cases. However, you can raise praying mantis anytime of year in the warmth of your house and they will live a normal lifecycle of up to a year and longer.
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Q- 13. When will the ootheca (egg sac) hatch?
A- It depends. If the ootheca has been exposed to warm temperatures before you came to have it in your possession, it could hatch at any time. If you purchased the ootheca from us, it will hatch in anywhere from two weeks to two months, usually closer to a month. Be sure to keep the ootheca warm enough or it will not hatch. 75-80 degrees is good. And also, don't let it dry out- Mist with purified water every week or so, more often in dry climates. If the ootheca is outside during the cold season, it will be fine. They overwinter all across the country. It will hatch in the spring when the temperatures are warm enough.
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Q- 14. Can I refrigerate my egg case (ootheca) to delay hatching?
        Also- Can the egg case be left outside in the freezing temperatures?

A- Yes to both questions. If you purchase an ootheca from us, it can be kept in the refrigerator to delay hatching. We offer them from around October to July each year. Purchase them anytime then and either use right away or keep in the fridge. You will find them HERE. Be sure and put the ootheca in the fridge right away when you receive it. Give it a light misting with purified or bottled water every few weeks so it won't dry out. Keep it in there no later than July to ensure that it will hatch.

The ootheca can be left outdoors all winter without harm, even in snow and freezing temperatures. So if you find one, it's fine to leave it alone. This process is called overwintering and egg cases do it all over the country. The egg case is biologically designed for this. Then, as soon as the warmth of spring arrives, the ootheca knows it is time to hatch.
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Q- 15. I found a praying mantis or a praying mantis egg case in my house or outside.
What do I do? I have other questions about it.

A- You can either leave it alone, put it outside, or adopt and care for it. If it's late in the season, the mantis may be looking for somewhere to lay its eggs or even somewhere to die peacefully. If it does deposit its ootheca (egg case) in your house, you can put the egg case outside where it will overwinter and hatch next spring. Don't worry, the cold and snow won't bother it. You don't want it to hatch in your house because then you'll have hundreds of babies running around all over the place. Or, you can put the egg case in your fridge and then put it outside or in an enclosure in the springtime or whenever your ready for it. If you find one in the fall, it will last in the fridge until midsummer. Be sure it doesn't dry out. Or, you can hatch it in an enclosure and have some new pets. You may want to release some and keep some. They're a ton of fun!

Sorry, we don't know what species of praying mantis you found or the gender or how old it is. Please do not send photos along with questions. For security reasons, we will not open them. As far as your other questions- We don't have the resources to answer all of the general enquiries we receive about this animal. Please check our website, it's loaded with information. And the web has even much more for independent research.
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Q- 16. I found an injured praying mantis. HELP! What do I do?
A- Unfortunately, we get this question a lot. Sadly, there's nothing we can do to help. We aren't entomologists or insect vets, and we have no idea what to do for the poor thing or how to help. Our advice- Let it be. If it's an adult and late in the season, you may find solace in knowing that it's natural for them to start dying in the fall. If you would like to rescue the animal, you'll find plenty of info on what to feed it and how to care for it on this page. Please don't send photos of your injured specimens with questions. For security reasons, we cannot open them.
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Q- 17. Emergency! I need an order right away. Can you help?
        -Also: If I place an order now, when will I receive it?

A- Maybe an egg case just hatched and you have nothing for it. Or you have a science deadline in two days. We understand and will try to help. Please be aware that we ship Monday through Wednesday only. Sorry, no exceptions. Orders placed after Wednesday 10am PST are shipped the following Monday. It will take 2-3 days from then to reach you, occasionally longer. We can offer USPS Priority-Express mail which is guaranteed 1-2 days. Please CONTACT US with your zip code and exactly what you will order. We will then let you know the additional shipping cost and when you will receive the order.
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Q- 18. I live in (insert any U.S. location here). Can you safely ship live insects to me?
A- We ship to all parts of the country all year long with very seldom a problem. Shipment is via USPS priority mail (2-3 day). Packages MUST be retrieved from their delivery location immediately upon delivery. Keep an eye on the tracking info you will receive. If you do not receive it, let us know and we will resend. Very important: Packages cannot be left in the sun or a hot mailbox, even in relatively cool weather. If your daytime high temperature will be 40 degrees or below, you should order a heat pack or two with your order. Shipping to cold temperatures is not a problem as long as the package is not left out in a snow storm upon delivery. You will find heat packs in the navigation menu while ordering. We do offer a live guarantee, but if you live in a very hot or cold climate, please review the terms of the guarantee HERE.
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Q- 19. Do you offer a live guarantee?
A- Yes we do. Under most cases we will reship the item that didn't make it free of charge. You will find the guarantee HERE. We do not guarantee live delivery to daytime high temperatures of 90 degrees and above or 40 and below. However, we very seldom have any problems. As long as the package does not sit outside in the sun or in a hot mailbox or left out in a snow storm, it should be fine. There are a limited number of other restrictions on our guarantee. There are no exceptions to these terms. We encourage you to read them HERE.
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Q- 20. May I return my purchase?
A- In most cases, no. For obvious reasons, live animals cannot be returned. Non perishable items may be returned for a store credit at the buyer's expense. Original shipping cannot be refunded.
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Q- 21. I have a problem with my order. What should I do?
A- Our goal is a satisfied customer. If you have a problem with your order, please Contact Us right away and we will work with you to solve it. Please note: We offer a Live Guarantee. Our guarantee has certain terms that you need to be aware of. If you are planning to order from us, please read our guarantee HERE.
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Q- 22. May I pickup an order and avoid shipping charges?
A- No, sorry, we do not have a physical store. Orders are shipped only.
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Q- 23. May I place an order over the phone instead of the website?
A- For security and administrative reasons we can only accept orders placed on our website.

Q- 24. Do you ship to (insert any country except U.S. here)?
A- We ship to all parts of the United States, except Hawaii. We do not ship outside the U.S., nor do we know who does. We ship to Alaska, but do not offer a live guarantee due to the fact that shipments can sometimes be delayed and the weather is very cold at times.
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