While collecting seeds in fall 2010 my student employees, Jon and Jessica, thought it would be fun to collect a few praying mantis egg cases and raise the offspring in the greenhouse. So we collected 4 egg cases, called ootheca, and stored them in our office until we began working in the greenhouse in the winter. In January we placed the egg cases in the warm greenhouse and waited and waited and waited. We had just started to think that the mantids would never arrive when all of the sudden they arrived in droves! Once one mantid starts to exit the egg case they all come out. Between 100 and 200 mantids can be contained in each egg case so you can imagine we had quite a lot of mantids in the greenhouse. We were really excited to have them around and they turned out to be really helpful at managing the little insects that live in the greenhouse. By early spring we released the remaining mantids. In fall 2011 we again collected egg cases in hopes of again raising them in our greenhouse. I’ll be sure to share pictures of that adventure as well!
Interested in seeing the coolest video we took during all of 2011? Praying Mantis Attack!