Do Praying Mantis Eat Aphids?

Praying mantis have fragile bodies and appear smaller in size, but they are pretty active or smart and capture their prey with great accuracy and efficiency. They like to eat insects like ants and aphids.

Do Praying Mantis Eat Aphids? Praying mantis can eat aphids because they are easy to catch, rich source of sweet secretions, and have soft bodies that are easy to chew. They use raptorial legs to grasp prey and begin to eat their bodies by devouring their head and body.

Most garden pests are consumed by praying mantises because their diet is carnivorous, and even they are naturally cannibalistic and eat their mates for nutrition.

They do not build a positive relationship with any organisms belonging to the insect category as they consider every other organism as a food source for them.

Why do praying mantis eat aphids?

These insects are carnivorous creatures that prefer eating insects, birds, and animals, capturing them alive and tearing their bodies apart.

It is one of the ambush hunters who wait for their prey by hiding within surrounding areas and snatching their prey when it is easy to grab.

These insects usually prey on white flies, aphids, beetles, crickets, and many other tiny insects and smaller birds like hummingbirds.

Similarly, they consider aphids a good source of nutrition because these tiny insects produce sweet secretions or honeydew, which can help fulfill their energy requirements.

They are rich in proteins and carbohydrates, and they can catch aphids because they usually live on plants.

Aphids suck phloem juice from plant stem, which is rich in nutrients, and allow them to produce honeydew secretions, which can attract other plant pests.

Moreover, they can attract predators due to their soft bodies that are easy to chew.

It requires less effort to devour these insects’ bodies than those with hard outer shells. So, these aphids can become a food source for the praying mantis and provide energy.

How do praying mantis eat aphids?

Praying mantis are pretty smart creatures and attack their prey quickly, providing no chance for an escape. They capture prey bodies using raptorial forelegs and grasp their bodies.

Aphids are not good at defending themselves and depend on other insects for protection as they develop a mutual association with ants and provide sweet secretions to them.

Moreover, they are quick in attacks as their striking speed is almost 1/20th of a second. These have greenish bodies and are challenging to be identified when present on the leaves.

This body color helps them hide under the leaves and attack their prey ferociously when they are unaware of their presence. Therefore, they get benefits due to their body color and hide behind green plant parts.

They remain hidden until they find prey closer and attack when their bodies can easily access it. Flying insects can easily land on their prey and catch their legs and head.

In addition, some tiny spikes on their legs are primarily used for capturing the prey and making them feel helpless after being caught by these voracious carnivores.

Their forelegs are involved in pinning their prey down before eating, followed by slowly devouring their body parts.

Furthermore, the prey’s heads are broken down first, and then their body parts are torn into small pieces.

What type of praying mantis eats aphids?

There are thousands of species of praying mantis, including European, orchid, Chinese, Carolina, etc., but all of these are carnivorous insects attacking living insects and animals for food.

A significant proportion of their diet is based on insects, including crickets, beetles, ants, and aphids, but the choices could vary for adults and young ones.

Two of the most common praying mantises that preferably eat these insects include orchids and ghosts, which consume sweet secretions and eat these tiny soft-bodied insects.

Most commonly, the diet preferences of adults and young ones vary from each other as adult carnivorous insects prefer to eat beetles and crickets.

However, young praying mantises attack aphids and mosquitoes as they need a carbohydrate-rich diet to provide nutrition.

How many aphids does a praying mantis eat?

The number of aphids consumed by praying mantis depends on their age and body requirements, as some bigger members need more nutrition than the smaller ones.

Moreover, it could also vary according to availability because they do not always get access to aphids. The adults usually feed these insects to the eggs when they hatch and become larvae.

Larvae consume hundreds of these soft and sweet insects when developing into pupae. In addition, these larvae can eat around 45 to 58 aphids when they are pupating and growing.

In addition, the young mantis or nymphs usually eat 52 to 60 aphids in a day until they become adults and shift their eating habits toward other insects.

Accordingly, it is estimated that these insects eat almost 4500 to 5000 aphids in their total lifespan until they die, constituting a huge part of their diet.

Does baby praying mantis eat aphids?

Baby mantis eats insects that are easier to capture and nutritious for them as they need a balanced diet to become healthy adults.

Most commonly, they choose aphids to eat for nutrition, in addition to fruit flies and leafhoppers to keep their bodies filled with essential nutrients.

Moreover, they do not eat regularly and need after every 72 to 96 hours, so they have to eat highly nutritious food, which keeps them energetic without starving.

Can you use praying mantises to control aphids?

Some people keep praying mantises as pets at home, intending to use them to remove plant pests, as these voracious carnivores are pretty good at capturing and killing their prey.

It is true that these insects can ferociously kill aphids and enjoy eating their population, but there is a risk associated with the insects used for controlling their population.

They can eat root aphids, grasshoppers, and other garden pests by attacking with high accuracy, but they can also harm good garden insects like honeybees.

However, they are not harmful insects due to their non-venomous bodies and lack of stinging abilities.

Accordingly, it is not considered a bad decision to use these carnivorous insects against other garden pests. Still, you have to deal carefully as they can harm beautiful birds and insects.

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