Do Praying Mantis Eat Ticks?

Praying mantis are insectivorous creatures that prefer to eat smaller insects and other living organisms that are easier to capture and devour. Ticks are not a favorable food source to them, but they can become a source of nutrition to them in a particular season.

Do Praying Mantis Eat Ticks? Praying mantis can eat ticks due to their small size and carnivorous or hunting behavior, but they rarely capture ticks and prefer to feed on other smaller invertebrates. They can consume around 10 to 15 ticks in one day, but this number varies according to availability.

Ticks are generally known to be deadly and parasitic organisms due to their feeding behavior, as they suck blood from living organisms. They do not get any nutrition from hemolymph, so they avoid attacking invertebrates and insects.

Is it safe for praying mantis to eat ticks?

Some people are afraid to offer ticks to their pet praying mantis as they are parasitic organisms that can cause harm to host organisms.

There is nothing to worry about the mantis’ health because it is not the desirable host organism for these parasites. They need a living and warm-blooded host to survive.

However, they are cold-blooded creatures that cannot provide warm blood to these tiny parasitic insects. They do not stick to the bodies of arthropods and look for other animals.

It is safe for them to eat ticks because they do not become parasites of these insects and leave their body immediately after finding a suitable host.

In addition, they do not cause internal harm after swallowing because mantis chew their bodies. Their digestive system also degrades tiny bodies of parasites and extracts nutrients quickly.

Why do praying mantis eat ticks?

Praying mantis attack various insects and chew their bodies to get nutrition because they obtain energy by capturing alive insects.

Moreover, they choose food opportunistically and quickly capture easily available insects in their habitats or territories. They also eat ticks when they are abundantly available in their surroundings.

They are pretty small, blood-sucking insects that can reach only 4 to 5mm in body length. These are external parasites by nature and are usually present on the host’s body.

Accordingly, the praying mantis rarely finds them in their environment because they generally live on the host body.

However, ticks are present on the tall grass or other shady areas in the vegetation until they find a suitable host to live. At that time, praying mantis enjoy feeding on these parasitic organisms.

I found a mantis eating ticks in my lawn that are not highly defensive in their actions and become a good food source for them.

Do ticks bite praying mantis in defense?

Ticks are known to bite living organisms due to their blood-sucking nature, as it is their feeding method. They puncture skin to suck blood, not to cause injuries to the predators.

They usually bite warm-blooded living hosts to suck body fluids, but praying mantis lack blood and contain hemolymph. They are not considered suitable hosts for the tiny ticks.

Accordingly, these smaller parasitic organisms rarely bite mantis due to a lack of interest in these arthropods. Sometimes, praying mantis unintentionally eat them while targeting their hosts.

These external parasites have harder exoskeleton layers on their bodies that protect them from external stress but cannot help deter the mantis.

However, they release chemical secretions that are distasteful to predators. The odor of chemical secretions deter predators and ensure survival against these insects.

In addition, they also attain defensive postures by tucking themselves tightly into the host body using their legs and mouthparts.

These slow-moving creatures cannot efficiently defend themselves against predators. So, praying mantis have no risk of bites or retaliation from them and consume them.

How many ticks can a praying mantis eat?

The number of ticks a praying mantis can eat primarily depends on their availability because they are not a regular part of their diet.

On average, they can eat approximately 10 to 15 ticks in one day due to the small size of the insect. However, the total number reduces if the prey size is more than 5mm.

The size of prey affects their dietary habits as they consume many smaller insects than those with large body sizes.

Accordingly, the size of predators also matters because bigger mantis have more appetite and eat more to overcome their hunger. They consume around 12 to 17 ticks to meet their body needs.

However, the European mantis and orchid flower mantis are smaller species that eat less than their larger fellows. Their bellies get filled by consuming almost 7 to 10 ticks daily.

The external environmental conditions also affect their energy demands as they need to eat more during breeding. However, they eat less in winter due to a lack of activity in the cold season.

Furthermore, these blood-sucking parasites are active in the spring and fall seasons, which means mantis also become active predators in spring and autumn.

Do praying mantis help control ticks?

Praying mantis are predatory insects, which means they can help control the tick population in the wild environment. Some people use them as a biological control to reduce ticks in their houses.

These ectoparasites cause damage to livestock by attacking the living animals and attaching them to their bodies. They remain attached to living hosts until their death and keep sucking blood.

This way, their presence leads to compromised health of livestock and pet animals. So, people prefer to find an easy and biological method to control their growing population and protect pets.

So, praying mantis can efficiently lead to a decline in population by eating many of these parasitic insects in one day.

However, it is not considered an ideal approach if there are many ticks because you cannot fill your house with a bulk of praying mantis.

It can help reduce the population of parasites significantly, but it is better to find insects that primarily rely on ticks for their diet.

What type of praying mantis can eat ticks?

Many species of praying mantis enjoy eating garden pests, like leafhoppers, aphids, and ticks.

They thrive on ticks opportunistically and obtain nutrition from their bodies. My ghost mantis also likes to eat these parasitic organisms for nutrition but always prefers crickets on them.

In addition, one of my friends used 2 Chinese mantis to control the population of ticks in his yard. It was pretty effective because this larger mantis ate many smaller parasites in one day.

Related Articles:

Why should you help an injured praying mantis?

Is My Praying Mantis Dying?