Using praying mantis as a means of pest control is possible. However, there are a few things that need to be address if you would like to use this method of pest control.
First off figure out what species of mantis are available to you. There are lots of options and depending on your locations some may or may not be an option. I used the Chinese mantis that has been established in the United States for some time now. Other species that are not in your area extra care will need to be taken to make sure non escape and become an invasive and unwanted addition into your local ecosystem.
The diet of the mantis can change as it ages. In my previous blog post I had misidentified the mantis as an adult. The wing pod I believed to be wings something that appears at the stage before adult. I received clarification from a Mantis breeder who got back to me after my last blog post. What does this matter? Well once the Chinese mantis reached the sub adult stage prior to becoming a full adult the mantis loses interest in smaller food—mainly the gnats I wanted it to eat and will ignore small prey to the point of starvation.
So you may be asking: what is the solution and how can the mantis work as pest control if they stop eating the gnats at sub adult? One way to handle this would be to purchase an ootheca (mantis egg sack). This would hatch about 100-400 mantis nymphs. They would eat up all the gnats and would eat each other as well. A few notes on this: You will have some escape and don’t use any that are not in your area. As the mantis nymphs grow larger you will find discarded exoskeletons on plants and would need to remove them. this is one thing I wanted to avoid and why I wanted adult mantis in the grow room.
This was an interesting experiment, but overall not sure how practical it is for the at home cannabis grower.