Do Praying Mantis Eat Earwigs? (Explained)

Do you have problems with earwigs?

Well, don’t worry, because praying mantis are one of the remedies.

Do Praying Mantis Eat Earwigs?

Praying mantises are carnivores. Therefore, they eat other animals, including earwigs, because these insects are rich in protein.

Praying mantis are beneficial in your yard. They eat other insects, like earwigs, cockroaches, or wasps. However, sometimes they also eat other beneficial insects like ants.

They’re not harmful to plants, so having them in your yard has many benefits. However, how to attract praying mantis to kill earwigs and other insects?

Keep on reading the article to find out!

What are Praying Mantis?

Praying mantises are insects belonging to the order Mantodea, which includes around 2,400 species. They primarily live in tropical or temperate habitats.

They also go by the name praying mantis due to their upright posture and folded forearms. These forelegs are large and powerful, which helps a mantis to catch prey. Many people also associate them with boxers, as they look as if they have their arms raised in a fighter’s stance. 

Mantises are among the largest insects. Adults generally range from 2 to 5 inches (5–12 cm) long. 

Why are Earwigs Harmful to Your Plants?

An earwig is an insect with pincers extending from its backsides. They use these pincers for defense.

Earwigs are dark brown and have six legs and two antennas. Typically, an earwig is around an inch (2.5 cm) in length. Their bodies have a leathery appearance. Some have a set of wings, but they don’t fly.

These bugs aren’t dangerous to humans because they don’t transmit disease, and they’re not poisonous. However, they are damaging to vegetation.

Pincher bugs are omnivores, and they’ll eat anything that’s made available to them. In the yard, they primarily feed on dead or decaying plant and animal matter. However, they may turn to feasting on living plant matter, especially the seedlings or young foliage of vegetables and flowers.

Usually, earwigs leave the leaves jagged, and full of holes. Plants will become ragged overnight, and some leaves will only be partially eaten. Damage will often occur after rainy weather, which forces earwigs to seek dry shelter and climb up into plants and leaves. Earwig damage looks similar to that of slugs and snails.

How Do Praying Mantis Eat Earwigs?

When hunting, praying mantis rely mostly on their sight, which gives them a huge advantage. Praying mantises have 5 forward-facing eyes. Their binocular 3D vision, known as stereopsis, allows them to detect depth and distance effectively.

Mantises also use their sense of smell to help them detect the pheromones of power mantises. Their sense of hearing is used to avoid predators. For example, they can use their ear to detect the echolocation sounds of bats, a common mantis predator.

When hunting, praying mantises rely on their camouflage, which is usually green, brown, or gray. Thus, the prey won’t be able to easily identify the predator. When the praying mantis wants to catch the prey, it is standing still with its arms raised up. With this position and camouflage, the praying mantis looks like a stick, stem, or other plant parts.

Once its target gets close enough, a praying mantis will then lunge forward rapidly. It will grab its target with its spiny forelegs, then pull it in close before proceeding to eat its prey alive. 

What Do Praying Mantis Eat?

Praying mantis eat animals only. They mostly prey on other arthropods. Usually praying mantis prey are smaller than themselves, sometimes, they will also attack larger prey, including some that are larger than them.

The diet of a praying mantis will vary depending on the environment it lives in and the prey that is available. Larger species of mantises will have access to more food compared to smaller species.

Even though most insects eat plants and leaves, the praying mantis follows a strict carnivore diet. They won’t harm your plants. Praying mantis reside on the plants to take on primary prey, which is flies or bees.

Here are the favorite things that praying mantis eat.

  • Grasshoppers
  • Earwigs
  • Cockroaches
  • Leafhoppers
  • Caterpillars
  • Mosquitoes
  • Crickets
  • Stink bugs
  • Aphids
  • Beetles
  • Moths
  • Wasps
  • Locust
  • Spiders
  • Ladybugs
  • Aphids
  • Ants
  • Ticks
  • Birds
  • Other insects

As you can see, praying mantis eat harmful insects in your yard. However, they don’t know which insects are beneficial, and which aren’t. Therefore, praying mantis also eats useful spiders, ants, birds, or ladybugs.

How to Attract Praying Mantis to Your Yard?

If you want to have praying mantis in your yard to eat earwigs, and other harmful insects, you can either attract them to your yard, or buy the eggs, and let them hatch.

To attract praying mantis, you should plant shrubs and perennials that provide strong stems and branches in which praying mantids can shelter and attach their egg cases. Praying mantids do not consume pollen or nectar, but plants that produce pollen and nectar will attract insects that mantids eat.

Plus, make sure you don’t use commercial pesticides. Even one application can wipe out your good bugs and your bad bugs.

If you don’t want to wait for the praying mantis to come, you can always buy eggs on Amazon, by clicking this link. There are about 200 praying mantises in each egg case.

To “produce” praying mantis indoors, put the eggs in the refrigerator for a month. Then provide the eggs some warmth by putting them into an incubator, terrarium, or greenhouse, where they can hatch. As the hatching occurs, you can release the praying mantises.

You can also buy the eggs, and place them outdoors after the frost passes. Make sure to place the egg case in a place where no other insects have access, for example, attach them to fence posts, twigs or place them in crooks in trees and bushes. You can expect to see nymphs within two weeks if the weather is consistently warm.

What Other Animals Eat Earwigs?

Praying mantis isn’t the only predator that earwigs should be afraid of. These animals also eat earwigs.

  • Birds
  • Lizards
  • Frogs
  • Centipedes
  • Spiders
  • Yellow jackets

If you provide the right environment, that’s pesticide-free, these animals should be attracted to your yard naturally, and catch earwigs, and other harmful insects.