People who keep pet praying mantises are often advised to feed them on insects and arachnids. But does that include spider mites? Are spider mites proper food for praying mantises? Read on, to find out.
Do praying mantis eat spider mites? Yes, praying mantis do eat spider mites if and when they happen to find them. Therefore if you keep a pet mantis, you can feed it on live spider mites. And if you have a spider mites pest challenge, praying mantises may be an effective means for biological control.
It is worth noting that the spider mites in question here are arachnids, as opposed to true insects. And they are distinct from spiders. These are spider mites, not spiders.
That distinction is important, because if we were dealing with spiders, the concern would be mostly about the spiders eating the mantises. Not the other way round.
Thus in that context, the relevant questions would have been the likes of, do spiders eat praying mantis and, if yes, what spiders eat praying mantis.
However, our focus here is on spider mites (not spiders). And the question we are tackling is, do mantis eat spider mites. Granted, the do praying mantises eat spiders question is still pertinent, but not within our scope here.
Instead, what we seek to know is if praying mantises do eat spider mites. To that end, we may start by finding out if praying mantis can kill the spider mites.
Do Praying Mantis Kill Spider Mites?
Yes, praying mantis do kill spider mites.
In a praying mantis vs spider mites duel, the end result is usually that of the spider mites being killed.
A praying mantis has many physical advantages over the spider mite. The mantis is bigger, more powerful and capable of camouflaging. It is these factors that make it possible for the mantis to easily kill the spider mite.
Do Praying Mantis Eat Spider Mites?
Here, we need to start by asking ourselves, do praying mantis eat mites generally? And the answer is ‘yes’, praying mantises do eat mites generally.
Then let us turn specifically to spider mites and ask ourselves, can praying mantis eat spider mites? And the answer is also in the affirmative.
Indeed, in the lists of foods that praying mantises like to eat, these spider mites tend to feature very prominently.
Thus the true position is that praying mantises do eat spider mites.
How Does Praying Mantis Eat Spider Mites?
In eating the spider mites, the praying mantis tends to use a ‘bit by bit’ approach. This entails dismembering the captured spider mite progressively, until none of it is left.
So the whole thing starts with a mantis capturing the spider mite – say, from the underside of a plant leaf.
After capture, the next step is that of immobilization. This is something the mantis does with ease, thanks to the power of its spiny forelimbs.
Then after immobilization comes the dismemberment and ingestion of the spider mite.
Which Kinds Of Spider Mites Can Praying Mantis Eat?
People who keep pet mantises often express interest in knowing which kinds of spider mites they can feed the mantises on.
So focus there is in knowing whether it is live spider mites, dead spider mites or, say, frozen spider mites that are ideal for mantises. Let’s then look at several forms of spider mites in turn.
Do Praying Mantis Eat Live Spider Mites?
Yes, praying mantises prefer to eat their spider mites live.
In fact, if a praying mantis realizes that a spider mite doesn’t seem to be alive, it would usually desist from eating it.
Do Praying Mantis Eat Dead Spider Mites?
No, spider mites that are already dead would never be under consideration as food for praying mantises.
Do Praying Mantis Eat Frozen Spider Mites?
It is not possible for the frozen spider mites to be alive. Freezing results in the death of the spider mites. Yet as we said, a praying mantis will only ever eat spider mites that are actually alive.
Against that background, it follows that a mantis can’t eat frozen spider mites.
How Many Spider Mites Can Praying Mantis Eat?
Spider mites are relatively small insects/arachnids. Thus an adult mantis can sometimes eat as many as 5 spider mites. On the other hand, a praying mantis nymph will usually require only 2 or so spider mites.
Turning to how much spider mites is too much for praying mantis, that would normally be more than 5 for an adult mantis. For a mantis nymph, three or more spider mites may simply turn out to be excessive.
How Often Will Praying Mantis Eat Spider Mites?
If a mantis is feeding exclusively (or mostly) on spider mites, the feeding frequency would be twice per week for an adult mantis that has largely stopped growing.
For a younger mantis whose growth is still at its peak, eating the mites every two or so days may suffice.
Here, one may ask, can praying mantis eat spider mites daily? And the answer is ideally ‘no’. There should be some variety in a mantis’ diet. But even if the mantis’ diet is mostly made of spider mites, the feeding should nonetheless not be daily.
Daily feeding for mantises is not normal/natural. They need to eat every other day while growing. And they need to eat twice or so per week once they are past their peak growth stages.
Final Verdict – Do Praying Mantis Eat Spider Mites
Praying mantis do eat spider mites. For spider mites to be eaten by praying mantis though, they have to be alive: not already dead. An adult praying mantis may eat up to 5 spider mites, whereas a nymph may eat about 2 per day.
If you have a pet praying mantis, one of the best things you can feed it on is spider mites.
And if there is a spider mite pest problem in your garden, praying mantises can help in tackling it. Therefore if you find praying mantises in a spider mite infested garden, you should view the mantises as ‘allies’.
Welcome to Learn About Pet. My name is Rajkumar Ravichandran and I love all pets, travel, and amazing food. I write about my passion and personal experience caring for multiple pets in this blog! ❤️
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