I purchased a praying mantis egg case and put it in my greenhouse to help get rid of an aphid infestation. Nothing seemed to happen for the longest time, but now it looks like there are hundreds of dead mantises attached to the egg case (and each other, they're like a large growth off the side of the egg case).

Are these mantis dead? I know mantises molt but these bodies look pretty intact (they even have tentacles!). Is this normal?

  • 6
    pictures help in such cases... Jul 10, 2012 at 13:51
  • 1
    Preying mantises have tentacles? Not sure I have ever seen this...
    – Rory Alsop
    Jul 12, 2012 at 8:31
  • i took a few pictures but none really came out. Jul 12, 2012 at 12:16
  • Grin, you are probably seeing their molts as well as the Preying Mantis's themselves. When releasing beneficial organisms in a greenhouse, if there are no aphids or other insects for them to eat, they will die.
    – stormy
    Jul 11, 2014 at 1:56

1 Answer 1


You need to take pictures with a camera in "macro" mode for anyone to be able to see the beasties.

A praying mantis has legs, not tentacles.

If these are the discarded shells after molting, they will be empty and hollow, but this seems very unlikely -- newly hatched ones would be hungry and move away in search of food.

I'm afraid you need to try again.

You could try lady bugs; they also eat aphids but arrive already hatched, active, and hungry.

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