Ladybugs and Lace Wing are the more commonly talk about pest predator. Have you hear of Pray Mantis pest predator? I have totally forgotten about Pray Mantis pest predator until recently I found a colony of small pray mantises on my plant. This is very enlightening as I have been looking for more natural and effective predators.
Practicing non toxic farming is very challenging. Managing all kind of pests has never been easy. There are many different type of pest growing in my urban farm. Among all aphids and caterpillars are the most and widely affecting my plants. There are many Ladybugs in my farm helping me to counter the aphids. However, I never found Ladybugs as effective predator for aphids. Aphids always grow and spread much faster and larger colony than Ladybugs.
Today, I am very happy to see so many small little pray mantis pest predator wondering on the leave of my Winged bean plant. I also find these pray mantis pest predator are eating up the aphids and caterpillars on the plant. Following picture shows a caterpillar that has been killed by the pray mantis.
However, pray mantis pest predator not only eat bad bugs, they also eat other insects that could be good to our eco-system. Those big size species carnivorous eat almost any insects within their reach. We don’t want them to eat our Ladybugs friend.
Personally, I don’t mind if they also eat up some of the ladybugs. I believe pray mantis is more powerful, versatile and bigger appetite helping me to eat more types of pest and in much faster. At the same time, in the concept of Permaculture, the natural system balance out naturally anyway.
I am quite amazed for a small urban farm like mine is attracting so many type of insects; being good and bad. The next thing I hope to see is some birds in my small farm eating up caterpillars, or waps taking some of the caterpillars home.