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Are Praying Mantises Endangered? Is It Illegal to Kill Them?

The praying mantis is undoubtedly one of the most unique and graceful insects in nature. Thanks to that fact and misconceptions that became accepted as fact over time, many children and adults believe that praying mantises are endangered and that it is illegal to kill them. What is the truth about the praying mantis and its status?

All About the Praying Mantis 

The praying mantis is aptly named after its appearance, as these creatures have long front legs that are bent and held in a position that looks like prayer. While a mantis might look cute, these insects are carnivores who will eat flies, moths, crickets, grasshoppers and even other praying mantises. Mantises use lightning-fast reflexes to grab their prey before pinning it in place for a meal. 

Are Praying Mantises Endangered?

Globally, there are an amazing 2,000 species of mantis. None of those species are considered to be threatened, likely to die out in the future or become endangered. In some countries, the praying mantis is under protected status. However, in North America, none of the species are endangered. Consequently, there are no legal ramifications for killing a mantis. 

Where Did This Misconception Come From?

The idea that killing a praying mantis is illegal and that this species is endangered was first circulated in the 1950s. Interestingly, there has never been a state or federal law on the books that prohibited killing a praying mantis. They do serve a good role in the ecosystem, as they eat many bugs that would traditionally be considered pests. It’s believed that the rumor might have been started to prevent homeowners from needlessly killing these creatures who can help to reduce the number of less-pleasant bugs. Many gardeners wish that they had more praying mantises in their yard to decrease the need for pesticides use and help crops to thrive as a result. The one catch is that a mantis will eat all bugs, not just ones that are bad for your vegetables and fruit!

While it is not illegal to kill a praying mantis, that does not mean that you should ever do so if you spot one in your yard. Enjoy one of nature’s most unique creatures and take a picture instead!

Keep Your Home Pest-Free with Brody Brothers Pest Control  

Brody Brothers Pest Control works with hundreds of property owners every year to keep properties safe and free from harmful insects, animals, and pests. If you’re looking for home pest control in Maryland or if you have questions about pest inspections for your home, contact us online or give us a call at (410) 653-2121 (Baltimore area) or (301) 637-0178 (Montgomery County).