Do Praying Mantis Eat Ladybugs, Bees, and Other Beneficial Insects?

In the intricate tapestry of nature, countless interactions and relationships between different species shape the balance of ecosystems. Among these fascinating creatures, the praying mantis stands out for its distinctive appearance and predatory nature. As they quietly perch and patiently wait, their powerful forelegs ready to strike, it raises the question: Do praying mantises devour not only ladybugs but also bees and other beneficial insects?

Praying mantises have long captured the curiosity and awe of nature enthusiasts. Their iconic posture and incredible hunting skills have earned them a reputation as skilled insect predators. However, the potential impact of their feeding habits on populations of beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and bees, is a subject that warrants exploration.

If you are asking yourself if praying mantis eat ladybugs or bees that are beneficial for your backyard you have come in the right place. In this article, we embark on a journey to uncover the truth about praying mantises and their relationship with ladybugs, bees, and other beneficial insects. By examining the characteristics and behaviors of these remarkable creatures, we seek to shed light on the complexities of their interactions.

praying mantis eating ladybug

What do praying mantis eat?

Praying mantises have a diverse and voracious appetite, exhibiting an impressive array of diet and feeding habits. These skilled predators are known to target a wide range of insects, including flies, crickets, beetles, grasshoppers, and moths. Their opportunistic nature allows them to adapt to various environments and prey availability.

When it comes to feeding, praying mantises employ stealth and precision. They rely on their exceptional vision to spot potential prey and patiently await the opportune moment to strike. Once a target is within reach, their specialized forelegs quickly grasp and immobilize the prey. The mantis then proceeds to consume its victim, often starting with the head or other vulnerable body parts.

Interestingly, praying mantises are known for exhibiting cannibalistic behavior, especially in cases where food resources are scarce. In some instances, the female mantis may even consume the male after or during mating, a behavior known as sexual cannibalism.

Their predatory nature can cause you to worry about the beneficial insects living in your backyard.

Do praying mantis eat ladybugs?

Praying mantises are opportunistic predators with a diverse diet, and yes, praying mantises do eat ladybugs. While ladybugs are considered beneficial insects due to their role in controlling aphid populations, they are not exempt from becoming prey for praying mantises. When a praying mantis encounters a ladybug, it will seize the opportunity to capture and consume it. However, it’s important to note that the predation of ladybugs by mantises may not be as common or significant as their consumption of other insects. The frequency of this interaction may vary depending on factors such as the abundance of ladybugs, the size of the mantis, and the availability of alternative prey. Nonetheless, it’s a reminder that even seemingly beneficial insects can be part of the intricate web of predator-prey relationships in nature.

ladybug starting to fly

While praying mantises do eat ladybugs, there is no need to be overly concerned about them completely decimating the ladybug population in your garden. Praying mantises are not known for mass consumption or causing drastic declines in prey populations. They are typically present in numbers that are in balance with the available prey resources. Additionally, ladybugs are resilient insects with the ability to reproduce quickly, so even if a few are consumed by mantises, their populations can recover. It’s important to remember that the presence of praying mantises can actually be beneficial for controlling other pest populations in your garden. So, instead of being scared, it’s best to view the interaction between praying mantises and ladybugs as a natural part of the ecosystem and appreciate the role they play in maintaining a balanced environment. And you can learn how to invite these natural pest control to your garden in our article on how to attract a praying mantis.

Do praying mantis eat bees?

Similar to their predation on ladybugs, praying mantises may target bees when they come across them. While bees are essential pollinators and beneficial to the ecosystem, they are not exempt from being preyed upon by mantises. As mentioned earlier, praying mantises typically exist in balance with the available prey resources, and the impact on bee populations is generally not significant. The presence of praying mantises can even be beneficial in controlling other pest insects in your garden. Therefore, while mantises may occasionally eat bees, it is unlikely to cause a substantial decline in bee populations.

Why are ladybugs and bees beneficial?

Ladybugs, also known as ladybirds or lady beetles, are considered valuable allies in natural pest control. They have a voracious appetite for aphids, which are notorious pests that can cause significant damage to plants and crops. A single ladybug can consume numerous aphids in a day, helping to keep their populations in check without the need for chemical pesticides. Ladybugs also feed on other plant-damaging insects such as scale insects, mealybugs, and mites. Their presence in gardens and agricultural fields can help maintain a healthy balance and reduce the need for harmful pest control methods.

Bees, on the other hand, play a vital role as pollinators. They are responsible for pollinating a significant portion of flowering plants, including many fruit and vegetable crops. Bees visit flowers in search of nectar and pollen, inadvertently transferring pollen grains from one flower to another as they move. This process, known as pollination, is essential for the reproduction of plants and the production of fruits and seeds. Without bees and other pollinators, many plant species would struggle to reproduce, and agricultural yields would be significantly impacted. Bees are critical for maintaining biodiversity, supporting ecosystems, and ensuring food security.

bee in enlarged photo

Other beneficial insecTs hunted by praying mantis

Praying mantises, with their voracious appetite, also target other beneficial insects in their hunt for food. Among these are hoverflies and lacewings. Hoverflies, also known as flower flies, not only assist in pollination but also play a significant role in controlling pest populations. However, praying mantises do not discriminate between pests and beneficial insects, and they may prey upon hoverflies when given the opportunity. Similarly, lacewings, known for their predatory larvae that feed on aphids and other garden pests, can also fall victim to mantises. While praying mantises serve as valuable predators in maintaining ecosystem balance, their indiscriminate feeding habits may occasionally affect populations of beneficial insects.


While praying mantises are known for their predatory nature and potential consumption of ladybugs and bees, it’s important to recognize that their impact on beneficial insect populations is generally not significant enough to outweigh their overall ecological benefits. Praying mantises contribute to natural pest control by preying upon a wide range of insects, including potential garden pests. Their presence can help regulate pest populations and reduce the need for chemical interventions. Thus, the combination of ladybugs, bees, and praying mantises forms a complex web of interactions, each playing a unique role in maintaining the delicate balance of our ecosystems.

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