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I have been fascinated with the ootheca of praying mantis since my childhood days. My grand mother used to keep it safely in niche in a wall of our anscetral home in my village, Nandgarh. On enquiring about this egg sac, she oftenly told us that this is the "Giddad ki Sundi"( navel of jackal). Now I am much surprized to know that this navel of jackal is nothing but ootheca viz-a-viz egg mass of a predatory insect-praying mantis. Because of its primarly preying nature, I started spelting it as preying mantis but my father corrected me by explaining that praying stands for its posture and mantis for prophet or fortune teller. Praying mantids in various colors of camouflage are very common in most of the crops grown in Hariyana but luckily or unluckily they are often mistaken as grasshoppers(God's horse or cow) by the people here. But actually they are more closely related to cockroaches and termites than grasshoppers and stick insects.

Practically praying mantises prey and eat any living organism they can successfully capture and devour. But insects may be herbivores, neutrals and carnivores form the main diet. They eat beetles, weevils, bugs, moths, butterflies and various insects available in our crops. Thus they act as natural pesticides for controlling the various leaf eating loopers and semiloopers, fruit eating bollworms, leaf folders and stem borers, bugs including notorious mealybug, weevils like grey weevil, and beetles like chefer, brown flower beetle and insect pests like jassids, aphids, hoppers. Most of the species of praying mantises are known to engage in cannibalism meaning thereby that they also consume praying mantises as food.
Thus praying mantises act as insecticides by way of preying and consuming so many insect pests in our crops otherwise we have to kill them by spraying chemical insectcides from market. We need not to multiply & market them for insect control but to recognize them and safegaurd them. They are available in each and every crop and that to totally free. Such heros of our war against pests should not remain unsung. The woman farmers from Nidana(Jind) have done this job meticulously.


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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.