What To Feed Your Small Nymphs?
As nymphs mantids are pretty small. The best food item to offer them is fruit flies from first instar upwards until they’re big enough to take on green bottle flies. The two species of fruit fly readily available are:
Drosophila Hydei (Black fruit fly) – 2-3mm
Drosophila Melanogaster (Small fruit fly) – 1.5-2mm
You can buy both of these flies from a site called Advanced Husbandry. They also sell culture kits which allow you to breed your own fruit flies. This is very simple and cost effective once you have a good few mantids.
What To Feed Larger mantids?
For larger mantids I like to feed mainly just flies. I go to my local fishing tackle shop and buy “pinky maggots”. I keep these in the fridge and take out as many as I need every few days and place them in to a separate tub. I let these pupate and hatch at a room temperature of around 22-26c. They hatch in to green bottle flies within around 1-3 weeks. Mantids love flying prey so these are ideal for pretty much all species!
You can do the same with normal maggots and they hatch in to a slightly larger fly , the blue bottle fly.
I do also occasionally feed large species locusts/cockroaches. When feeding these larger prey items you should supervise the feeding and make sure you see your mantis eat the prey. Sometimes larger prey can bite and injure the mantis. Always avoid feeding your mantis crickets as there have been many deaths linked with feeding crickets to your mantis. Crickets can make your mantis ill and they will start to throw up vomit and it can eventually kill them.