Lady bugs and/or praying mantis

Any experience with releasing lady bugs and/or praying mantis in the garden?
Would any of these damage bonsais?
Would any of these really make any difference?
Would the praying mantis eat the lady bugs?
Would the lady bugs eat the praying mantis eggs before they hatch?
Costco sells both.

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You’re better off with ladybugs. Their beneficial predation is limited to the food supply of aphids in your garden. Since they’re flying insects, they may not stick around very long. Reproductive cycles shouldn’t be a problem as the eggs are not an issue and the pupae are predators not herbivores.

Praying mantis, however, don’t eat enough of a specific insect to make a beneficial impact. Yes, they may end up eating your ladybugs. Egg laying consists of an unsightly egg foam that hardens off to protect the eggs. Since bonsai relies on aesthetics, that’s a big negative.

“Costco sells both” For some reason, seeing this at the bottom of the list made me laugh.

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My dad, who is an entomologist, has told me that it’s better to create an environment that ladybugs find attractive and to try and lure them in. They are pollinators and insect hunters so you need flowers and prey to get them to stick around.

Once you do that, then you can purchase ladybugs as they will be more likely to stick around. Otherwise they will likely just fly off within a day or so looking for a better environment.


Thank you @nmhansen, @BillsBayou!

We have released both at different times. The lady bugs chose to go to greener pastures, and the praying mantis went to the neighbors. Problem is keeping them where you need them. :thinking:
They do not damage trees or plants and I think they would not eat each other.