Introducing praying mantis
I am wondering if I could introduce praying mantis into my yard here in Winona. In my son's yard in Des Moines, one praying mantis completely eliminated a nasty aphid problem on his lemon verbena in just two days. I have read about ordering egg sacs. All of my research suggests that they even eat ticks, and as I was bitten by a deer tick while gardening in my yard, I am hopeful this might be an option.
The information I find seems to indicate that home gardeners are likely to have limited success with introduced praying mantis. They tend to fly away, or simply die since the environmental conditions are often not ideal. This is also the case with lady bugs or lady beetles.
They are indeed voracious eaters. Unfortunately, while they do eat pests, they also eat beneficial bugs as well as their own kind. It might be fun to watch them if you happen to have them in your yard, but it may not be worth spending much on them.
Aphids can usually be controlled by simply spraying with a hard jet of water. Unless they are causing an unacceptable amount of damage, the natural predators in your area will usually find them and control the population.