Praying Mantis ootheca on Butterfly bushes that I want to prune back

Asked November 8, 2017, 12:27 PM EST

Thank you for your help. I have three butterfly bushes of unknown age, but they are not young. I keep them to help pollinators (bees and butterflies are my faves). I always find praying mantises living in them, and this year have 3-4 ootheca that I would like to keep healthy and happy until spring. I do understand that it is important to keep each ootheca oriented upright for proper development.

I have been told that I should have already pruned the bushes down to 18" from the ground this season. It will not work to leave only the branches with the ootheca on them on the bushes as my community's grounds crew is certain to cut them down when I am not home.

Would the ootheca be kept safely enough if I cut off all the branches and keep the ootheca-ed branches upright outside through the winter?

Thank you, KLS

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

Yes, you can leaves the branches with the oothecas outside. You can even move them around if you think of a better location in, say, spring.