Understanding the origin and diversification of organisms requires a good phylogenetic estimate of their age and diversification rates. This estimate can be difficult to obtain when samples are limited and fossil records are disputed, as in Dictyoptera. To choose among competing hypotheses of origin for dictyopteran suborders, we root a phylogenetic analysis (~800 taxa, 10 kbp) within a large selection of outgroups and calibrate datings with fossils attributed to lineages with clear synapomorphies. We find the following topology: (mantises, (other cockroaches, (Cryptocercidae, termites)). Our datings suggest that crown-Dictyoptera—and stem-mantises—would date back to the Late Carboniferous (~ 300 Mya), a result compatible with the oldest putative fossil of stem-dictyoptera. Crown-mantises, however, would be much more recent (~ 200 Mya; Triassic/Jurassic boundary). This pattern (i.e., old origin and more recent diversification) suggests a scenario of replacement in carnivory among polyneopterous insects. The most recent common ancestor of (cockroaches + termites) would date back to the Permian (~275 Mya), which contradicts the hypothesis of a Devonian origin of cockroaches. Stem-termites would date back to the Triassic/Jurassic boundary, which refutes a Triassic origin. We suggest directions in extant and extinct species sampling to sharpen this chronological framework and dictyopteran evolutionary studies.