Stick insect care/feeding?

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
#1
So I've been looking into different 'odd' feeder colonies for the future. Mantids are awesome. But seem to be too much hassle. Sticks on the other hand don't seem too difficult other than a couple concerns. I particularly like D. Gigantea as they look to be maybe the best feeders with their color and large meaty size(especially since I'm feeding adult Panthers and a Parsons). I'm wondering how people consistently feed them that don't have any of their food sources growing nearby. I pulled this off nick barta's site fullthrottlefeeders:

"Food

My main food is Blackberry as I have it year-round. They will also eat Eucalyptus, Oak, Raspberry, and Sweet Bay (Laurus nobilis)."

I don't know of any of this that grows near me, especially through winter. And I'm not sure how much they eat. I have no experience growing blackberry or any of those mentioned, but could a plant be grown indoors to supply their food? Or is it pretty much a no-go unless I have tons available outside?

Would appreciate any input! Even suggestions on some unique feeders to colonize would be cool. I really enjoy the bug aspect of this all.
 

nick barta

Chameleon Enthusiast
Site Sponsor
#2
James,

If your colony of any stick insect is small, food is easier, and could be grown. If you are going to have large colonies like I do, you will want to have it in quantities that survive year round in your neighborhood. You will also want to be able to harvest it easily once a week. One 70-foot Eucalyptus tree where you can't reach the branches doesn't do much good... There are some areas of the US that have oak that doesn't loose its leaves, or Eucalyptus which is also year-round.

Several stick/leaf keepers have reported keeping colonies going through the winter months on frozen Oak branches, frozen Blackberry vines, and Fresh Romaine Lettuce. I hesitate to share this information as I am not sure those keepers experiences will work for anyone who tries them.

The Diapherodes Gigantea is an awesome stick insect, very gentle to handle, and bright lime green, a great large chameleon feeder.

The Indian Stick, E. Calcarata, and S. Inexpectata all eat Ivy and ANYONE can buy and grow Ivy all year.

CHEERS!

Nick
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
#3
@nick barta thank you! I'm really leaning toward D. Gigantea, they look pretty cool, the wife isn't even bothered by them, and I'm sure my chams would love one once and awhile. Just going to have to figure out how I'd handle the feeding. I've read it can sometimes be tricky to get the nymphs to eat. Have you experienced this?
 
#4
I raise Vietnamese giant sticks. They eat raspberry, oak and rose. You should check if they eat rose as that can be easy to get and comes in earlier in the spring and is available later in the fall than raspberry and oak.if

Remember... This was my experience with Vietnamese giant sticks but most of them are similar.

I had a big set back and thought I was losing them all because I was told they should will eat dried leaves.... They will, but not not dried oak.... At least not much. And the nymphs barely touched it if at all. They didn't really like the romaine either. I was able to get rose until about mid December (maryland) and it came back in March. I had a little dried raspberry and rose and they nibbled romaine. that enabled me to keep 2 nymphs alive plus some late hatching nymphs from my deceased adults until the rose came back. The two nymphs which never came close to adult size and were in a 10 gallon aquarium (way to small) died but not before laying eggs. I was quite surprised when new nymphs showed up. Meanwhile, the late hatching nymphs are in my butterfly cage and are doing well. I think I have 7 left plus a bunch of smaller nymphs in the 10 gallon.

this winter's plan. I will cut my numbers down to like 2 adults, 4 medium - large nymphs and 6 small nymphs plus whatever eggs are around. I will have frozen and refrigerated oak, raspberry and rose. Raspberry and rose branches in water in the cool garage. And as back up, a small wild rose plant potted under an LED light. It may not be enough light for it to thrive but should keep it alive.
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
#5
Thank you @NickTide looks like I'll have to search around the area for any of their food sources. Or somehow grow blackberry or raspberry indoors. I don't see anything about D. Gigantea eating rose. Even if, I hear Rose plants you buy at the nurseries are covered in a pesticide that doesn't wash off? Which makes me wonder if other plants have that as well and how they make it so it can't be washed off.
 
#7
You need a minimum height of 2x the length of the bug. Everyone recommends going 3x to be on the safe side. If their molt is messed up, they often die. A 36" tall butterfly cage will work. Full throttle uses a 12x18x30.
 
#9
Looks like raspberry grows everywhere in the US except southern half of Florida. Grows in Canada and into mexico. Same for wild rose. They both seem to like the edge of wooded areas or houses where they get some shade.
 

nick barta

Chameleon Enthusiast
Site Sponsor
#10
@nick barta thank you! I'm really leaning toward D. Gigantea, they look pretty cool, the wife isn't even bothered by them, and I'm sure my chams would love one once and awhile. Just going to have to figure out how I'd handle the feeding. I've read it can sometimes be tricky to get the nymphs to eat. Have you experienced this?
No, the trick is to spray them once morning and night-these sticks drink from the leaves. Without extra water to drink they will die, but a GREAT chameleon feeder, no spikes, lime green, and I have them hatching now.

CHEERS!

Nick
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
#13
James, if you can figure out a food source I can send some D. gigantes with your order... :)

Nick
Really appreciate all of the tips. Do they take to rose? I might be able to find some. Going to see if I can find any of the others around. Not sure how I'll supply over the winter yet. I have tons of oak leaf litter, but the leaves are brown. I'd imagine they only eat the green stuff... For water, was thinking I could just add a nozzle to my mist king.
 
#15
They will take Rose, and Rose tends to be evergreen. some keepers have said branches with dried leaves on them do get their sticks through the winter.

CHEERS!

Nick
Wish I could have found them over the winter. First they became hard to find, then impossible for me. I read the same about raspberry but after checking on my property, two neighbors (we are country) the school near me and the school where I work, I gave up. It must be certain species that don't live here.
 
#16
Looks like raspberry grows everywhere in the US except southern half of Florida. Grows in Canada and into mexico. Same for wild rose. They both seem to like the edge of wooded areas or houses where they get some shade.
Nick you are correct about the raspberry growing everywhere, the problem is it does not grow year round everywhere. You already know I live in Montana, and I only have raspberries about 4 months a year.
 

JoshD49

Chameleon Enthusiast
#18
Stick insects seem to be a little more challenging and space consuming then I thought. I know @jamest0o0 and I were talking about this before and would have loved to set these up because they would look cool for the kids to see and learn before they become cham food. haha. I have seen one in my back yard but it was dead and I have no idea what species it was. I cannot remember what season it was. I have a huge open area behind my house and may go out and see if I can find more but it is major rattlesnake territory so I am a bit nervous to go walking around out there. Most of the area got damaged in the socal fires late last year so this may have changed what can be found out there at all.
 

JoshD49

Chameleon Enthusiast
#20
I had no idea either and this one could have been an escaped pet or something but with all the people who live here I think all sorts of things that shouldn't live here do. I even found a possom in my backyard that I had no idea were here. I also have tons of mantis here (depending on the season).
 
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