Winter food for sticks, hoppers, etc

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
I’m experimenting a bit with winter food for my bugs. The sticks, grasshoppers, and katydids all munch on oak leaves as their primary food in my care. Leaves are starting to fall off the trees, so it is time to gather my winter stash.

I plan to harvest some white oak leaves and freeze them. Ive had mixed results with this in the past... but its a reliable source of food when there are no alternatives.

Im also collecting and planting acorns, with the hope of growing a small oak garden. Oak sapplings could then be moved into the but containers to provide winter food, which would last longer than cut leave. So here goes...

I gathered a few different types of oak acorns. If a tree has acorns - its an oak! Some Oaks can also be easily identified by their leaves... especially white oak, which has round lobes around the leaf.

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I think I found acorns from 2 white oaks, a red oak, a willow oak, and a bur oak.

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You need to check the acorns for holes or cracks - as a beetle lays its larva in acorns. The larva eat the acorn and then emerge to pupate.

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Visual inspection isnt enough, though. To test for bad acorns, drop them in water. If they float, then the acorn is rotten or has an insect in it. If it sinks, its good!

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Next plant them in moist soil, a few inches deep, and then cover.

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I placed mine in my plant room, but a sunny window will work, too. Spray them to keep the soil moist, and hopefully in a months time I’ll have sapplings with a few leaves.

I laid the rest of the good acorns out to dry over the weekend, then I’ll pack them away... planting a dozen every week or so to keep a supply all winter. I think i will use the Jiffy seedling starters instead of soil, as they turn into convenient little pots when expanded. I’ll report back in a few weeks - hope this works!

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Rst_Cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hey, how's it going with your oak saplings? I've also collected a bunch of white oak acorns that I want to try this with.

My sticks won't touch romaine, ivy, or even privet. My raspberry bush is now dormant and my sticks haven't been eating, not even all the oak and raspberry leaves I froze. So in desperation I've been trying other plants. Creeping barberry is an evergreen that grows wild in my area, and my sticks are munching all over the sprigs of it that I put in their enclosure. It also stays fresh for a long time when put in a little water. Thank God!

I'm still going to try planting the acorns but happy to have found something different in the meantime!
 

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snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hey, how's it going with your oak saplings? I've also collected a bunch of white oak acorns that I want to try this with.

My sticks won't touch romaine, ivy, or even privet. My raspberry bush is now dormant and my sticks haven't been eating, not even all the oak and raspberry leaves I froze. So in desperation I've been trying other plants. Creeping barberry is an evergreen that grows wild in my area, and my sticks are munching all over the sprigs of it that I put in their enclosure. It also stays fresh for a long time when put in a little water. Thank God!

I'm still going to try planting the acorns but happy to have found something different in the meantime!
Nice! My oaks haven't sprouted at all yet :( Hoping my frozen oak cuttings make due for a while. I'll have to try to find some wild blackberry otherwise (think I might know a spot)
 

Tihshho

Established Member
Will these species eat grasses? I ask because grass grows fast and you might be able to supplement something like wheatgrass to get a bit of extra minerals in the gutload process.
 

Rst_Cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
Nice! My oaks haven't sprouted at all yet :( Hoping my frozen oak cuttings make due for a while. I'll have to try to find some wild blackberry otherwise (think I might know a spot)
Did you put your acorns in fridge first? My sister in law sprouts acorns by putting them in fridge first for a few weeks.
 

Rst_Cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
Will these species eat grasses? I ask because grass grows fast and you might be able to supplement something like wheatgrass to get a bit of extra minerals in the gutload process.
I don't think so. Apparently they would rather die then eat the "wrong"food. I am sprouting grasses for my baby grasshoppers though.
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
I don't think so. Apparently they would rather die then eat the "wrong"food. I am sprouting grasses for my baby grasshoppers though.
Good evening! What sort of grasses are you using for hoppers? Im going to plant some rye and wheat grass, as well as clover for some incoming hoppers. Hoping my red legged grasshoppers gave me eggs, too... but not too hopeful.

Acorns are in the fridge and im resisting the urge to pull them out early :)
 

SauceGandhi

Member
Good evening! What sort of grasses are you using for hoppers? Im going to plant some rye and wheat grass, as well as clover for some incoming hoppers. Hoping my red legged grasshoppers gave me eggs, too... but not too hopeful.

Acorns are in the fridge and im resisting the urge to pull them out early :)
Both of those grasses work great for them but honestly it's easier to just feed them greens from the grocery store lol.

You can dig out the eggs to check for them if you're not sure. It doesn't hurt the eggs so you can just bury them back in and they'll hatch out fine.
 

Rst_Cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
My hoppers didn’t go for the grasses I tried, I think they were a rye and barley mix. But then I had Romaine in there at same time so maybe they just prefer the store greens? I have regular grass in with the babies now (found some still alive in green belt nearby that I dug up and planted in pot for them. Not sure if they are eating it but they do like hanging out on it when they are tiny.
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
So it only took about FOUR MONTHS to get some sprouts.

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I think this could be a viable option, but at this size and time to germinate.... I think I’d best start my winter stash in late summer. I need about 6 per week, so that would be about 150 seedlings! Totally doable... If i get double the leaves (gasp, six!) after a few months of active growth then I can get away with maybe 100.
 

Rst_Cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
So it only took about FOUR MONTHS to get some sprouts.

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I think this could be a viable option, but at this size and time to germinate.... I think I’d best start my winter stash in late summer. I need about 6 per week, so that would be about 150 seedlings! Totally doable... If i get double the leaves (gasp, six!) after a few months of active growth then I can get away with maybe 100.
Wow! I’m lazy and never tried germinating mine. My sticks have been eating winter creeper all winter which is easy and grows in parking lots near me. I put the sprigs in water cups and they last weeks. Now that I have them being misted twice a day with the mist king they are very low maintenance insects. I love them. No eggs yet though and I think mine are adults now.

Are you producing eggs?
 

snitz427

Chameleon Enthusiast
The viets are producing pretty well. My other sticks havent done great. Im considering adding a mist king as well. How long do you mist? Im thinking like a 5s burst 2x a day should be good for all the bugs.

Im not sure where my problem is but I suspect food is part of it. My oak clippings sit low in a 30” tall cage so I rigged up sometbing to spread them out and up to make food easier to find. Added some plastic and a humidifier (for plants) to bump up humidity. Auto watering and refilling food are all I can really do now.

Im worried Im going to run out of food, though. I have a friend with blackberry so Im going to pop in and pray hers has leaves (mine does not)
 

Thatwizard420

Avid Member
Look Up Quercus fusiformis "Joan Lionetti"
Its a cultivar created here at Civano Growers, Grows hella fast, grows beautifully and its an evergreen. We don't have seeds available as we propagate them using cuttings.
the pic below is from one of our Mother trees here at the farm
 

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Rst_Cham

Chameleon Enthusiast
The viets are producing pretty well. My other sticks havent done great. Im considering adding a mist king as well. How long do you mist? Im thinking like a 5s burst 2x a day should be good for all the bugs.

Im not sure where my problem is but I suspect food is part of it. My oak clippings sit low in a 30” tall cage so I rigged up sometbing to spread them out and up to make food easier to find. Added some plastic and a humidifier (for plants) to bump up humidity. Auto watering and refilling food are all I can really do now.

Im worried Im going to run out of food, though. I have a friend with blackberry so Im going to pop in and pray hers has leaves (mine does not)
Sorry Natalie, just realized I never replied to you. I was running two 30 second sessions (One at 8am and another at 8pm) with my new Mist King. (Until yesterday when my reservoir sprung a leak and long store short is my timer and pump both got wet and now wont work! I think I'm going to have to replace the timer for sure, I'm going to start there)
 
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