Party time in stick bug land

I was not able to sleep last night because of how noisy my pet stick bugs were. Call me weird if you want, but I am the proud momma of 30 stick bugs at the moment. I’m working on raising my third generation of stick bugs in my room.

The specific species of stick bugs that I own are scientifically called Baculum extradentatum and originate from Vietnam. They are tropical insects that seem pretty boring on the outside, but once you have to live with them, it’s a different story.Stick bug nymph eating a rose leaf

To sum it up, they look and act like sticks. They even take up a swaying type of movement that mimics twigs in the wind. Some complain that they are boring and don’t do much after watching them for five minutes. Wrong! Once nighttime rolls around and the lights go out, it’s party time in stick bug land.

Stick bugs are nocturnal. It’s easy for predators such as birds to spot sticks moving around during the day, so they do their business when it’s dark. This video shows a very large stick bug, but is a perfect example of how they look and move.

I pack the terrarium with rose leaves, their food of choice. The problem is, when the leaves start to dry out even the slightest bit, you can hear every crunch, bite and rustle made. Imagine lying in bed trying to catch some Zzz’s when all you hear is “crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch,” in your ear.

When this happened last night and the noise stopped for a minute, I thought, “FINALLY!”

But no sooner did I know it, another stick bug decided it wanted to walk around all over the leaves, while a few others sounded like they were doing jumping jacks in there.

After a while, I learned there was no way to keep the stick bugs from partying at night. That’s their time to shine, so it’s only fair to let them be. I used to get annoyed and shine a flashlight on them, which scared them into keeping still, but they quickly became immune to the flashlight. Poor innocent bugs.

Adult stick bug molting

Here are a few fun facts about stick bugs so you can understand them a little better:

1. Stick bugs are parthenogenic, meaning the females don’t need men in their lives. They can lay eggs without having to mate with a male. When this happens, the nymphs that hatch end up as carbon copies of the mother.

2. Male stick bugs are rare in most cases and stay pretty small compared to their stick bug lady friends.

3. Stick bugs molt their skin to grow… and then eat it! That’s right, these bugs quickly get rid of the evidence so there isn’t what looks like a lifeless bug chilling on a leaf leaving the habitat open for predators to strike.

4. Stick bugs can eat their way through entire gardens and fields! Picture hundreds of “harmless” stick bugs chowing down on a garden of roses or ivy. Can’t picture it? Look at this. They have been known to cause major environmental problems if irresponsibly released into the wild.

5. Every adult female lays hundreds of eggs during her lifespan. This video is a perfect example of how stick bugs flick their eggs onto the ground and let ants harvest them instead.

6. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, it is illegal to sell, import or distribute tropical species of stick bugs. I haven’t found anything about breeding or housing them, so I hope that doesn’t make my bugs an illegal operation. 

7. Lastly, young stick bugs can re-grow their legs. Check out theses pictures of a stick bug growing back its leg. Their limbs fall off easily because they are so thin and fragile. They only have leg-growing abilities, so if one loses an antenna at a young age, it will grow a leg in its place. Weird, right?

Here is a video I shot of a decapitated stick bug leg that just kept kicking. Yea, they tend to do that.

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