Stick Insect Environmental Alert

by | Aug 29, 2017

Giant Vietnamese Stick Insect (Baculum extradentatum)

Giant Vietnamese Stick Insect (Baculum extradentatum)

Do you have a pet stick insect, or a colony of them that you have been caring for? Even if you have just one bug, you could end up with more of them than you know what to do with. These insects reproduce by parthenogenesis, which means the female can self-fertilize and produce young without mating. One female can make dozens of eggs, and each of her offspring can do the same. As many people learn to their regret, the descendants of one stick insect can take over a huge aquarium in rapid time. More seriously, the stick insects could become a major pest if they were to escape into the wild, either as adults or as eggs.

One stick insect can produce dozens of offspring, even without a mate.

One stick insect can produce dozens of offspring, even without a mate.

What you need to know:

  • As a possibly invasive species, the U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates stick insects. They should not be given to anyone who does not have a permit for them.
  • Pacific Science Center is often contacted to take these insects, and we will always accept them. We encourage you to do this so that you do not have unpermitted and possibly harmful insects in your possession.
  • We cannot guarantee that any particular group of insects will be used on exhibit. What we can guarantee is that you made a great decision to help the environment by keeping them out of the outdoors.
  • If you own stick insects, please do not give away the extras to friends or acquaintances – even giving away one insect at a time will not stop them from reproducing.
  • If you are given stick insects and choose to keep them, be aware that any – even just one – will probably reproduce. However, you can take steps to prevent an invasive population.
  • First, clean your stick insects’ cage weekly and then freeze all the cage litter for at least three days before composting. If you do this regularly, you should be able to enjoy your adult stick insect for her entire lifespan and avoid creating a population of young.

Most stick insects from the order Phasmatodea are parthenogenic.

Most stick insects from the order Phasmatodea are parthenogenic.

Other areas in the U.S. have had invasive stick insect populations, and the damage can be serious. We are happy to do our part to keep this from happening in the Pacific Northwest.

Thank you for helping.

 

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