Tips and Questions on Rearing Insects

Since we have to rear insects in order to document their lifecycles, and not many people know how to do this, we thought we’d make a place to figure out problems and questions.  (For basic information, see the links in the ‘Raising Insects” section.)  If you leave a question or a suggestion as a comment, we’ll try to incorporate that information onto this page.

1. Sawflies and leaf mining Diptera – does anyone have suggestions on how to rear them successfully?

2. MJ puts milled peat in the bottom of her rearing jars in case the larvae go below ground to pupate.  Peat has some anti bacterial properties and probably helps keep things safely moist when sprayed with water during the winter.

3. How to raise insects that live on fungi?  The fruiting parts of fungi don’t live very long, so it’s hard to know how to keep the insects alive.  (See Jim McClarin’s link below.)

4. How to raise Diptera larvae that eat rust spores?

5. How to raise anything that needs to be kept damp?

Edith Smith has some suggestions for caring for butterflies.  What to do if the chrysalis falls from where it’s hanging.  And: How to keep chrysalises hydrated.

Chris (JCM Digital Imaging) has some great suggestions for rearing insects on his web site.   Click here to see  information on the  techniques and inexpensive equipment he suggests.

Chris is also doing a very detailed series of videos about how he rears White-Streaked Silk Moths.  The first two parts are finished.  Part one.  Part two.  One interesting thing to notice is that the timing in California is different than for midwestern Giant Silkmoths.  Cecropia and other Giant Silkmoths I’ve raised in the midwest spend the winter as cocoons, and eclose, mate, and lay eggs in the late spring.

Jim McClarin has detailed suggestions for rearing beetles from fungus, and techniques for collecting and photographing insects.

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