The Correct Climate

Apart from the suitable food plants, the climate is an important factor for successfully breeding phasmids. But what is the right climate? This mainly depends on the origin of the culture in question, and basically we attempt to realize culture conditions which at least resemble those in the nature, as far as possible according to our possibilities. Luckily many phasmid species tolerate a wider range of climatic conditions, especially when they have the chance to adapt during their first nymphal stages. Thus it is advisable to start a new culture with eggs, as freshly hatched nymphs adapt better to various climatic conditions than older nymphs or even adult specimens.

Humidity & Ventilation

Species from tropical habitats usually require a higher humidity than species which originate from a drier or even arid habitat like savannas, seaside or smaller islands. Consequently, we make a distinction between species requiring humid or rather dry conditions. As a general rule, most island inhabiting species (even from tropical regions, like the Caribbean Islands or West Indies) require a rather dry and well-ventilated atmosphere. Whereas species like many of the small and well-flying species (subfamily Necrosciinae) or Eurycnema and Anchiale require good ventilation during the day, they should be offered a higher humidity at night to ensure successful molting of the nymphs.

A ventilator can be placed in the breeding room or a small PC-ventilator can be installed at the top of the cage. During the day these ventilators can be switched on for several short periods (e.g. 5 times for 20 minutes) by using a timer switch. Generally, a humidity of about 70% is good enough for most species which originate from tropical areas.

Females of many species seem to require plenty of drinking water to prevent them from dehydrating. This can be offered by placing a flat jar or plant pot saucer on the cage-floor, which is useful for large, bulky species like e.g. Eurycantha, Haaniella,Heteropteryx, Aretaon) or by regularly spraying the food plants with fresh water.

For species which require a humid atmosphere, a plastic-container filled with damp sand or vermiculite or a layer of wet kitchen-paper is placed on the cage-floor. If a container with sand / vermiculite is used, then it is best to cover it with gauze to prevent eggs and faeces falling into it. This reduces the development of mould and makes the cleaning of the cage easier.

Temperature

Generally, phasmids do not demand precise temperature ranges. The temperature mainly influences the duration of egg incubation and the development of nymphs. For most species a room temperature of around 20 - 24°C is good. Even short cold periods down to 10°C are endured easily, if they do not last longer than a few hours. Nevertheless it is advisable that tropical species are not exposed to temperatures below 16°C for more than a few hours or at the most a few days in a row. On the other hand it is best to avoid high temperatures above 28°C. Temperatures of 22 - 24°C during the day and 19 - 22°C during the night have proven to be good values for many phasmids.

Species from cooler regions like e.g. the mediterranean Bacillus or from high-mountain habitats should obviously be kept cooler than tropical species.

Lighting

While phasmids shall not be kept in complete darkness, lighting is also not the most important factor for a successful breeding. However, at least some light is needed in order to have a photoperiod. If the room, wherein the phasmids are kept, does not get enough natural light, then it can be lightened up with some energy-saving LED lamps for about 12 hours a day.

Care should be taken, that the cage and insects are never exposed to direct sunlight as this may raise the temperature in the cage too much extreme - especially if not well ventilated.