Do Leaf Insects Need Heating?
Leaf insects thrive in tropical environments where they enjoy temperatures on the higher end of the spectrum. The higher temperatures keep the insect comfortable, aiding in the molting process and promoting growth and optimal mating outcomes.
It’s essential to heat your insect’s environment in captivity, but several key aspects are mentioned here. Let’s see how you can heat your insect’s enclosure safely and optimally and what you should know about the whole process.
Ideal Temperature for Leaf Insects
The average Leaf insect prefers environmental temperatures between 77 F and 86 °F. These are rather high compared to what other pet insects require on a daily basis. The Leaf insect will also need a 70 to 90% humidity level in its enclosure, especially when you have nymphs or the insect is getting close to molting.
The problem here is that the high temperature and humidity are the perfect ingredients to use if you wish to grow mold. And nobody wishes to grow mold. This means you need to verify your insect’s habitat to prevent mold growth regularly. The risk of mold growth is that much higher if the room temperature differs from that of the enclosure too much.
How to Heat Your Pet Leaf Insects?
You have 2 primary methods available:
– Use a Light Bulb
Light bulbs can provide the Leaf insect with the ideal temperature, and they’re a cheap and easy-to-procure heating alternative. However, it comes with 3 significant minuses that I need to mention:
- Cannot control the heat – Light bulbs don’t have temperature controls. You can monitor the environmental temperature to see when it reaches ideal parameters but can’t adjust the light bulb’s heat intensity. You can only turn it off, which will deprive your Leaf insect of light; not ideal, especially if the room is poorly lit during the day.
- Uneven heat distribution – The light bulb will deliver more heat in its close proximity and less heat in the enclosure’s farther regions. This uneven heating distribution can cause issues, leading your insects to migrate towards warmer/cooler regions, depending on the heat’s intensity.
- You need to shut it off during nighttime – Leaf insects are most active at night. They will rest during the day and walk around and eat during nighttime. This means that they need a stable day/night cycle, requiring you to turn off the lights every 12 hours. No light also means no heating, causing their habitat to cool off dangerous during the darker hours. Not recommended since Leaf insects don’t do too well with wild temperature fluctuations.
I would only recommend light bulbs as a last resort for these reasons.
– Heating Mat
Heating mats are ideal for heating your insect’s enclosure uniformly. They are thin, light, and can easily withstand your insect’s enclosure if you place it on top of them. A good option would be something like the VIVOSUN Heat Mat with a Digital Thermostat included. The benefits are numerous, including:
- Ensuring stable temperatures – The mat allows for easy temperature control. You can set the temperature to a given value or set it within a specific range.
- Extensive temperature range – The mat can provide temperatures between 40 to 108 °F, making it ideal for Leaf insects. The product also comes with a sensor probe designed to read the environmental temperature and adjust the values as necessary.
- Ease of use – You no longer have to adjust the temperature manually; the system will do it for you. You only need to set up your preferred temperature range and the mat will adjust accordingly.
A heating mat is ideal for your Leaf insect’s enclosure, allowing for even temperatures and more precise temperature control.
There are 2 aspects worth mentioning in relation to this topic:
- Keep stable room temperature – The room’s temperature will also influence your insect enclosure’s environmental temperature. You should set up your insects’ habitat in a room with stable temperatures and little temperature fluctuations throughout the day.
- Avoid extreme temperatures – Don’t go overboard with the heating system. Your Leaf insects will appreciate a warmer environment, but sometimes, things can get too heated up. They also hate cold environments. I recommend providing your Leaf insect with a slight uneven environment heating to avoid both extremes. This way, they can move to the area that best suits their preferences.
Can You Use a Heating Lamp for Leaf Insects?
You can, so long as your insects need it. Before purchasing a heat lamp, make sure that your Leaf insects actually need it. The same goes for acquiring a heating mat. This means you should assess and monitor room temperature over a period of several days. If it remains within desirable parameters and doesn’t fluctuate depending on the time of day, you don’t need any additional heating systems.
If the temperature does fluctuate, a heat lamp can be a great option. It’s better than incandescent and LED bulbs since the latter don’t produce enough heat.
Can Leaf Insects Die From Low Temperature?
Yes, they can. Leaf insects are the most comfortable at temperatures varying between 77 and 86 °F. They can withstand slightly lower temperatures for some time, if necessary, but extreme variations will turn deadly fast. Leaf insects require higher temperatures to sustain their metabolism and aid them during molting.
Subjecting your Leaf insects to low temperatures over extended periods can kill them. This makes the need for a reliable heating system that much more urgent, especially if your room’s temperature tends to fluctuate.
Leaf insects are rather sensitive to fluctuating environmental parameters. To thrive and remain healthy and safe in the long run, they require:
- Stable temperatures with as little fluctuations as possible
- High humidity, in the 70-90% range (you can achieve this via a moss-based substrate and spraying their enclosure daily)
- A steady day/night cycle
- Fresh food around the clock
- Higher temperatures and humidity for nymphs and adults getting ready to molt
A heating mat will handle most of these issues, providing you with greater control over your terrarium’s parameters.