Do You Spray Stick Insects with Water?
Stick insects are fun and low-maintenance pets. There’s not much that you have to do to keep them happy and healthy. However, that’s not to say that you can just let them be and they’ll take care of themselves. You still have to provide high-quality food, clean the enclosure, and keep an eye on their living parameters.
With regards to living parameters, humidity is one of the most important and tricky factors to get right. If you’re wondering how or why you should keep an eye on the humidity levels in the enclosure, you’re in the right place! Today we’ll talk about the importance of spraying stick insects, how to do it properly, and more!
Why Should You Spray Your Stick Insects?
There are two main reasons why you’ll have to spray your stick insects’ enclosure regularly. First, stick insects need direct hydration. Just like any other living being on earth, stick insects require water to survive and thrive.
However, unlike other pets, it’s difficult to tell when your stick insect is getting thirsty or dehydrated. That’s why they need a constant supply of water. Because they get their hydration from small water droplets on the surfaces of leaves, it’s important to keep the leaves fresh and misted.
Second, you have to maintain proper humidity in the enclosure. Stick insects need warm and humid environments, especially while molting. If the humidity drops too low, the stick insect’s exoskeleton will become too rigid and difficult to get out of.
Not only does this increase the risk of injury and deformity, but it can also be potentially fatal to your stick insect pets. But spraying the enclosure is a quick and easy way to raise the humidity to the desired level.
How Often Should You Mist Stick Insects?
As a general rule, you should mist the enclosure anywhere between once a day to once a week. The exact answer will depend upon the time of the year and the climate where you live. If it gets very hot, you might need to mist the enclosure more often than average.
During colder months, you could get away with doing it less often. Your stick insect species will also play a role because different species have different humidity requirements. I personally think it’s better to go for more misting, rather than less. Just remember to keep an eye on the substrate, leaves, and corners of the enclosure.
High humidity often leads to mold and fungi, and you don’t want that. Just lightly mist the space once a day or once every couple of days. And always make sure that there’s enough water on the surface of the leaves because direct hydration is crucial for stick insects.
What Water to Use for Misting?
The water you use for misting the enclosure itself shouldn’t matter that much. However, when misting the leaves, you need to make sure the water you’re using is free from chlorine, fluorine, or other similar chemicals. Stick insects are highly sensitive to treated water, and if they consume it directly, they might even die.
It’s highly unlikely that the water you get straight out of the tap hasn’t been treated in some way. To be on the safe side, I recommend only using de-chlorinated tap water or distilled water. You can even use a reverse osmosis filter to purify your water.
These filters are versatile, being able to remove most chemicals like chloride, fluoride, or nitrates. They can also greatly reduce harmful heavy metals like arsenic or lead. Another good option is using rainwater or melted snow, but you may not always have access to these water sources.
What is the Ideal Humidity for Stick Insects?
Most stick insects thrive in moderate humidity conditions, around 75%. But even closer to 80% would be fine. There are some minor differences between species, but overall, all of them require moderate humidity for molting.
If these humidity requirements aren’t met, this could harm your stick insects’ health. However, humidity that’s too low isn’t the only issue. In fact, humidity levels can also climb too high, leading to mold or fungal growth. These micro-organisms can be dangerous or even fatal for your insects. To closely monitor and keep humidity levels within range, you should consider investing in an electronic humidity monitor.
While we’re on this topic, I should also mention that the enclosure should be well ventilated. This is the best way to prevent mold or fungal growth. A mesh top enclosure is perfect in that sense because it can keep humidity levels stable, while still providing good ventilation.
What Happens If You Don’t Mist Stick Insects?
Failing to mist your stick insects’ enclosure can be dangerous. The first result will be mild dehydration. If the terrarium keeps humidity well, your stick insects should be fine for a short period, because they’re still getting some hydration from the water in the leaves they eat.
As humidity levels begin to drop, especially if the enclosure has a high temperature, things can become dangerous. Due to their small overall body surface, stick insects are prone to losing water quickly. And the rate of water loss is higher for smaller stick insects.
As the body loses moisture, the insects will go through a lot of stress. Extreme dehydration can affect vital functions, excretion, and also molting and growth. Molting in low humidity conditions can result in deformity, injury, or even missing limbs. If the problem goes on for too long, the results of dehydration can be fatal.
As you can see, hydration is very important for the health and wellbeing of your stick insects. Stick insects are prone to moisture loss, and they need to stay hydrated for proper molting and growth.
You should always ensure that the moisture levels in the terrarium are optimal. Roughly 75% humidity is ideal. Luckily, achieving this is as easy as lightly misting the enclosure once a day.
Any type of untreated or filtered water should be fine for misting the enclosure and the leaves. And remember to keep an eye out for signs of mold formation.