Do Stick Insects Eat Eucalyptus Leaves?
Eucalyptus is often in the top recommendations for stick insect feed. But these leaves aren’t always easy to come by. If you’re just starting out keeping insects and need some extra help, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, I’ll give you some useful tips for where to find Eucalyptus leaves.
I’ll also teach you how to select, prepare, and feed them to your stick insects. Finally, if you might still struggle to find Eucalyptus leaves in your area, I’ve also included a handy list of alternative plants loved by most stick insect species. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it!
Where to Get Eucalyptus Leaves for Your Stick Insects?
Eucalyptus is actually not one single plant but a genus of over 700 species. Most species are native to Australia, with some being found in Indonesia and New Guinea as well. These plants can vary in size from tall trees to small shrubs.
While they aren’t native to the Americas, Europe, or East and Central Asia, they have been introduced to these continents centuries ago. And they make very popular plants. Chances are, if you live in a temperate climate, you’ll be able to find some species of Eucalyptus in botanical gardens, parks, or even home gardens.
However, the best place where you’re guaranteed to find Eucalyptus is a nursery. Check your local area for a nursery shop or try looking up some online retailers. You should be able to find small shrubs for sale. You can grow these in the privacy of your own home using containers.
These plants grow incredibly fast and have a perennial life-cycle, so you’ll never run out of leaves. Alternatively, you can also buy branches and leaves online. You can find shops specializing in stick insect feed, so you’re guaranteed that the leaves are fresh and free of pesticides.
How to Feed Eucalyptus Leaves to Your Stick Insects?
There are some things you should remember when preparing a delicious green meal for your stick insects. The first and most important one is to choose only clean, pesticide-free leaves. Even if you have access to Eucalyptus in your area, it might not be a good idea to collect these leaves.
Avoid picking Eucalyptus leaves from trees or shrubs that are close near roads or farms. These leaves are likely to be contaminated by pesticides or pollution. Stick insects are very sensitive to these factors and they could even die if they are exposed to them.
The second thing you should consider is freshness. Stick insects won’t eat dry or withered leaves. Old leaves are also lower in nutrition and water, both of which are very important for your bugs’ health. When selecting leaves, pick the nicest looking ones but avoid the young, small ones. These have a higher concentration of Eucalyptus oil, which might upset digestion in bugs.
The third and final detail is serving and storing the leaves. Always put the leaves in a shallow water container when placing them in the enclosure. This will keep them fresh for up to a week if you change the water regularly. Spray the leaves a few times a day so your insects have a steady supply of water. Replace the leaves every 2-3 days or once a week at most.
Can Stick Insects Only Eat Eucalyptus Leaves?
Most species of stick insects will eat Eucalyptus leaves. However, that doesn’t mean that their diet needs to focus on Eucalyptus exclusively. If you want to put your stick insect on a eucalyptus-only diet, you could. But you can always try to introduce other leaves into their diet and see how they like it.
I should also mention that different stick insects prefer different types of eucalyptus. They’re quite picky when it comes to their preferred diet. Most Eucalyptus species are fine, but each stick insect has its absolute favorite.
Whether you decide to try feeding your bugs different Eucalyptus species, or different plant leaves altogether, have no fear. Stick insects have a natural-born talent for detecting whether a plant is toxic for them. If you feed them a plant that they don’t like, they will simply not eat it. So, there’s no risk in trying to diversify their diet.
What Other Leaves Can Stick Insects Eat?
Do you want to add more leaves to your bugs’ diet but aren’t sure where to start? With so many different leaves to choose from, it can seem like a daunting task. But there are some common plant choices that most stick insects love. So, if you want to play it safe, you can try feeding your stick insect some of the following:
The same rules apply when preparing and feeding any of the above leaves. All of these leaves make a safe and nutritious addition to their diet as long as they’re fresh, clean, and pesticide-free. There’s one important thing to note about bramble. The young, bright-green leaves are toxic to stick insects. Always look for larger, darker leaves.
Eucalyptus leaves are a nice exotic choice for your stick bug’s diet. They might be a bit difficult to find in the wild if you don’t live in Australia. But Eucalyptus is still popular enough that you might be able to find potted shrubs in nurseries or online shops.
The species of Eucalyptus doesn’t matter that much. You can feed your insects any type of Eucalyptus leaves you can find, as long as they’re clean and fresh. Additionally, you can also substitute Eucalyptus with some of the other plants mentioned in the article.