Can Stick Insects Eat Lettuce?

Stick insects are herbivores that will eat a wide assortment of plants and vegetables. Among their staple foods is lettuce. It’s one of their favorite foods, in fact. But you’ll have to wash and clean it before feeding it to them. Stick insects are weak when it comes to falling sick, after all.

Make sure the lettuce doesn’t have any chemicals on it, like insecticides or pesticides. Even lettuce purchased from the supermarket may have chemical residues on it, let alone lettuce bought from local farmers. Wash it well, chop it into little bits, and throw it in the enclosure!

Your stick insects should jump at the occasion to munch on that crispy lettuce.

What Lettuce Can Stick Insects Eat?

Plain lettuce will do just fine, but Romaine lettuce, now that’s another deal. Stick insects have been shown to love Romaine lettuce especially. The green part is the tastiest to them, so you can remove the white basal stalk and only feed them the green part. You should also rinse and remove any bad spots from the lettuce before feeding it to them.

Stick insects are picky eaters, though. While they’ll enjoy any type of lettuce you provide, it has to be fresh, crispy, and moist. When it’s no longer crispy, you should remove it from the enclosure because the insects aren’t going to eat it anymore. The leafy part of lettuce appeals the most to stick insects, as well.

If you don’t remove old lettuce from the enclosure, it could rot and act as a chemical risk to your insects. They may get sick from the rotten lettuce, even though they shouldn’t try to eat it. But just to be safe, I recommend removing the lettuce once it becomes flappy and loses its crispiness.

Which Stick Insects Eat Lettuce?

The vast majority of stick insects will eat lettuce and be able to digest it. It’s a green vegetable, so why wouldn’t they eat it? However, there are several species of stick insects that aren’t keen on lettuce. They won’t eat it, in fact. Some Asian varieties fall in this category, so if you have one of those, do some research on its eating habits.

I couldn’t tell you exactly why they don’t eat lettuce since all stick insect species are herbivores, and lettuce is a vegetable. It’s just their personal preference, I guess, or an eating habit they’ve developed in time. Either way, you shouldn’t worry if you have any other species of stick insect.

The Vietnamese stick insect, for instance, is very friendly toward humans, kids especially, and likes to be handled. It also enjoys eating the dark green leaves of Romaine lettuce to a point where you can only feed it lettuce, and it’ll grow nicely. It also likes oak, blackberries, privet, raspberry, and hazel greenery.

How to Feed Lettuce to Your Stick Insects?

Preparing the lettuce leaves for your stick insects is a simple enough process. Knowing that your insects only like the green and fresh parts of lettuce should be a dead give-away of how to proceed. Cut apart the green parts (leaves) of the lettuce and place them in the enclosure. The stick insects will take care of the rest.

However, don’t feed them the white basal stalk because they won’t eat it. It’ll only rot away in the enclosure and put your insects at risk. The rot will surely endanger the insect’s environment in a couple of days left untouched.

One more thing you should know is that stick insects aren’t too resilient or hardy. They’ll fall ill if they eat bad stuff. Wash and rinse the lettuce thoroughly, and remove any brown parts from the leaves as well. The insects should actively avoid those parts, but you never know. Maybe your walking stick is incredibly hungry and won’t care about the brown parts.

Can Stick Insects Survive on Lettuce Only?

Relatively speaking, stick insects can survive on lettuce alone. But ask yourself this – can humans survive on eating potatoes alone? Sure, they do, but it’s extremely unhealthy and potentially deadly in some instances. Now, a stick insect’s biology is much simpler than a human’s, and its needs are also lesser.

While humans can “survive” on eating potatoes and drinking water alone, it’s not a life worth living. The lack of nutritional diversity is extremely unhealthy. Stick insects can survive on eating lettuce alone if the lettuce is always fresh, moist, and crispy, though. But why would you feed it only lettuce?

Try other plants, as well, such as oak, ivy, eucalyptus, beech, hawthorn, hazel, bramble, and rose leaves. The potential is limitless, almost. Stick insects aren’t too picky eaters when it comes to their veggies. They only want their food to be fresh and not spoiled and old. It’s just like humans!

Replace their vegetables and fresh leaves after a few days, or place them in water to prolong their freshness. After the veggies and leaves have started to wilt, you should replace them with new ones. The insects won’t eat wilted and old leaves because they don’t taste as good.

Do Baby Stick Insects Eat Lettuce?

If you thought adult stick insects are picky eaters, wait until you hear about young insects. They’re much more fragile and won’t eat anything unless it’s fresh and crispy. Adult insects may munch on leaves that are a few days old, but young stick insects won’t even touch them.

To make sure the food remains fresh for longer, take a small, flattish container and fill it with water. The container should remain stable at all times so that it doesn’t tip over and drown the insects. You can then cut the lettuce into small bits and place them in the water. The lettuce will retain its moisture and freshness for longer this way.

But for young stick insects, you need to take an additional step. While adults can crawl out of the container easily if they fall in the water, young insects can’t do that. I recommend placing a mosquito net on the container or tissue paper on overhanging branches to create a barrier.

The insects can walk on it, pick off the lettuce, eat it, and walk out without a problem. There’s no way they can get into the water because the tissue paper or mosquito net stops them. If the nymphs become larger, they shouldn’t need this sort of protection anymore.

How Often to Replace Lettuce Leaves?

The idea is never to keep wilted and spoilt food in the enclosure. Your stick insects prefer eating fresh and crispy food because they know it’s the best source of nutrients. Wilted leaves are tasteless, they lack nutrients, and they may even be toxic because they can rot over time.

When it comes to lettuce, there’s a surefire way of knowing when to replace it, though. The insects will have stripped the leaves bare. You should also know that these insects can eat more than you think. Faster, too! If you have more than one insect, you’ll need to add more lettuce in a shorter timeframe.

Check the lettuce for moisture every few hours, as well. Even if the lettuce is perfectly edible and fresh, if it isn’t moist, the stick insects won’t eat it. I recommend misting the enclosure daily to provide that extra moisture. You can mist the lettuce specifically to ensure it gets eaten by your insects.

Conclusion

Lettuce is a staple food for stick insects. Almost all 3,000 stick insect species will eat lettuce, except for a few Asian species. As long as it’s fresh, moist, and crispy, lettuce is one of the best foods you can feed your stick insects. Replace it regularly with fresh leaves once the insects have eaten their last portions.

Leave a comment down below if you have any questions!

Stick Insects   Updated: December 15, 2021
avatar Welcome to Insectic, a blog to learn about insects and bugs. I'm Richard, and I've created this website to share my experience, knowledge, and passion with others.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.