Do Stick Insects Need Heating?
Stick insects have specific requirements when it comes to diet and living environment. With that in mind, you might be wondering about the best way to set up your first stick insect terrarium. Do you have to buy any extra gadgets, such as heating equipment? That’s what we’ll discuss in today’s article.
These bugs prefer certain temperature ranges, but there’s more than just one way to satisfy their needs. So, let’s learn more about the ideal temperature for stick insects, what your options are for achieving this value, and what to look out for when setting up the enclosure.
Ideal Temperature for Stick Insects
The best way to keep healthy and happy stick insects is to closely mimic their natural environment. And when it comes to temperature, stick insects like being fairly warm. The exact temperature range might depend according to species, but around 70-78 °F is fine for most.
Stick insects can also tolerate lower temperatures ranging from 57-68 °F. As long as the temperatures don’t fluctuate or drop too low, there won’t be any damage done. Even if you drop below the ideal temperature range, your bugs can still be healthy.
But different temperature ranges might produce different growth outcomes. Higher temperatures encourage appetite and growth, while lower temperatures are believed to help increase a stick insect’s lifespan. Lower temperatures could potentially stunt growth.
How to Maintain Proper Temperature for Your Stick Insect?
Most common stick insect species don’t require additional heating. You can achieve the optimal temperature level just by keeping your insects in a warm room. However, things might not be as simple as they sound.
You can’t just put your insects in a warm room and be done with it. You’ll still have to closely monitor the temperature in the enclosure. Sudden or frequent temperature fluctuations can cause negative health outcomes in your pets. Luckily there are a few things you can do to avoid temperature fluctuations.
– Use a Light Bulb
A light bulb can work well for heating a smaller-sized enclosure. However, be very careful when setting this heating system. Your stick bugs shouldn’t be able to reach or touch the light bulb. Because the surface can get very hot, the bugs could burn their legs or injure other parts of their body.
There are different lightbulbs you can choose from. However, a ceramic infrared heating bulb would work best. Stick insects are nocturnal, so if the heating bulb you choose emits light constantly, your bugs won’t come out of hiding to eat and move around.
However, an infrared bulb produces very little visible light, so it won’t interfere with your bugs’ natural day and night cycle.
– Use a Heating Mat
A heating mat makes a great option for all kinds of enclosures, including larger-sized ones. These come in a variety of sizes, and they’re user-friendly and easy to install. But perhaps the biggest advantage of a heating mat is its precision.
You can input the temperature you want, and you’re sure that the enclosure won’t get too hot. They also heat their entire working area uniformly, so there won’t be any cold spots or burning-hot areas.
If you’re considering investing in a mat, I’d really recommend this VIVOSUN Seedling Heat Mat and Digital Thermostat Combo Set. Having used it myself, I can only praise this product for its simplicity and efficiency. It requires zero effort to set up and program. The user interface is as intuitive as they get.
All you have to do is press a button, and you can easily set your desired temperature. Then, you just sit back and let it work its magic. This mat creates and maintains a stable, uniform heat anywhere between 68-86 °F. You can also switch between Fahrenheit and Celsius in the display settings.
– Maintain Stable Room Temperature
You can also achieve a suitable temperature in the enclosure just by placing it in a warm room. In most cases, room temperature is 68–72 °F. That’s just around the sweet spot that stick insects prefer. But the important thing to remember is to avoid temperature fluctuations.
You should ensure that the room temperature stays within range throughout the year. This might be a bit difficult if your house isn’t well-insulated or if you’re not using central heating. But it’s still doable. For example, a portable radiator is enough to heat a small room.
– Avoid Extreme Temperatures
This goes without saying. But extreme temperatures mean very different things for stick insects. While temperatures in the low 50’s are manageable for a human, for bugs this already means trouble. You should never let the enclosure temperature drop lower than 55 °F, as that’s below the limit that stick insects can tolerate while staying healthy.
High temperatures are equally dangerous. Be careful, especially if you’re using any heating devices for the enclosure. If the temperature climbs too high, stick insects can overheat and die. They don’t have any means to cool off their bodies. And given their small size, their body temperature is going to rise quickly.
Can You Use a Heating Lamp for Your Stick Insects?
Yes! A heating lamp is a safe and effective way to warm up your stick insects. It takes some trial and error until you find the suitable wattage for the perfect temperature. But they’re affordable and easy to set up and use.
Remember to secure the enclosure for this heating set-up, though! Heating lightbulbs can get hot. If one of your bugs lands on it, it will get seriously injured. I should also mention that heating lamps won’t heat the whole enclosure equally. Instead, they create a heating gradient by heating only the areas where the light falls directly.
This might sound like a negative, but it can help sometimes. If stick insects get too hot, they can move away from the heat to regulate their body temperatures.
Can Stick Insect Die from Low Temperatures?
Sadly, yes. Cold temperatures are dangerous for them. Like all other insects, stick bugs are cold-blooded. They couldn’t regulate their body temperatures even if their lives depended on it, which they do. Instead of upregulating their body temperatures internally, they absorb heat from exterior sources such as sunlight.
When their environment gets colder, and they have no source of heat, their body temperatures begin to drop. They lose energy and become sluggish and stiff, so they can’t move and feed themselves anymore. They can’t survive for extended periods when temperatures drop below 55 °F.
Stick insects are cold-blooded creatures. They need warm temperatures to thrive, and they’re sensitive to extremes or sudden fluctuations. The best way to keep them healthy is to maintain their enclosure at a stable, warm temperature. Around 70-78 °F is best.
Room temperature is often enough to achieve these values. But you can also invest in gadgets such as a heating lamp or a heating pad. They both work fine for heating the enclosure. A heating pad might cost a little bit more than a lamp, but it’s precise, it emits no light, and it poses no danger for your pets.