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Everything posted by GelGelada

  1. Beetles can do fine in just simple plastic tubs from a local grocer or store with holes drilled in the tops. Don't need anything fancy or expensive like tanks. Tanks are also harder to keep clean in my experience but I understand that plastic tubs are ugly. Generally it doesn't matter for a single bug to be kept in something smaller so long as it's secure and they can't push off the lid (in the case of strong rhino beetle). Just make sure to always put something such as a small stick in any container that the insect can latch onto in case they flip themselves over, as they can struggle and die on their back. Do you have any photos of this "mite crust" so we can see? From what I know, mites just reproduce rapidly and that pink layer is the mites crowding together, which can suffocate the insect's spiracles (how they breathe) if they get too numerous. A soft paint brush can usually dislodge stray ones and help keep numbers down with frequent substrate treatments.
  2. I wouldn't think rotting was the issue. I used browned bananas that were not suitable for anything but banana bread, ahaha- and the beetles ate that just as fine as fresh. As for mites, might wanna just put all your insects in separate containers with no substrate and try and suffocate the mites with dryness. Then treat all your substrate in the oven. A crust on a beetle sounds really bad... someone else may have some other help but that's usually what I do if I have a mite explosion.
  3. I am not sure if you are having issues with gnats or just the fruit spoiling/having fruit on hand...? I always just use mashed (ripe) banana mixed with a few drops of honey in a dish or water bottle caps set into a jelly holder, but also it's not hard to make your own homemade beetle jelly! There's various recipes online with agar-agar powder (do not use beef gelatin!). You could mix in blended banana and dark brown sugar to make it attractive to beetles as jelly. Then you can keep that in the fridge and use it as needed for a few weeks in a covered container. Another alternative is keeping a bottle of real maple syrup and feeding with a sponge on a dish. However, make sure you change out the sponge frequently so bacteria doesn't make them sick. Most insects are attracted to maple syrup quite well, but it's supposedly not as nutritious because it's pure sugar. That said, it's hard to keep beetles "clean". Beetles will always get substrate into their food. if that's what you mean. This is inevitable. Unless you keep them in something which doesn't have particles/wood bits, but then you risk them drying out or being unhealthy. Depending on when your beetles emerged, they also just might not be hungry! Unless they took food recently, it's possible they are just not ready to eat if they recently emerged as adults, but I wouldn't know the details on that.
  4. He did not. Like I said, I didn't get a female for him. I don't know when ox beetles typically emerge but my other ox grubs are lagging a lot, I think. I also did not handle this beetle much if at all, so that probably contributed to it. I didn't think of the no-mating thing but that's a good point.
  5. So, I realized I think I may have had a male ox beetle live an unusually long time? I had a minor male emerge back in September (2019) of last year, which I recorded over on my Twitter so I'd know the exact time he was removed from the pupal cell. Today, I came home and found him suddenly dead. Internet says that the adults only live about 3-5 months and the care guide (Orin's) states they "regularly live five to eight months". So, if he came out as an adult in September 2019, that's about 11 months for mine. All he ate was fuji apples because that was his favorite fare; nothing special like pure maple syrup and honey like his parents got (which both lived to about six months). Is this unusual? It doesn't matter to me much, but I was curious if anyone else has had ox beetles live this long. I wanted to continue breeding but I didn't get a female to emerge at the right time and my only other pupa appeared to fail to finish growing it's "skin" when this one had originally pupated. Has anyone raised any S. antaeus who could give me some information?
  6. I never said I couldn't plug things up, just that I preferred not to spend hundreds of dollars on my first light trap set up until I know more about what is around here late at night beyond the few ox beetles and longhorns that I have found. I have walked around a lot and I have substantial property size (with woods), but I cannot walk around other people's property even if I ask because of risk of wild animals like coyotes, which have been spotted here as roadkill and I have heard them at night. This is why I'd prefer something on my property if at all possible. I will try these lamps, but Jkim your advice comes off as somewhat abrasive to me as a so-called "amateur" and calling it "ridiculous". This sort of thing is why I hesitate to ask anyone about anything on here to begin with.
  7. Looking for a recommendation for a light trap, seeing as the internet seems to only want to tell me about bulbs that DON'T attract as many insects... I want something less than 100 dollars that would attract beetles, preferably one that someone as tested and/or had their own suitable results with for (primarily) beetles. I am NOT looking for a huge double-tube setup on a tripod due to my neighbors... more like a small-medium lamp or a bulb recommendation for my porch or to place with beer/banana traps. I CAN set up tarps/sheets. I'm in the east coast of the USA and I'm hearing a ton of large insect impacts on my windows at night lately, which leads me to believe that the ox beetles and other species are out now. I'm not quick enough to get to them once I hear them, so I want to set up traps. Eastern Hercules is also native to my area and I'm in a heavily wooded zone with swampland and suitable oak. I have small lanterns, but they seem to vary in effectiveness (yellow bulbs). Anyone got a model or light they really love that they could recommend me (or link me)? Much appreciated. (TL;DR, so... looking for a black light or something that someone has had nice results with, as I can't camp out near a gas station around here (too dangerous). Recommendations?)
  8. Last year I bred my first pair of beetles, a pair of ox beetles, and today I was surprised: my first beetle emerged to adulthood! Not as impressive as his father (see my avatar) but I'm very happy that it emerged safely. I've been quite busy and didn't expect to find a full adult in one of my jars. I'll get better photos later, right now I want to leave them alone. Very happy after such a rocky start with that pair.
  9. If you want to try and get rid of the weird stink, try putting it in a tub with strong-smelling teabags. This is less effective on glossy paper. I find that baking soda also works excellent, but some don't want powder on their books and if it gets damp at all, you're in trouble. In living with smokers, I've had to get rid of the stink on all my old comics and these two methods made it bearable for me to read some of my old books again without headaches. Some prints also just use ink that stinks like a chemical and sometimes you just can't remove that, only cover it with something. An extreme method is to fan the pages and LIGHTLY spray a weak mix of white vinegar and water on it and quickly blow-dry it with a handheld hair drier. Having an extra pair of hands to fan the pages really helps, but over-doing it will wrinkle your pages. Best to do it in waves and let it completely dry- sorry that was a lot but I know how frustrating it is to have stinky books. There's also the book-steaming method that libraries use, but I doubt you want to go through the trouble of building a tub like that for scent removal. I think that's only for smoke damage.
  10. East coast friend! Welcome to beetle keeping!
  11. I wish I could keep Atlas beetles. However, Allomyrina dichotoma is my big wish. I'm simple I guess.
  12. Oooh yeah keep us updated! I have thought about getting some of these this year and I wanna know your progress on the pupation! I have heard that they're hard to get to pupate but I don't know if that's actually true or not.
  13. Yep, I already got a bag of that. They get a mix of fermented stuff with wood and Miracle-Gro for filler and they eat it up. Sorry about the photo, it's all I had that was recent without digging them up again to take more, I was in a hurry with something else and I was reminded of the grub's size and wanted to make a post while it was fresh in my mind.
  14. Aaaah okay. I thought it was smaller because she's female, but that also makes sense. Some of my ox beetles are lagging in the same way, but they also hatched later. I think my hercules were all from the same batch, as I think I got Peter's last three listed on the website and they were fairly large when I got them. My ox beetles were from eggs from last year. I wish there was some safe way to keep them warm, but I'm afraid to use lamps constantly in this house. It was very warm here for a while and then suddenly it got below freezing and has stayed that way for a week. The huge temp fluctuations we've had since last year have got me worried that it's messed with them somehow.
  15. Okay, I was a little worried given that they're all on the same batch of food mix and it's been very cold. I'll probably get a bag from Peter soon just to be sure... Thank you! Others are free to weigh in more though.
  16. Is it normal for female larva to be quite small? One of my larva from a trio I bought in October appears to be half the size of my other two grubs. I know females are smaller, but I worry. Forgive me as this is my first time raising Eastern Hercules. I tried offering the smallest one dry dog food, but even after a whole month, they haven't touched it so I removed it because I was concerned about the mold sapping all the nutrients from the substrate. Would it be a good idea to put them into plain compost with wood chunks? Right now they're all in a mix of things with leaves and wood in compost, but I don't know if they would benefit from oak leaves at all. Edit: I know fermented oak is best but I'm out of that for the moment. I was fermenting oak pellets/dust for them but now it's gotten too cold to continue with that, hence the plain compost situation until it warms up again and it's not freezing my bucket. I'm not sure if it would ferment indoors or how bad the smell would be... so input on an indoor bucket would be nice.
  17. Yeah, temperature fluctuation is my primary suspect right now, because it was very warm and then it suddenly got super cold while we were away. The weather is really just doing whatever the it wants right now. Today it's in the mid 70's but a mere two days ago it was below freezing. We don't keep the heat on very high this time of year, but dropping from about 77 to 75 or so doesn't really strike me as a huge drop in a house. Then again, I'm not a teensy larva in moist soil. It might have felt MUCH colder to them than it does to me. Our house is old and our thermostat isn't very accurate and I can't exactly figure out the temperatures in a bunch of small cups right now with the ox beetles. The smallest babies don't have a lot of soil to "cushion" their temperatures in their cups compared to my huge eastern hercules, so that's why I think it may have been too cold and they got shocked? As for your die-off, I feel you there because I just ran out of my jar of food I made for these guys during the hurricane and I'm kinda worried that they will get shocked from something different. They don't eat much of their substrate so I'm unsure how to keep them well fed with what plants I have here locally. I think moving them to all sand and leaves though would be too much of a shock, since they have been in a mix of oak flake, leaf flakes and sand since birth. I wasn't aware that they could/would autocannibalize from stress, so thank you for telling me.
  18. I want information from people that have hands-on experience with Strategus Antaeus. Not a similar species. Specifically this species. The "Complete Guide" book that I have is too vague with Strategus Antaeus and has been entirely unhelpful for the time I have been raising this species. There simply isn't enough concise information for them. If it's online, I can't seem to find consistent answers. I don't know if the "Ultimate" guide adds additional information for Strategus Antaeus, but the version I have is but a tiny segment. I have had far better luck with my own experimentation, substrate especially, than anything else, no offense. A big issue I have with the care book is that it states that they will not survive to adulthood in rotten wood but then fails to precisely note what kind of sand they need. I live by a beach. To me, sand is extremely fine. More than "playground" sand but that doesn't compact. To not say what kind of sand is annoying because sand isn't all the same... Anyway. The eggs seemed healthy and were developing well before I left. They had begun to turn yellow and I could see the babies inside very clearly. If they were damaged, I don't think they would have gotten that far, but I could be wrong. Reason why I disturbed them to begin with is that I would rather risk damage than not be able to observe the eggs, as I was experimenting in different substrates and food, as said in my other threads. Having them individual cups allowed me to have precise dates for when I found them and how they were developing, as the care book also doesn't even say how long it takes for them to mature. Additionally, leaving the female inside her bucket to continue digging would harm them, as I found one crushed egg next to another when I first started looking for eggs a few months ago. Since they only lay about twenty eggs, who knows how many she crushed already while packing the soil that I didn't find. What I DO want to know is if the grubs are cannibalistic. I'm housing them all separately now, but I want to know. Can someone who has raised the species give me information? Thanks.
  19. I recently went on a trip and I had two cups with multiple eggs inside, four in each because I had no time to run out and get individual cups for my last wave of eggs. I had planned to get them as soon as I got home. No grubs in them already, just eggs. They were meant to be immediately rehoused when I returned, but some of them hatched earlier than my predictions. When I finally got home, there was only three in one and two left in another, though one of the babies appeared to had died of other causes. That baby didn't appear to have eaten and was shriveled up. Nothing could escape... so I'm guessing they're cannibalistic? Or could even fresh babies surrounded by food still feel overcrowded that quickly? They must have been together for barely two days after hatching. I feed them a mix of dead leaf flakes and crushed apple, served as a sort of paste, which has done very well to feed my other Antaeus larva. I saw no note of cannibalism in the handbook for Antaeus... was I just unlucky? I don't think one emerged and crushed the other eggs, but it's possible I suppose... however, I'm skeptical because all of my larva, even my eastern hercules, barely move right now. It's kind of cold in the house. They find their food and just park right at the bottom of their containers where I can see them gorging.
  20. I've had zero issues with using panty hose stretched over my buckets where I had gnat problems. I secured it with a hair tie so I could easily take it off, because tape wasn't giving me a nice enough hold. Excellent ventilation. Using other stuff was reducing my air flow too much and I was getting more mold than I am comfortable with, as I live in a place where mold takes root extremely easily, not just in my beetle housing/substrates. If you don't want to pay a lot for panty hose, many costume/fabric stores will sell a similar, thin gossamer fabric that should work in the same way. Good luck!
  21. Yeah, I expected that but I wanted to note it here in case anyone else was planning on getting the thinner one so they would know? Especially about the thin version's picture quality. I don't know if the big one doesn't have that issue or if it still does. I just got this one to start with for space-saving reasons because I JUST started beetle keeping and I don't need anything for other species quite yet; just the basics for what I have for quick reference. Thanks though!
  22. Oooh, what shapely legs! We don't have anything like that where I live. What a cool find.
  23. I recently purchased The Complete Guide to Rearing the Eastern Hercules Beetle and Other Rhinoceros Beetles... however, I am not too satisfied with the quality of the book I received from Amazon. I am aware that there are more complete books out there, but I wanted a thinner book as I only plan on raising this one species of rhinoceros beetle for now and I wanted something I could carry to read and memorize while I was out. Anyway. The quality of the paperback book is... suspect. I am not sure if it is supposed to be this cheap feeling, but it feels as though someone made a photocopy of the original hardcover book and simply stapled it together. Most of the photos are black and white and poor quality. There is one set of color photos in the center, but the rest of the photos are somewhat pixelated and it makes it difficult to see details in some of the more important photos, such as the photos of the grub underbellies for sexing or colors for substrate reference. The font within is about size 11 or so and easy to read; no pixelation with that printing, thankfully. The book is 40 pages and I have noticed a few typos, but information is clear and it is not a difficult to understand text. The information inside is mostly what you can find here on these wonderful forums, so I will not detail all that unless specifically asked. However, I would say that if you are thinking about getting the book, get the "Ultimate" book and get it in hardcover. Your quality will likely be much better... and it will look much better on your shelf.
  24. FINALLY got a nice sunny day here to get a good photo of the female beetle! She actually didn't try to fly away this time...
  25. Yep, I knew but I just can't keep roaches right now (boyfriend and my roomie are terrified of roaches of all kinds... but they are mostly okay with my beetles). I am introducing them to being more bug tolerant with my beetles, because they both like beetles from cartoons and video games! It's a little easier and I get to enjoy my own beetles too.
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