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My old harlequin flower beetle - what should I do?


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I own an adult Harlequin Flower Beetle I got from bugsincyberspace and I've had her for almost a year now(not exactly sure how old she was when I purchased her though, so I don't exactly know how old she really is, if any customer knows, please tell me how old their harlequin beetles are when they are sold). Let me fill you on her.

She's a great little beetle with her own personality. So pretty, but despises other flower beetles. But she's been through a lot through out her life. She's so strong. Those annoying grain mite out breaks, missing tarsi, not too long ago she started moving kinda lop-sided. She also looks like she developed a new scratch-like marking on her, is that normal?  

She recently stopped being able to walk without falling on her side and stayed on or next to her banana at all times. She can't burrow anymore either. Strangly this happened on the same day my new rainbow dung beetle was introduced. 

Because of her staying on the banana, she was sticky and her legs and mouth were caked in dirt. This actually makes me suspect that dirt could be the issue when my rice beetle scarab died, I noticed his mouth was full of dirt too.  I used to use coconut soil, but my harlequin flower had difficultly moving in it. Fruit and dirt do not mix, I guess. But Inky refused her jelly so I had no choice but to continue giving her her favorite - banana. Yesterday I gave her a bath by putting her in a shallow dish of water. She drank ALOT of water too...or she appeared to(yes, I do have a water dish in the tank but I rarely ever see her use it). Once she was all clean, I let her dry off out side(it was very warm) in a container lined with a towel. She loved it. She was walking around pretty good. She actually tried to fly! It's been a while since I've seen her do that! (guess she really hates captivity...) I cleaned out a spare bug tank to keep her seperated. It's time for retirement anyways. But still, she couldn't walk or burrow in substrate, I tried both dirt and coconut fiber including a mix, still, she couldn't move. It was so painful to watch, I almost wanted to find a humane way to eliminate her out of misery. I remembered how well she could walk on the towel, so adding some sticks, she now has a towel  as substrate and it's such a relief to see her walk around again. 

But I'm not sure how well she will thrive on a towel. She's sleeping under it, and looks rather content compared to sleeping on a slick sticky banana. If anyone knows of a substrate that can help her out please tell me. Also, if things get worse, should I put her out of her misery and whats the most humane way? Ugh. So awful having to think about doing that! Sometimes I wish she would pass away peacefully on her own now. She's suffering.

Thanks for any advice!

 

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Ever try damp sphagnum moss? Most of my collection is kept in this.

Don't put her out of her misery, let nature take its course if anything.

A tip most people don't know is the Red Bull trick. Put some on a paper towel and put it around her mouth parts. It could wake her up a bit. This tip was taught to me by a well known and respected hobbyist. 

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So, Red Bull... you might get a commercial out of that.

Dispatching insects- the freezer works well, there are also fluids, like ethyl acetate that work, but beetles can be resilient and need several hours

in a dispatching jar.

I had a female Lucanus elephus that went belly up about a week ago, and wasn't coming back, I used the fluid and she'll go into my collection.

Nature is one thing, but when an insect is laying upside down slowly twitching it's legs, it's dying, of course, insects are not sentient beings,

but I don't like seeing them slowly expire over a day or more.

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Thanks guys. I'll look into getting that moss. She survived overnight on the towel and is currently eating banana. Now that she's clean, I looked at some more and noticed some whitish yellow crust on a leg and mouth is kind of whitish, but not alot. I kind of worry that these problems are being caused by another round of grain mites. But I know she is able to eat because she still poops. Maybe thats why she's always on the banana. She's having difficulty eating. I can only imagine the mouth being the worst part for grain mites to crust up in. Should I fast her till the crust goes away? How long can I do it? Is there something she can still eat that won't cause any more mites to build up or how ever they work? There's no mites in the tank she is in and the one she use to live in nor any on her millipede and dung beetle tank mates. Not sure what it is.

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Well, yes, she does have grain mites on her mouth in the crusty form, I see that they have spread on her muzzle. She also has some on the joint of a leg. Looks like we're off banana at least. I gave her a jelly, hoping for the best.

Edit: She gave in and is eating the jelly! 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/7/2021 at 12:39 PM, kevink said:

So, Red Bull... you might get a commercial out of that.

Dispatching insects- the freezer works well, there are also fluids, like ethyl acetate that work, but beetles can be resilient and need several hours

in a dispatching jar.

I had a female Lucanus elephus that went belly up about a week ago, and wasn't coming back, I used the fluid and she'll go into my collection.

Nature is one thing, but when an insect is laying upside down slowly twitching it's legs, it's dying, of course, insects are not sentient beings,

but I don't like seeing them slowly expire over a day or more.

I don't have the fluid, but will rubbing alcohol work? Not for Inky the harlequin flower beetle(who doing fine) but ....... brace your self....a roach that I accidently cut in half trying to free him from a tight spot he was stuck in in an old decore. The decore was weak enough for me to break the piece off - and sliced him in half. It's been several hours now, and he's still moving! This is so sad! He can still run on both pieces. It's really disturbing to watch. I have him in an air tight jar.

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If an insect must be dispatched, freezing is the preferred method.  This is only true for invertebrates such as arthropods, of course.  Freezing should never be used for vertebrates, due to their very different physiology (including a centralized nervous system).

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Rubbing alcohol- isopropyl I think it's called, is only for wet preservation.

Many insects can live very long times without heads, I think a roach will actually starve before it dies from decapitation, being

bisected is probably going to be more serious.

As long as the subject is sort of up- Some breeders of Lepidoptera will decapitate a male, usually with Saturniidae to facilitate hand pairing,

there are a couple of reasons for this- one being to calm the male... I've read and spoken to breeders that will do this with difficult species.

Think about Mantids.

I've dispatched, or actually my house watcher did the actual deed, an old world chameleon in the freezer, I was away, and the animal had a

prolapsed anus which I couldn't coax back inside before it became terminal while I was out of state. It seemed the most humane thing to do.

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Indeed, dealing with issues such as this is one of the more unpleasant aspects of working with live animals.  I've always felt that in general, plants are much easier - they can withstand things that would easily kill most animals, and the ability of plants to recover and regenerate is vastly superior to that of most other organic life forms.

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2 hours ago, Goliathus said:

If an insect must be dispatched, freezing is the preferred method.  This is only true for invertebrates such as arthropods, of course.  Freezing should never be used for vertebrates, due to their very different physiology (including a centralized nervous system).

Thanks, but I still  live with family and they would kill me if they even heard that I put a roach cut in half dragging its guts around, in the freezer. Last night, I actually found some raid for spiders and roaches(we usually only have it for ants, but will kill other insects too, we get very serious ant infestations if its a very wet spring, I know they're just being ants, but they will attack small pets like my insects and their food too. I had to rehome my lizards because we had an infestation so bad they were getting into their enclosure and killing and eating their crickets. I hope you guys can understand) I sprayed him and he died very quickly.  Not the way I planned on doing it, it was a last resort. At least it was quicker than I thought it would be. 

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Geez. Now I feel even more terrible. But he was moving around like he was still alive for hours, guts dragging along. I couldn't bare the suffering. I heard that they can still live decapitated for over a week and they basically die from starvation.  Yikes! This is also my niece's roach so, the site of her roach cut in half living for a week would probably put her into shock. She was really upset last night. I just hope the painting of bugs I made her with little hearts around them will cheer her up. lol

Edit: She loves it! I've been forgivin, looks like she's gotten over it too. I'm sure she'll bring more bugs home and use this inccident against me to keep them. lol

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If you need a dispatching jar, use something glass, and you can use ethyl acetate, aka fingernail polish remover. The classic go to fluid  when I was a kid,

and I still use it, you can use a paper towel and put in a 1/2  teaspoon or less and it'll do the job, I still use it often, especially since deadly chemicals,

for some reason, have become a lot harder to get😛 if at all. Years ago, in the olden days, a person could buy cyanide, but not anymore.

I've got a few jars, with plaster of paris at the bottom, and that's pretty standard.

Ants- they are in a different category with little sympathy, even though they are just doing their jobs, no worries for them being eliminated from

the house, there are some gel products that work well for ants.

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Thanks! If only I knew that's what fingernail polish remover was made of. lol I have a bottle on my desk!

Just also, I noticed that the guts that were hanging out, are actually like back inside, like a healing scab. OMG please do not tell me he's still alive! No movement though. I have him in a glass jar. Lid on tight.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks

9 hours ago, Fire Moth said:

Shes lovely

Thanks! 😊 I took it while I was cleaning the tanks. We had an emergency grain mite infestation last night in all enclosures besides 2 of them, one being Inky's. I still cleaned hers just as a precaution. Ughh! It seems not even the springtails worked. I HATE GRIAN MITES!!!!!!!!!

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