Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The new Bug Hotel

If you have been following along the blog, you may remember I recently cooked our first batch of Blaptica Dubias inadvertently putting the boxes in the greenhouse on a warm day.  Since then we re-ordered another set of 500 adults.  When this second set came in, we first placed them in a single big tub with some egg cartons to let them acclimate to the climate of southern oregon and rest from their long journey.

Today was the day to get them into their new breeding homes.  We have come up with our own preferred method of housing after trial and error and much research.  I call these "Bug Hotels". Let me explain:

We are starting with 3 colonies, each in a separate tub, about 3 feet long,  1.5 feet wide wide smooth tall sides.Each colony will start with 1/3 of the initial breeders, or about 150 - 160 in this case.

At one end is a snuggly packed set of  six   18 egg cartons, paper of course. This forms the "living quarters" where they will spend they daytime sleeping and hopefully breeding.  Then there is the "patio area"  formed by two more 18 egg cartons opened and laid across the ends and tops to form sort of a transition area and play area.

At the other end is the "feeding area".  There are 2 paper plates side by side. one with chicken feed (non-gmo, organic with high omega 3 ). The other plate contains fresh moist veggies.  This provides a much cleaner area for them to eat separate from living If hte paper plates get soils or too wet, we just replace them. It makes keeping track of food consumed and any chance of mold much easier.

This design, with separate areas for living, playing, and eating make it easier to maintain.  If anything molds, its easy to see and remove, the bedding stays dry always, the amount of feed available is always easily visible, cleaning is simple. Overall, I like it for breeding colonies.

The eventual plan is to have this connected to a growing colony via a climbable tube. The tube will be too small for the adults to enter, too slick to climb the outside. But as the babies are born and grow they will be free to explore the tubes and find their way to the growing colony. at that end they drop out into the new colony and cant reach to get back so they stay.  This makes it sort of auto harvesting.  Since the breeders live for 12 to 24 months,  this shoud be a useful system to allow collection of use of hte offspring while maintaining a consist breeding colony.  Thats the theory anyway.

Here are some pics of the new setup:

Kaelyn helped sort out the new breeders and get them divided into the three colonies.  Can you believe she is holding 500 bugs that that bucket?

Here is the new colony layout, with living on the left, eating on the right, play space in the middle. Its like a vegas hotel for bugs! 

Here are the three colonies stored in the corner for now. We still need to decide on a permanent home for them. 

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