hi! im fascinated by the thyanta perditor stinkbugs in my garden (common name too long). i cant find any images of them as nymphs, though. so you inspired me – i took some eggs and im going to raise them myself! ive never raised bugs before though, do you have advice? should i just give them pieces of the plants the adults live on or should i try giving them fruits as well (the nymphs eat the same as adults right?) and how do i best give them water? thank you, all help very appreciated! 😃
Very good! I raised Thyanta custator last year, and they were a lot of fun but I got so behind dealing with all my rearing photos I still haven’t uploaded most of them (or made a follow-up post for them on here [link to posts with my stink baby tag]). I made a couple entries for them on iNaturalist [link] and Bugguide [link].
To answer your questions:
Feeding the babies: They will basically eat any soft leafy plants (which is why gardeners aren’t fond of them, but I’ve never seen them cause actual damage!). You want to feed them whatever is easiest for you to provide them fresh, continually. Try a bunch of things! I started out giving them a random assortment of plants (some stink babies grow up on grasses, and those were easy!), but the problem with Thyanta is their favorite foods dry out really quickly. If you give them something like lettuce (from your garden or the grocery store!), you can make a clean cut on the stem and wrap the stem with a damp paper towel. It should last a decent amount of time. Something with a more rigid stalk (ragweed or pokeweed leaves? Leafy flowery bushes?), you can place in a small container or jar with water, but make sure there is something that prevents them from following the stalk into their watery grave. I have been having success with filling the container with water, then throwing in paper towels or cotton balls to slow the water evaporation and keep the babies from drowning.
Watering the babies: Insects (to my knowledge) don’t drink water like other animals do! All of their water comes from their food. So just make sure their food is nice and fresh, and they will be fine!
Preventing escapes: They WILL try to escape. Find a way to stop them! I used critter carriers with a piece of paper towel over the opening between the container and the lid. If you raise them in a jar, you can use one of the canning lid rings with paper towel or fabric. They can squeeze through much smaller holes than you think they can, and they can go MUCH FASTER than you think!
Molting: If they stop moving/stop eating, and then you see “dead” ones at the bottom, they may have just molted!
Above is a molting baby Thyanta! Bugs (True Bugs, hemiptera) tend to be red after molting. In the image above, you can see the old skin (the exuvia) he is squeezing out of. Those skins are basically an empty shell in the same shape/size as the babies had been. They are fun to collect to compare the size of the babies at each life stage.
GOOD LUCK and let me know if you have any more questions!
July 18, 2018