• An alternative to crickets and fruitflies - Milkweed bugs

    Just thought I'd post about a species I started breeding as an experiment but had success with - Milkweed bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus). They make a great alternative to crickets and fruitflies and my dart frogs have readily taken the the first few instars.

    The bugs I breed are from a laboratory strain that can be raised on sunflower kernels. The native bugs feed on the poisonous milkweed and so should not be used.
    I have been raising them in a plastic container with a stainless stell mesh over some of the lid to provide ventilation (note the mesh should be fine as the hatchlings are very small).
    They are raised on dry kitchen towel with cardboard egg crate to hide under. A small plastic container filled with wet cotton wool provides humidity and a container with dry cotton wool is used as a laying medium. They are kept at 25-30C and at this temperature it takes around 5 weeks from hatchling to adult. Adult bugs are up to 20mm. Up to 4th instar are readily taken (although I mainly use the smaller bugs for the darts). Apparantly the adult bugs are not taken by frogs because of their taste.

    Here's a few pictures:



    Adult bugs feeding



    Adult bug, hatchlings and eggs (orange) on cotton wool balls



    Hatchlings and eggs
    This article was originally published in forum thread: An alternative to crickets and fruitflies - Milkweed bugs started by berksmike View original post
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. martycrist's Avatar
      martycrist -
      So, how does one obtain these little critters?
    1. KingCam's Avatar
      KingCam -
      The wild ones won't switch over to sunflower seeds if forced to do so?
    1. Beckred1's Avatar
      Beckred1 -
      Looks like this project is going to get big
    1. Riana's Avatar
      Riana -
      Good afternoon
      I am a journalist for a newspaper and would like to find out if you would be interested in me writing about you as a frog owner and what it is like. Please let me know if it is possible or if you may know of someone els who would be interested. Here ia my email riana@nmgroup.co.za
    1. YourSoJelly's Avatar
      YourSoJelly -
      Those are box-elder bugs!
    1. Bog Frog's Avatar
      Bog Frog -
      I've noticed these guys munching on the milkweed in my garden. Nothing eats them: spiders, birds...you name it. Very prominent markings. Thought that might have something to do with their lack of want by predators. Slow moving insects which is good. Not like roaches which are as fast as usan Bolt
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