Just like Praying Mantises, stick insects are egg layers. The eggs of walking sticks are called “ova”. Once a female is mature and ready to reproduce, she will start to lay the ova.
As a whole, the ova of many species requires no other conditions than the adults, and the ova can be left in the same enclosure. Most ova need regular misting and a warm and humid surrounding. Some ova do need an incubator with special conditions such as higher temperature or humidity.
In the following, you will find some information on how to set up the right conditions for the ova, how long the ova will need to develop, and how quickly walking sticks usually reproduce.
How Do You Hatch Stick Insect Eggs?
Many stick insect species tend to simply drop their ova to the ground. If you are planning to remove the ova and incubate them in a different place, you can use paper towels on the ground. This makes it easier for you to see and remove the ova. It is also good if you want to control the size of the population.
Some species need some kind of substrate on the ground because the females bury their ova on the ground. The substrate can be a mixture of sand and humus, vermiculite, or Spagna moss, depending on the species.
Most species need slightly moist soil for their ova and a constant warm temperature. You can use a paper towel on the ground, place the ova on top and put some soil over the eggs. Depending on the species, you need to keep the soil moist but never too wet, because the nymphs can get trapped in the ova and drown if it is too wet.
If you detect any mold around the ova, quickly change the substrate as mold can easily kill the nymphs in the ova. But make sure that the soil around the ova never dries out completely.
Every species is different and might need different conditions. If you are planning to breed a specific species, you might want to check out the data of the Phasmid Study Group on that species.
Do Walking Sticks Lay Eggs?
Walking sticks lay eggs. The eggs of a stick insect are called ova and usually look like seeds. Walking sticks cannot give live birth.
Depending on the species, walking sticks can reproduce sexually and/or asexually. That means that in some species the females can reproduce without a male.
How Long Do Stick Insects Take to Hatch?
As a whole, the time of an ova to develop until a stick insect hatches is highly dependent on the species, the temperature, and the humidity. The incubation time of walking stick ova can be anything between 4 weeks and 2 years. On average it takes around 5 months for a stick bug to hatch.
How to Handle Stick Insect Eggs and Nymphs Safely?
In many species, the ova (= eggs) are rather sturdy and can be touched without a problem. Many species tend to either drop the ova or catapult it out of their abdomen.
If you own an adult female of one of these species, you can use a paper towel as a substrate on the ground of the enclosure to be able to remove the ova for population control.
If your species tend to bury the ova in the substrate, you should provide some kind of soil instead of a paper towel.
For many species, the ova does not need different conditions than the adults and the ova can be left in the enclosure.
Some species require specific conditions, and the ova needs to be incubated at a higher temperature or humidity. In these cases, you should remove the ova and place it in an incubator to increase the chance to hatch.
If the nymphs have hatched and you have to relocate them, you have to be very careful. Nymphs that have not molted yet, are called L1. After the first molt, they are L2, and so on, until they are adults and stop molting.
L1 and L2 are extremely fragile creatures. You can relocate the food plant or leaf they are sitting on without touching the nymphs. If that is not possible, you can acquire special spring steel tweezers. These tweezers are extremely flexible and specially made for handling fragile creatures. With these tweezers, the pressure on the insect is so low that you can hold it but not squish it.
How Quickly Do Stick Bugs Reproduce?
Many popular species that are kept as pets reproduce easily and quickly. Some of these species even reproduce parthenogenetically, which means that only females are needed for breeding.
In order to reproduce, a stick bug has to be an adult. The months to maturity vary from species to species. Some species are able to reproduce after only one month, while other species need a whole year to be mature.
Once the stick insect is mature, it takes another few days or weeks until the females start producing the ova (eggs).
Where Do Walking Sticks Lay Eggs?
Walking sticks are egg layers. The eggs of the walking sticks are called “ova”.
As a whole, stick insects have different ways to lay their ova. Most species simply drop the ova to the ground, some species catapult the ova out of their abdomen and fling it away, and some species bury the ova in the ground or lay them behind the bark. A few species glue their ova on leaves.
The ova of a walking stick usually looks like a seed. It is not easy to differentiate between a seed and an ova when you are in a forest.
What Does a Stick Bug Egg Look Like?
The ova of stick bugs usually looks like seeds of a plant. Most of them are round or oval. Some are smooth, some are rather thorny or have an uneven texture.
Lisa is one of the two founders of Animal-Knowledge. She has been very interested in animals and insects from a very young age and has owned different kinds of pets such as snails, ants, fish, turtles, mice, rats, hamsters, rabbits, a dog, … you get the idea 🙂