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Housing Guidelines
Other Housing Options
Breeding Housing Options
Heating and Lighting
Floor Linings (substrate)

Moulting and Diseases
Feeding Regimen
Cleaning and ova separation
Providing Food

Sexing and Mating
Egg Laying and preparation
Rearing Nymphs

Species in Culture
Sending live insects by post
Picture Gallery
Related Websites
Housing Guidelines
by Gareth Price
28th May, 2001
Page 1

An alternative design, useful for stick insects, leaf insects etc. consists of a wooden frame covered with nylon netting. The front of the cage is removable, allowing you to replace food and clean out the interior. The amount of ventilation can be controlled by fixing clear plastic over one or more of the sides. These wooden units are available from specialist entomological suppliers, such as small-life supplies or world wide butterflies, for a reasonable price. However, if you are on a particularly tight budget, it might be worthwhile considering the DIY approach.

It is often possible for the new enthusiast to build his/her own enclosure providing they have some basic handyman skills. This type of enclosure can be built using nylon netting, which can then be tacked or stapled to a wooden frame. (Black netting is preferable as it gives you better visibility than white once the unit is completed.) One potential pitfall when building your own enclosure at home is that homemade enclosures are nearly always made of wood, which is difficult, to clean and prone to rot. However, if you have a large number of sticks, a homemade enclosure can prove a very suitable option.

You can construct a suitable accommodation using 1in (0.625cm) wood. Small panel pins or staples can be used to hold the framework together although it is often easier to glue these into place. Construct each of the four sides separately, with the two opposite sides, of course, being of equal size and all four being of equal height. With the sides complete, you can then screw or glue them together with a suitable adhesive. Then construct the top in a similar fashion, making sure that it provides a tight fit. It is useful to hinge the top, rather than one of the sides, to act as a door, as there is then less risk of the insects escaping while you service their quarters. The base of the unit is best made of a thin piece of plywood, which can be tacked onto the bottom to create a secure structure.

Once the structure has been allowed to dry, you can begin to tack the black nylon netting so that it covers each side of the enclosure. Once you are confident that the material is held securely, you can begin to trim off any excess material from around the edges. Once your enclosure is completed, you should think about treating it with a couple of coats of varnish in order to extend its inevitably short life. You could also think about inserting some clips onto the top of the enclosure that will service as retainers for the insects foodplant.

A variation on this design consists of a cylindrical mesh cage that can be hung from a hook or converted to a free standing cage by placing thin wooden struts between the upper and lower frame. This type of cage is particularly useful for housing insects that are seasonal, especially caterpillars; when not in use, it can be collapsed and stored away easily.

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All information contained herein is copyright ©2001 Gareth Price. All rights reserved. Any media that has been borrowed from external sources has been done so with the full consent of its respective copyright owner. For more information, see the legal agreement.