Beetle Keeping :
Beetle care and housing
courtesy to : www.keepinginsects.com/beetle/care/
Feeding your beetles
Again, what your beetles eats depends on its species. This general caresheet only deals with caring for fruit eating beetles.
Fruit eating beetles eat fresh fruits and sometimes nectar. To feed the beetles you can offer banana, apple, orange, grape, pineapple or mango (among other fruits) on a ceramic or plastic plate. Just place this in the middle of the enclosure, preferably not directly under the light bulb. The beetles will find it and you can see them eat from it. After two days you have to remove the fruit and supply new pieces. Beetles should have fresh fruit at all times.
Because feeding beetles with fruit can give you a fruit fly problem in your terrarium, you can also buy special beetle food. This is pudding-like food supplied in a small plastic cup. It does not attract fruit flies and is good food for your beetles. Often it has the brand name Beetle Jelly.
Keeping pet beetles and their larvae is generally easy to do, when you know what they need. This page will take you through the basics of keeping pet beetles and larvae.
Taking care of beetle larvae (grubs)
Housing grubs :
How to house your beetle larvae depends on the species you have. With 400.000 species of beetles on the earth there are almost as many different ways to keep them. What the species you are keeping needs, can be found at the Species Description page. For now I will only cover how to care for larvae that live in soil.
To keep larvae that live in soil, you need a thick layer of soil in a plastic box with enough ventilation. The layer of soil needs to be 10 to 20 cm thick. How big the plastic box should be depends on the size of your species of beetle and on how many beetle larvae you want to keep in the box. Every grub needs at least 10 cm in all directions around it to have some space of its own. Some larvae are cannibalistic, so you can only house them individually. You need to keep the soil moist, but not extremely wet.
Feeding beetle larvae :
What beetle grubs eat depends on its species. This description can only be used for species that live in the soil.
Most species that live in the soil will eat decaying wood, decaying leaves and other rotting plant material. This makes feeding them really easy: you need to supply them with leaf litter and rotting wood. Fresh leaves and wood that is not decaying is not suitable. You can find decaying wood and leaf litter in any forest, bushes or woodland area. You can collect the material by hand or just take a spade and dig up some soil with the material in it. Make sure you do not take soil that has pine trees or conifers on it, because the needles of these trees cannot be digested by the beetle larvae.
You can mix the decaying plant material with the soil in which you keep the larvae. When placing the material on top of the soil the larvae will generally also eat it, but it is better to distribute the food evenly in the soil. To boost growth you can add some dry cat food to the soil. Make sure the soil is moist enough to make the dry cat food moist enough for the beetle larvae to eat it.
Keeping the environment suitable for your beetle larvae:
Every species of beetle larvae needs its own temperature and soil moisture. Make sure to check the caresheet of your species to find out what it needs.
You can keep the soil moist by spraying with water or by pouring a little bit of water onto the soil and then mix the soil carefully. Regularly check the amount of food the larvae have by stirring in the soil, sometimes they run out of food quicker than you think.
Taking care of beetle pupae :
Keeping the pupae:
You do not need to keep the pupae differently from the larvae. They should be at the same humidity and same temperature as the larvae, and they should be left on the spot in the substrate where they decided to pupate. The beetle larvae generally make a cocoon of sand and protein around them before they pupate. Don’t destroy this cocoon, as it is protecting the pupa inside.
After a few weeks to even one year the pupa will eclose and a beetle will emerge.
Taking care of adult beetles
Enclosure for your beetles
Beetles need a different environment than their larvae, but what kind of environment depends on the species of beetle you have. Generally the following enclosure will suffice:
A glass or plastic tank / terrarium with a layer of 2 inches or more of humid soil and a few pieces or wood or bark on this soil. The tank should be at least 5 times the length of the beetle in height and in width to ensure it can walk around enough, but a bigger space is ALWAYS better. Fill the terrarium with some branches or twigs where the beetle can walk on. When you heat the terrarium with a light bulb, the beetle can move on the twigs closer or farther from the light to choose its preferred temperature. You can put some live plants in the enclosure, but it is possible that the beetles will slowly destroy it or eat it.
Proper temperature and humidity
Check what kind of temperature and humidity your species of beetle needs, and adjust the environment to match these conditions.
The best way to heat the terrarium of beetles is with a light bulb that also emits heat. Any ordinary incandescent light bulb will do this. Because you heat the terrarium with radiation from the lamp, it is similar to the sun. The beetles can then bask in the sun to heat up, or choose to hide in the shadows to become cooler. Beetles can only adjust their body temperatures in this way. If one light bulb does not produce enough heat, you can heat the enclosure some more using heat mats or a heat cable.
You can increase humidity by spraying with water. Do not supply the enclosure with a water bath or something similar, because the beetles can drown in this.
Chelorrhina polyphemus eating a banana
Beetje Jelly cup
Adults are relatively simple to keep, and so are larvae. The United States has numerous rhino beetle species that make it into the pet trade on a limited basis, but two species especially are always in high demand. The Eastern US offers up Dynastes tityus. These often have a yellow color, like a very ripe banana. Their top horn tends to be about the same length as the bottom horn. The Western species, Dynastes granti, has a body shape more similar to the gigantic South American Dynastes hercules beetles, with their significantly longer top horn.
Both US Dynastes are usually available in the hobby on a yearly basis (I know a place), usually in the warmer months but extending a bit into the fall season, if not winter. The D. tityus distinctly make better pets because they are longer lived in captivity. Yet, few will disagree that D. granti make for more impressive dead specimens (and they often only live a few months as adults, in captivity).
Unboxing 2 Allomyrina dichotoma (Rhino beetle)
Rhinoceros Beetle - Xylotrupes ulysses - Rhino Beetle Set-Up and Care
Rhino Beetles Keeping and breeding :
courtesy to : www.bugsincyberspace.com/Rhino_Beetle_Care_Sheet.
Rhino Beetles are the most sought after live beetle pets in the hobby, and for good reason. They are famously huge insects! Like their familiar mammalian namesake, many species boast a large top horn projecting forwards from the thorax. A bottom horn may also juts upward from the head.
What follows are some basic recommendations for keeping them, but a serious hobbyist should definitely consider investing in the book: The "Complete Guide to Rearing the Eastern Hercules Beetle and Other Rhinoceros Beetles" by Orin McMonigle. It is available,HERE!
Below, I will outline very general care in separate paragraphs for both adults and larvae for live pet rhino beetles.
Adults: A female will only lay eggs in a substrate that is somewhat moist. Both males and females will benefit by the availability of a wet substrate. Aside from buffering the air in the tank through evaporation, the beetles will take advantage of minimum of 4 inches of substrate to burrow in. This prevents them from drying out too much. Interestingly, the elytra and pronotum (abdominal and thoracic portions of the "shell") will darken when the humidity is high. This is good on an occasional basis, but there shouldn't be so much humidity in the tank that condensation is forming on the tank walls or lid on any regular basis. If it is, increase ventilation by adding air holes in the cage.
Larvae can tolerate dry soil for a few weeks or more with no apparent issues, but optimal growth and feeding requires moisture.
Room temperature is fine for both adults and larvae. Slightly warmer temperatures may help speed growth. Eggs can take 30 (D. tityus) to 90+ (D. granti) days to hatch at room temperatures. Warmer temps will shorten the span, while cooler temps will prolong hatching for many months.
The overwintering period for captive bred Dynastes tityus can be broken by exposure to room temperature for a few months. Warmer temperatures may decrease the "overwintering period".
Adult beetles are tree sap feeders, but eat apple and/or banana in captivity. Watered down maple syrup, brown sugar or other sugary liquids can be offered in shallow cups (milk caps, for example), alternatively or exclusively. Fruit has a tendency to mold or attract flies. Liquids tend to dry up. Many hobbyists prefer to use beetle jelly products. That's it! Very simple.
Larvae eat rotting wood and leaves as discussed in the housing/substrate section above. Many keepers supplement the diets of the beetle larvae with dried dog food pellets. Protein supplementation helps to grow big beetles!
Adults: The size of the tank does not matter for your adult pet rhino beetles. It should, however, have a substrate. If you want your adult female to lay eggs, the substrate should be composed primarily of compost soil (or top soil) about 8+ inches deep. A substrate isn't necessary, but a moist substrate does help to buffer humidity in the cage and the fastest killer of rhino beetles is a cage too dry! If you just want to observe them, you don't really need a substrate, but it will probably shorten their lifespan significantly. Rhino beetles like to burrow during the day (both US Dynastes spp.). The Eastern D. tityus also go through an overwintering period and remain burrowed both night and day, during this time.
Larvae go through three stages: L1, L2 and L3 (larval instars). Then they build a pupal cell out of dirt and oral secretions and shed again to become a pupa. It is during this phase that you can see the adult beetle is finally taking shape. The larval period, from the time the egg hatches, until the adult (US Dynastes) emerges takes 12-18 months for D. tityus and 24-36 for Dynastes granti. These numbers can vary, but the ranges are generally accurate. Larvae require a compost soil base with plenty of rotting wood from hardwood trees (oak, for example). They will make nutritional use out of softer types of hardwood wood, decaying leaves and even the soil itself. They'll pass most of this through their gut, gleaning whatever nutrition they can. As your substrate is replaced by oblong pellets, you will want to add more of the unprocessed ingredients. All these components will ideally be heat-treated or cold-treated. Baking in the oven, microwaving or freezing substrate are recommended to kill any potential hiding pests (children, please ask an adult for help). The size of the container for larvae depends on their size. An L1 larva can be kept in less than a cup of substrate, while a 32 ounce deli cup is really pushing the limits as a minimum sized container for an L3 larva. Generally, bigger is better, though it is easier to observe the progress of your larva if you keep it in a reasonably small container.
The cages for both larvae and adults should have minimal ventilation, especially for the former.
There are a number of pests that prey on the eggs of rhino beetles, but these are relatively rare in captive bred beetles. Below are three videos of Dynastes granti egg mites. If you see any "pests" in the soil, it is immediately time to start rescuing all the eggs by moving them to a new substrate. The first video shows how plump a single mite can get as it feeds on the egg. The second video shows babies that the adult mite had spawned. The third video, fortunately, shows that the egg hatched just before the baby mites began to attack the egg. The fourth video shows parasitic nematodes and the damage they cause internally to the egg.
Nematodes attack a Rhino Beetles eggs
Dynastes granti egg mites Oart 3
Offspring of dynastes granti mite
Egg Mites on Dynastes granti egg