Sunday, September 14, 2008


The moisture requirements of insects and mites are varied. Examination of the habitat from which specimens were collected should provide clues about their moisture requirements in captivity. Many insects in the pupal stage are resistant to drought. Species that normally infest stored foods also require very little moisture; in fact, many produce their own water. Most species found outdoors require higher levels of humidity than are generally found indoors. Additional moisture can be added to indoor rearing cages in several ways. To increase the humidity in a cage, keep a moist pad of cotton on top of the screen cover of the cage, or place a moist sponge or a small glass vial filled with water in the cage. The mouth of the vial is plugged with cotton and the vial laid on its side so the cotton remains moist. Pupae may be held for long periods in moist sawdust, vermiculite, sphagnum, or peat moss. In a flowerpot cage, the water used to keep the plant alive should provide sufficient moisture for the plant feeding insects and mites. Spraying the leaves daily also may supplement moisture requirements in rearing cages. Too much moisture may result in water condensation on the sides of the cage, which may trap the specimens and damage or kill them. Excess moisture also enhances the growth of mold and fungus, which is detrimental to the development of most insects and mites. A 2-3 percent solution of table salt sprayed regularly in the cage will help prevent mold and fungus growth.

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