Keeping Live Insects

Many insects can be kept alive in captivity so their feeding, moulting, pupation, egg-laying and warning behaviour can be studied. Some insects are easily breed in captivity, while others are not and can be kept only temporarily. Immature insects, such as caterpillars, can be caught in the field and reared through to adulthood.

Convenient holding cages can be made from all sorts of materials ranging from the traditional shoebox to polystyrene vegetable boxes which have no holes. Doors and windows can be added with a thin-bladed hobby knife. Glass, perspex, plastic film or fly wire provide the essential viewing window.

Livestock of some species are often available by mail order from:

Bugs Alive is the first book on keeping Australian invertebrates; previously, only titles on European or American species were available. It contains detailed information (life-cycle, breeding, feeding) on more than 90 species, as well as detailed instructions for their housing and care.

Bugs Alive: A Guide to Keeping Australian Invertebrates Alan Henderson, Deanna Henderson, Jessie Sinclair (2008) Museum Victoria.

Keeping Live Insects (381 KB) pdf document icon (PDF 382kB) gives details of how to keep a variety of insects.

Queensland Museum's Find out about... is proudly supported by the Thyne Reid Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.