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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I would like to compile a list of reasons as to why locusts might die on you, so that people can try and minimize waste etc.

As a student I find it very uneconomical to have even a small percentage dying every week, and as a soft-furnishings kind of guy I don't like seeing any living thing suffering unnecessarily. :whistling2:

I'd also like to share info on strange cases that we can't fix.

Things that kill locusts in my limited experience:
- Cold nights
- Slightly-off courgette, and also cucumber/anything related. Other veg seems to be safe when a little limp, particularly herbs which are still edible dried.
- Sultanas
- Excess protein, eg too much fish food
- Lack of water
- Fungus, particularly on fruit
- Unwashed greens such as kale, beware the dreaded pesticide
- Bad husbandry in store, eg [email protected] *hisss*
- Getting stuck in shed (What causes this?) does eventually cause death
- Starvation - some subjects just won't eat no matter what you offer them
- Being eaten by a lizard
- Being sucked on by a cat (cats don't seem to eat locusts, just nom on them :mf_dribble:)

Obviously none of this is scientific, but I have found a loss of stock repeatedly with the above. It took me a long time and several boxes of stock to realize that things like cucumber must be removed after a couple hours, and personally I prefer to remove all uneaten green food within 24 hours to be on the safe side.

My current locust feed, as already discussed here :
Dry gutload - oats, bran, dried beetroot, dried parsnip, fish flakes, hamster food, bee pollen, calcium and nutrabol
Veg - basil, spinach, courgette, cucumber, lettuce, grated carrot
(Bug Gel for water)

There are also some strange/unexplained losses...

Of course these feeder insects are produced on a vast scale and genetic abnormalities and faults can't help but make these insects weaker and less resistant to problems than their wild counterparts. The younger the locusts I have bought, the more likely for a proportion to drop dead, as I assume those too weak to survive to greater age are more likely to be sold in this age bracket. For the record I usually buy thirds and grow them on the fourths to save money.

All sudden deaths are removed promptly, but when confronted with a problem, what can you do to "euthanize" a dying locust? I wouldn't feed something with an unknown malady to a reptile, and I wouldn't leave it in with the remaining stock. Personally I tried decapitation once, and found that the head and body lived on separately for at least a minute afterwards, not nice to see. I have dumped locusts stuck in shed in oil and found that they drowned relatively quickly, but had a tendency to float in water. Complete pulverisation seems to work, but it's hard to know for sure how much of the central nervous system remains active.

Strange Cases:
- Locusts that get stuck in shed
- Locusts that spontaneously drop limbs
- Locusts that lose control of motor function, starting from the "neck" and front legs, and end up lying around twitching after lawnmowering around for a while trying to get a grip on things with their back legs
- Locusts that for no conceivable reason just go a dark colour, lie down, and die


What input does anyone else have? Any other definite things to avoid? Any ideas on how the fix the problems described above? General thoughts?
 

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I'd say the main thing that kills locusts is if they're not kept hot or dry enough. They need a lot of heat to digest and humidity is no good for them.

IMO the best diet for locusts is spring greens, grass, carrots, butternut squash and bran. Watery veg like lettuce is a waste of time, as is bug gel. More than likely just raises the humidity and they can get all of their very minimal hydration requirements from the above. Introducing orange vegetables will increase the amount of carotenes and certain vitamins which are very beneficial (IMO) to colouring and health in reptiles.

Fish and hamster food will contain too much protein. It won't be stored as proteins by the insects it'll be excreted mostly and maybe stored as uric acid - which is bad for reptiles. Calcium is likely to be harming them if anything - they don't need it so won't store it and excess calcium can cause issues with their exoskeletons.
 

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the main thing that kills mine apart from my lizards is my misses with the hoover if they escape lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'd say the main thing that kills locusts is if they're not kept hot or dry enough. They need a lot of heat to digest and humidity is no good for them.

IMO the best diet for locusts is spring greens, grass, carrots, butternut squash and bran. Watery veg like lettuce is a waste of time, as is bug gel. More than likely just raises the humidity and they can get all of their very minimal hydration requirements from the above. Introducing orange vegetables will increase the amount of carotenes and certain vitamins which are very beneficial (IMO) to colouring and health in reptiles.

Fish and hamster food will contain too much protein. It won't be stored as proteins by the insects it'll be excreted mostly and maybe stored as uric acid - which is bad for reptiles. Calcium is likely to be harming them if anything - they don't need it so won't store it and excess calcium can cause issues with their exoskeletons.
That's really interesting that you've had better results with no moisture. Before I started giving mine a little bit of bug gel every week they were dying in droves. I also think I'd find it very difficult to afford/eat that much butternut squash. I wish I'd heard from you back when I was first working out what to feed them, the diversity of opinion on these forums seems to get easily lost.

It's good to have it confirmed that heat is of the essence... my house is freezing!

the main thing that kills mine apart from my lizards is my misses with the hoover if they escape lol
Again, my cat sorts that out lol...
 

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The biggest single thing that kills locusts that you have not mentioned is lettuce. Lettuce contains too much water and the locusts will die in their droves after consuming it. AVOID LETTUCE AT ALL COSTS (from a professional locust breeder). :bash:
 

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What kills locusts.....

People faffing around with them too much,

Buy as many as you need in one week, keep them cool and dark, they will go into suspension and will last you all week, then the following week go out and buy some more fresh ones,

Bulk locusts were designed for people with large collections to feed a lot of animals, if you buy a bulk bag of locusts and try to make them last a month or more you will end up with losses,

if you want to keep your locusts alive longer they will need high temperatures under a basking lamp with about 35-40.c so that the air in the enclosure is dry and hot, plus plenty of ventilation, you need to feed them a veg diet that isnt high in moisture such as green cabbage, Change of diet will cause deaths, simply keeping them alive will cause deaths as you will lose some when they moult.

If you are keeping them right they will go from hatchlings to adults in four weeks, so unless you have a wide range of different sized animals to feed it makes it pointless trying to keep them alive that long anyway, if you are keeping them wrong they wont grow as quickly and they will stay at the same size for longer but expect some deaths along the way.
 

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i breed them at a wholesaler, they need extreme heat and extremely low humidity, dryer the better, humidity wil cause them to go black and die, and stops them from hardening up. they also cannot digest food at low temps ie room temp so they wont eat much if anything so that will make them weak and then they might start to die.

i personally wouldnt put water gel in there, and maybe avoid cucumber stick to dark green leafs ie kale, and some sort of bug grub but in experience in a tub they hardly touch bug grub so best way to keep them big and healthy would be to transfer them into a bigger container and put a light above them
 

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all i feed is spring greens or cabbage small amounts (enough so the group are all full up but there is almost nothing left) once or twice a day depending on how fast you want them to grow
and also fresh wheat bran, seems to do them well and is a good low nutrition belly filler so they dont nibble each other
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ok, since increasing heat I've had more success. I now sit the container on a small heat mat. Still some dying though... and mine have never seemed so keen to eat as your ones seem to be... I've tried butternut squash recently and no cigar there either.

They die a lot less if I keep them in the box they came in, rather than the cricket keeper I bought specially. Weird.
 

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I suggest that a cricket keeper is nowhere near big enough for locusts. You need a decent size Exo Terra which has excellent ventilation. Also squash is no good as food, you need leafy greens such as cabbage (no lettuce) and a bran food.
 

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Locusts

I suggest that a cricket keeper is nowhere near big enough for locusts. You need a decent size Exo Terra which has excellent ventilation. Also squash is no good as food, you need leafy greens such as cabbage (no lettuce) and a bran food.
I have bought a large Tupperware box (large enough to line it with newspaper without having to trim the paper) ( sun , mirror , star that size paper) and drilled about 35 air holes with a 4mm drill bit into the lid ... I buy 2 packs of size 5 (extra large) locust per week from the local garden centre that has a pet store inside and within the pet store it's own dedicated reptile department where you can pre order your weekly supply to insure you get your requirements done properly the pet store should have at least 2 fresh stock deliveries per week, my delivery arrives at store Friday afternoon I collect Saturday morning ... Once collected I transfer the locust from the small transport boxes shaking off the sawdust from the cardboard shelters and placing them into the home made Tupperware box (cleaned and freshly relined from previous weeks use) ,, and inside I put 1 bottle cap full of the aqua gel to last all week and 1 piece of cabbage leaf or little gem lettuce leaf daily (first couple of days maybe 2 leaves ) as there is more locust to feed at the start of the week ... Doing this I have 0 regular deaths ,,, with the very occasional random death possibly 1 per month and usually inside the cardboard shelter,, I keep my locust box on the floor under my viv with no extra heat and only daylight through the window opposite ,,,, seems to be working for me very well ..... All this for £3 Tupperware box and £2.50. For 2 packs of locust which is enough for 3 or 4 locust per plus his daily veg ....
....and as a tip to save mess I have kept 1 of the small transport containers taped up the air holes and put a little calcium powder inside and a feeding time just pop the locust inside the pot give a quick gentle shake your locust are calcified with no mess take the lid off inside your viv and out they jump ,,,, Albert my 3yo male beardie recognises the red tape on the box and is sat waiting for me to open the viv ,,, he knows what's coming
 
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