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…but a Flower Beetle.

This is one of my Aphelorrhina Bellas

Keeping flower beetles is a new hobby for me, I have always found beetles fascinating.

I already have Apple Snails, which are snails that live in water – they come in different colours, even blue, pink, purple as well as the usual peach colour.

To date I have Aphelorrhina Bellas, Smaragdesthes Africana Oertzeni, and Pachnoda Sinuata; the last 2 are still babies, not yet changed into adult beetles.  There is not that much information out there – even on the world wide web – but I believe they all originate from Africa.  My *Bug* Dealer(!) knows a lot about these particular beetles and has been helpful with advice.

Beetles are an interesting, low-cost, low-maintenance pet to keep, you don’t even need much space or expensive equipment: a 15 litre plastic container will suffice for a pair.  Maybe not for very young children – beetles aren’t great touching / handling pets and maybe too delicate for very young hands, also, some of these beetles fly, so you have to be cautious whilst feeding etc! – but certainly older children, +8, especially boys might enjoy them.

Lifespan ~ Adult flower beetles live between 4 and 6 months.

C   a   r   e

Flower beetles need at least 15 litres space to a pair,  in either a plastic or glass vivarium or tank.  There needs to be a secure lid and no large holes in which the beetles can escape through.  Of course air holes are needed, they must have adequate ventilation and humidity…they need daily spraying or misting with water, inexpensive sprayers can be purchased for this.  This humidity is very important – and just as important is the substrate they live in: the earth from under oak trees and crumpled up decaying oak leaves.  Without the proper humidity and oak mulch they won’t thrive.  Temperature wise 22 – 25 degrees centigrade is best.

As my bug dealer, Andre, advises –

Substrate: 10 cm deep mixture of 40% fine (well decayed) leaf mulch / leaf compost and 60% finely crushed soft white decayed Oak or Beech. These proportions are ideal but can be varied if it is diffcult to obtain a good quantity of decayed wood. The leaf mulch can be collected from under the top layer of whole fallen leaves under an Oak or Beech tree, just dig down and scoop up the layer of leaves that have become rotted into fine particles. The bottom 8cm of substrate in the rearing enclosure should be firmly compacted to imitate the composition of a rotten tree stump, this will encourage the females to deposit their eggs.

Food: For larvae the food is the substrate as above but the substrate does not need to be so deep (10cm is fine) and it should be loose and airy (notcompacted). Larvae can be given apple slices and protein supplements to boost their growth and to make larger, healthier beetles. To make really large imagos a special high protein substrate should be used (I make this substrate myself in a special machine and I will be selling bags of it soon, let me know if you will be interested in buying any).
Adults feed well on beetle jelly, banana and other sweet fruits such as mango. They also enjoy a sticky but runny mixture of unrefined sugar mixed with water (ie. natural and unprocessed sugar, often brown sugar is better as it is usually less refined).

Humidity: around 80%, substrate should be slightly moist but not wet. The beetle enclosure should be misted when the substrate begins to dry out. (Substrate often appears very dry but may only be dry on the surface because this is the first part to dry out. Be careful not to overspray the substrate as the water will seep into the lower layers and the substrate could become waterlogged).

Housing: Larvae should be reared separately due to potential cannibalism and usually need 2 litres of space or more to develop well. Adults ideally need a 30 litre enclosure per pair as they are very active and also like to flysometimes. Be sure to place logs and pieces of bark on the substrate surface to help maintain substrate humidity and to help the beetles flip back onto their feet (they will often fall upside down).”
~ by pet_insects ©

The following are photographs and later, a short video of one of my flower beetles eating banana  – I hope you enjoy them 🙂
Copyright Stephanie Faith.net
~Please ask permission if you would like to use my photos.