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Choosing an incubator for lepidoptera

Discussion in 'Insects, Other Invertebrates & Arthropods' started by Sbiriguda, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. Sbiriguda

    Sbiriguda Arachnopeon

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    Hello everybody
    I want to build myself or to by an incubator for Lepidoptera (i.e. butterflies and moths)
    By now I am breeding Acherontia Atropos, I don't really need it, but anyway I might want to do that also to breed tropical species.What I need is an incubator with temperature and humidity control. It is surprisingly difficult to find people who talk about this topic in forums specialized in Lepidoptera. So I think I could ask to you, for sure you know very much about this.
    Here you can find one of the few clear explanations on how someone built one
    http://www.pwbelg.clara.net/articles/index.html
    I would like something similar, but maybe I will use one meant for reptiles or even chicken eggs. For example these ones:

    Zoo Med Reptibator
    https://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-Rept...d=1515597568&sr=8-1&keywords=zoomed+incubator

    A chicken eggs incubator found in Aliexpress
    https://it.aliexpress.com/item/Plas...42fc-4f94-9441-74599b64d461&priceBeautifyAB=0
     
  2. Sbiriguda

    Sbiriguda Arachnopeon

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    The second one is interesting because it is bigger, and it would allow not only eggs hatching but also breeding larvae pupae and even adult moths
    I have no idea if it is really reliable. The specs also report max humidity 80% while in same cases even more could be necessary up to 90%

    What do you think?
     
  3. NathanJBoob

    NathanJBoob Arachnopeon

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    I think it would be more of a hassle than what it's worth to try and use something like this. If you're rearing small groups of larvae indoors during cool winter periods you'd be better off using a space heater and a humidifier to make a whole room more suitable for rearing. Most species do best in larger screen cages where they have adequate air flow. In my experience misting larvae with water a few times a day in drier conditions works well in screen cage rearing. This way they can drink their fill and then dry off after a short time. High humidity inside small areas without good air flow is usually death to Lep. larvae through disease manifestations. The crowding of larvae inside smaller spaces without good air flow can be disastrous too. Some species can handle overcrowding well while others can't.

    I live in an area where Winter time rearing is almost impossible because food plants are without leaves. I have used privet and rhododendron to rear a few tropical species during Winter, but the results are usually poor because the leaves are usually in bad shape at that time of year.

    Are you rearing the atropos on privet?
     
  4. Sbiriguda

    Sbiriguda Arachnopeon

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    Hi NathanJBoob, sorry for my very late answer
    Yes, I am rearing Acherontia on privet (ligustrum ovalifolium). I live in northern Italy, the ligustrum is very good to rear these animals all the year, also during winter.
    I alredy bought a thermostat and a heating cable, I would like to use them. I also would like to buy a humidifier, because Acherontia is very sensitive to humidity conditions. They require high humidity, not less than 60%. Preferably 90%. Though spraying them directly with water is not good for them, especially pupae
    Any suggestions on the humidifier to use?
    Thank you
     
  5. NathanJBoob

    NathanJBoob Arachnopeon

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    I bought my humidifier at a department store for around $50. It's not fancy, but it gets the job done. I think any of the ones available will work just fine.

    In my experience, spraying larvae is fine as long as their enclosure dries out completely after a few hours. Any bare pupae are kept in airtight containers and the inside of the kids are kept mister with water. I agree that water on pupae is never a good idea.