2 thoughts on “Gone beetle-hunting”

  1. My daughter and her dad caught a couple of “kabutomushi”(Japanese beetle), actually “kuwagatamushi” last summer, hopefully they will be able to catch some again this year too.

    We bought a big plastic case to put them in and dh went to his friend’s lumber yard and collected some sawdust to put in the big bug case. I know that the 100 yen shop sells some small plastic bug cases that are solid on the bottom so you can even put in water and the fish you catch from the rice paddies instead of bugs if you want. The 100 yen shop also sells kabutomushi food that looks like the jellies children love to eat, except the bug food is brown. We also bought this circle of wood that had holes in it to put the food in (unnecessary, but it was fun). The bugs also ate “mitsu” which is like corn syrup, we might have mixed it with water to thin it, but I can’t remember. We bought the bug fixins’ at our local home center. In fact, I just looked at the ads for the home center and it had some stuff on sale for the little critters. – Joan in Kansai

    My son has just taken care of pairs of kabuto-mushi this past two months. We fed them cup jelly and water-melon which they loved best. In shops, they sell special jelly-packs (with vitamin content) though I was told by others that regular cup jelly will do. Our beetles had voracious appetites and a pair will finish a generous slice of watermelon a day. The mushi-kago can be filled with either soil or sawdust/woodchips specially bought from Daiyei or other pet sections of stores. Wet the woodchips or sawdust and find a nice split log for them to nest under. We gave a pair to a friend of ours, sadly they died within days probably because our friends did not heed our advice regarding food and who fed them cucumbers instead of fruit. There are lots of books on care for kabuto-mushi in the stores, my son owns at least three, all of them show proper way to care for bugs. – AK in Yokohama

    When I was a kid, I was fascinated to catch the Kabutomushi, you know it is the beetle which has a long horn. It was a long time ago(almost 20 years ago). Even though a few generations have passed since I was the kid, the Kabutomushi is still haunting the kids’ heart. Unfortunately it fascinated them in the different way… You know Mushiking, which is a Video game at a toy shop. I have never showed him it, but he learned from Youchien. I have never let him play the game, but the most his friends are obsessed to collect the cards…I do not like the idea that the kids think the all kinds beetles are just fighters at the game, because they think it is a game player instead of thinking it is a living creature. The reason why it becomes the game is that the beetles are really rarely to be seen in nature, even in the country side where I am living. Now you can see them at pet shops. When I was a kid, every kid back then knew how to take care of the beetles. I feel so sad you do not know how to take care of them… It is a just a beetle, check for information on the net. You will get tons information. Let the kids to check the local library, the beetles are really popular staff for the Japanese kids. Ask your Japanese friends, they will give you a lot information. Yuji Tai in Takamatsu

  2. Hints for breeding

    1. Try to keep only one male in one container. Otherwise they fight each other and shorten their lives. If you can’t afford too many containers and can’t help keeping more than two together, put many pieces of woods where they can hide, and abundant food.

    2. Keep the container in some place where it is dark, stable in temperature and well ventilated.

    3. Take some appropriate measures to avoid the small flies that would swarm to the food in the container.

    4. You may find some ticks at the sockets of their legs. They may shorten the lives of stag beetles, so you had better wash them off using a tooth brush and water. If there are very many of them, you should change the wood flakes and the woods to new ones. If you want to exterminate the ticks, you might as well water the flakes and woods and heat them in a microwave oven.

    5. After their mating, keep them in separate containers. Otherwise the male may bite the female to death, or the female may bite off the legs of the male.

    6. There are two ways to breed the larva. One is to drill a pit in the decayed wood for the larva, and the other is to breed it in a bottle filled tightly with the milled flakes of the wood. You may get the imago sooner by breeding it in the bottle, but the size of such imago tends to be rather small.

    7. They lay their eggs not necessarily always in the decayed wood. If you find some eggs or larvae in the flakes, keep them in separate containers. Otherwise they may eat each other to death or the imago may destroy the eggs. You would need a lot of containers as it is better to breed all larvae separately. As you may change the containers along with the growth of the larvae, any size of container can be utilized. You might keep a small larva in a film case, while you may use the bottle of instant coffee for larger ones. You had better drill a small hole on top of the cap (1 or 2 mm) for ventilation. For its final ecdysis to be an imago, it would need a space three times as large as the size of the larva.

    8. When you change the flakes, leave some old ones instead of changing them all. They are necessary because they have some bacteria deriving from the larva’s excretes which help digestion.

    9. Do not touch the larva or the pupa with your hands. Try to use a big spoon or something to move them. Try your best not to wound them. They may get ill by bad bacteria on your fingers.

    10. The larva gets all wrinkled just before it turns into a pupa. Do not move the container in such a case. The larva may die by shaking during this vulnerable period.

    11. Do not move the container also once it turned into a pupa. It may die also if you dig it out.

    12. Even after the final ecdysis to be an imago, it takes some time (days and weeks) until it comes out. You need a patience.

    If you succeed in breeding them from generation to generation, try breeding big imagos. There are many studies being done in Japan to add various nutrients to the food for better growth. Good luck !

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