How did you get into bugs?

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Praxibetelix
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PostPraxibetelix on 11/17/2016, 11:43 am

Let's share how we all got started collecting, studying, or keeping insects!

I have a 5-year old daughter and a now 4-year old son, they both have always liked finding insects. I did not want them to be afraid of them, so I encouraged them to look for and watch bugs. Last summer, we found a wheel bug (arilus cristatus) in the back yard and caught it. We ended up keeping it from August till February when it died.

Then, for her birthday, my daughter asked for some beetles, so we bought them from Peter at bugsincyberspace.com. We have allergies in the household, so no dogs or cats for us.

I am happy to no longer be completely squeamish about bugs. They are so interesting, and I want to learn more about them. My daughter tells everyone she wants to be an entomologist when she grows up. We enjoy looking at photos of bugs online and visiting the insects at the zoo.

What is your story?
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PostT.C. on 11/17/2016, 4:47 pm

Cool, personally myself, ever since i was a kid insects were always an interest of mine. I grew up in a yard with a pond in the back yard. I collected aquatic insects from there... then just started doing research on insects and one thing lead to another and a few months later my bedroom was full of bugs. I truly find them interesting, fun to keep, and if you decide you don't want to keep a certain bug, you just dump it out the front door. Very Happy
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Postmothman27 on 11/19/2016, 2:24 pm

My brother who is 2yrs older than me actually liked bugs from a very young age. I got interested in them from him and now I am the one who is obsessed with bugs. I started collecting bugs three years ago when I was 12 for 4-H and I now collect native, exotic and raise native. I collect all types of insects with moths being my favorites being moths. my collection is around 700 bugs now (you can see it in another thread). Next year I am hoping to try hybridizing some native silkmoths and raising some butterflies too.
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PostT.C. on 11/19/2016, 6:01 pm

Do you have monarchs in your area? Them are my favorite, only they are getting harder to get your hands on all the time.
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Postmothman27 on 11/19/2016, 9:27 pm

Yes. I have raised them several times, probably more than any other bugs because we raised caterpillars when I was younger. I don't exactingly believe they are getting rarer and if they are, it is most certainly NOT because of a milkweed shortage. I see tons of milkweed on the roadsides. They are not even close to being an endangered species. There are many, many other moths and butterflies that are much rarer. Just look up photos of the Mexican monarch migration. But people don't care about the rare moths and beetles because they are small or perhaps dull colored. Perhaps their range is getting smaller. I like monarchs too. Have you ever caught viceroys? Do you know how to tell male monarchs from females?
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Postmothman27 on 11/19/2016, 9:46 pm

There are 19 endangered North American butterflies and 3 threatened that most people have never heard of but everyone knows what a monarch is and monarch is not either endangered or threatened. Personally I like Speyeria idalia, the Regal Fritillary. It is threatened here in Indiana. I am not trying to make monarchs sound bad, I think they are very cool. Here are some photos:










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PostT.C. on 11/19/2016, 9:56 pm

haha, is there any butterflies or moths you haven't kept? Nice monarch!
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Postmothman27 on 11/20/2016, 5:42 am

Haha. Yes, many,many. I have only kept 4 kinds of butterflies.
Monarch
Black swallowttail
anise swallowtail
Great spangled Fritillary
For moths I have raised:
Antheraea polyphemus
Actias luna
Automeris io
Automeris zephyria
Hyalophora cecropia
Callosamia promethea
Callosamia angulifera
Citheronia splendens
Diedamia inscriptum
Amphion floridensis
Sphecodina abbottii
Maduca sexta

Many more I have attempted to raise and then failed.
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Postmothman27 on 11/20/2016, 11:53 am

@T.C. wrote:Cool, personally myself, ever since i was a kid insects were always an interest of mine. I grew up in a yard with a pond in the back yard. I collected aquatic insects from there... then just started doing research on insects and one thing lead to another and a few months later my bedroom was full of bugs. I truly find them interesting, fun to keep, and if you decide you don't want to keep a certain bug, you just dump it out the front door. Very Happy
Do you get any dragonflies?
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PostT.C. on 11/20/2016, 4:35 pm

Yeah, I kept them in a paddle boat. I fed them tadpoles for the most part.
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Postmothman27 on 3/15/2017, 2:19 pm

If you are new to the forum please share how you got into bugs. Smile

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PostLoops117 on 3/16/2017, 3:45 pm

Pre-apologies for wall of text.

I got into bugs by just growing up with them. As a child, I spent the day time exploring and catching everything Michigan has to offer. Most days you could find me in the woods, spillways, and wetlands collecting anything I could find. For me, it’s never been about just insects, but more or less collecting of anything living in general. Had my own fish tanks since I could care for them at a young age, starting off with a brine shrimp 10g tank.

I kept mantids and other insects as I found them, but my main interests as a youngster were with amphibians and reptiles as they were the easiest to collect. My parents got me my first terrarium when I was 10 years old and it consisted of fish, American anoles, grass lizards, fire belly toads, fire belly newts, and live plants. I kept this setup for years, and added more as I could. I learned a LOT during that time period (including painted turtles are a$$ holes and will eat everything living in your terrarium), and id have to say that’s the defining point in how I collected and housed anything from then on. I grew fond symbiotic relationships, colonizing, and co-habitats with my collections, and started to really enjoy the results.

As I got older, we had moved to an area that was too far from any of my normal stomping grounds and just didn’t offer the same fauna which caused me to advance into a more difficult hobby, salt water reef keeping. I spent my days after school tending to my 4 tanks, (2)4ft 90g, (1)4ft 110g and (1)7ft 200g (which can be found on my youtube channel). With those 4 setups, I pushed my boundaries on symbiotic, colonial, and co-relationships. Within one tank, I was able to achieve all 3 of my desires and really learn something. This all required quite a bit of special attention to keep levels, temps, and maintenance constantly in check, which in turn conditioned me to spend a little more time learning and researching what I was trying to achieve. Coral colonies, schools of fish, symbiotic relationships between those, and even my non reef friendly inhabitants living in a reef tank and keep them from eating my coral colonies. There’s a bit of science to it. This all lasted roughly 6 years until we were forced to drastically downsize our tank sizes due to spacing and weight issues in an older house. I miss this hobby greatly, and plan to revisit it in the future.
After the move, I was searching for a new hobby to keep me occupied. One that can be just as rewarding as it is educational for both me and my son. I dabbled around in a couple different hobbies, and none really stuck until I picked up my first pair of Phyllocrania paradoxa (ghost mantis) with the intention to breed and keep a colony.  While keeping this pair, I started to research a renewable food source for my soon to be colony of ghost mantids. I didn’t like buying a whole culture of fruit flies just to use a 3rd, and my dubia roaches were wayyyyyy to huge. I started doing my research and found termites. I thought it was awesome and spent some time researching termites, and how to keep/care for them. After finding out I couldn’t import a colony, and any termite species native to my area wasn’t anything worth keeping, I decided to go with ants. Why not? They pretty much fall in line with what my interests were and I had been contemplating an ant farm (uncle miltons) for quite some time. So, I jumped in feet first and started to research/learn everything I could. This knowledge gave me a much better understanding for insect keeping, which I didn’t learn through all my childhood years collecting and keeping insects. I was able to keep insects at a much larger scale, with the ability to back up my hobby with my own money to further my own personal research.

I can’t say I’ve ever made any discoveries, alternative solutions, or an impact on any of the hobbies. I haven’t gone forward with going to school to become an Entomologist/marine biologist as I was hoping to do. But I have done something that will put a smile on my face every single time I think about it and makes it all worth it, which is that I’ve taught my son about nature. He’s not in a house playing games all day, or killing ants with a magnifying glass. My son likes to spend time exploring and looking for insects with me. He likes to learn the names of the bugs, and tell people about the camponotus ant colony he has. He’s always the first volunteer to go on any insect collection trips, and I’m happy to have him with me.

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PostT.C. on 3/17/2017, 10:39 am

I had painted turtles in my tank. They actually never did well though... especially the baby ones I caught a lot of years back. I couldn't get any of them to eat. Them were the good days though, trailing out into ponds in your shorts and bare feet trying to get your hands on just about anything. Alot of different creatures in ponds so I was always busy trying to catch the huge snapping turtle in there or catch a bunch of leeches for the bait shop. Really, over the years I had kept just about every thing that could be found in a pond.
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PostCanadian anter on 3/19/2017, 9:08 am

I liked insects ever since I was five I've raised Lepidoptera and mantodea but didn't care for anything else I've raised
Papilio glaucus
Papilio polyxenes
Pieris rapae
Pieris brassicae
Vanessa atalanta
Colias philodice
Mantid religiosa by the time I was 9

I started keeping Saturniidae that I bought fom a dealer because none lived in my area and so right now I have kept
Automeris io
Samia cynthia
Hyalophora columbia
Hyalophora cecropia
Callosamia promethea
Actias luna
Antheraea polyphemeus
Dryocampa rubicunda

At 12 I started Formicidae of which I have kept
Camponotus novaeboracensis
Camponotus pennsylvanicus
Crematogaster cerasi
Formica neogagates
Formica ulkei
Formica neorufibarbis
Lasius crypticus
Lasius pallitarsis
Lasius flavus
Lasius claviger
Myrmica rubra
Native myrmica sp.
Formica podzolica
Aphaenogaster occidentalis
Temnothorax ambiguus
Brachymyrmex depilis
Crematogaster lineolata
Formica aserva
Ponera Pennsylvanica
Formica subsericea
Lasius neoniger
Myrmecina americana
Myrmica fracticornis
Solenopsis molesta
Tapinoma sessile
Lasius alienus
Strumigenys sp.
Tetramorium sp E

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