How to breed stag beetles

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 !