Is It Illegal To Keep Stick Insects?

Back in 2015 I had a heck of time finding concrete information on the laws regarding keeping walking stick insects as pets. I did a recent search on Google and there seems to be better information today.

Are Stick Insects Illegal To Keep?

Non-Native Stick Insects Are Illegal To Keep In The United States

I’ve always been fascinated by stick insects and every once in a while I would come across one out in the wild. I live in Minnesota and the Indian Walking Stick is fairly common but seldom seen because of it’s camouflage.

 When you see a stick insect during the day you may wonder what would make this insect dangerous to the environment. They look totally harmless and most of the time are motionless and are by themselves.

It’s what you don’t see that causes the concern. You see stick insects are nocturnal, which means they are active at night. You may have a totally healthy plant one day and then notice half the leaves have been stripped the next day.

 These insects can really eat. I learned this first hand when I acquired a collection of walking sticks back in 2015.

stick insects eating

In the photo above you are looking at whats left of a fully leaved blackberry branch after two days in the stick insect enclosure. It’s almost spooky, the insects almost look dead when the lights are on but once I shut the lights off within 5 minutes you can actually hear them eating the leaves.

Stick Insects Are Asexual & Multiply Very Fast

The second reason stick insects are harmful and illegal is they breed like crazy and do not need a male to reproduce. In the right environment their population can explode in a very short time and they can become very invasive in states like California and Florida with their mild to warm weather.

Laboratories use Indian stick insects in their research because they breed super fast and are cheap to house. I was feeding all my excess nymphs and adults to my two Jackson chameleons.

United States Department of Agriculture Site

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