Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Stick Insect Amnesty

By Sarah Moore

Do you have some stick insects or walking stick bugs that you inherited from a classroom, or got as a pet, and that you don’t want any more? Did you know that Pacific Science Center has permission from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to accept any non-native stick insects?

The USDA fears that there are many non-native stick bugs that have the potential to become naturalized and harmful pests. We encourage stick bug owners to retire their colonies by bringing them to us. If they are able to escape into the outdoors, these insects are invasive and have the potential to severely harm the environment. Many species of stick insect are parthenogenic, meaning capable of reproducing without males. In other words, eggs from females are viable without being fertilized. So in addition to careful containment of the insect, all their bedding must be destroyed – ideally by freezing. (Do not compost!)

In some states, the USDA has dealt with colonies of these insects being released into new habitats and becoming established. We want to make sure that Seattle and its environs don’t have this happen. We will cheerfully accept any stick insects that are brought to us.

If you would like to bring us your stick insects, please contact us at We will make arrangements for you to bring them in to the Science Center.

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