Judging by all the articles you find on the internet, it would seem that stick insects can eat just about anything green. Although such generalisations are fairly accurate, they are not necessarily true in every case. For instance, can stick insects eat apple? Yes and no. Remember that there are thousands of different stick insect species in the wild. To say that every species can or cannot eat apple would not be accurate.
There are couple of things to know about stick insects and their diets. First, stick insects are herbivores. That means they subsist entirely on plant life. Second, most species of stick insects prefer leaves. So when you hear people say that you can feed your stick insect bramble, rose, privet, oak, etc., they are almost always talking about the leaves of those plants.
Third, understand that some species of insects are not very picky about what they eat. The Indian stick insect is a great example. It is one of the most popular stick insect species to be kept as a pet because it is so carefree.
Finally, the last thing to note is that stick insects instinctively know what kinds of plants are toxic to them. So even if you tried to feed apple to an insect that cannot eat it, there is nothing to worry about. It will not be eaten. That goes for any food. If you place a new kind of food in your enclosure and your pet won’t touch it, you know it’s a food your species of stick insect can’t eat.
More About Apple
The word ‘apple’ is subject to some disambiguation. It can refer to the apple tree or the fruit the tree bears. That makes a difference when you’re talking about stick insects and what they eat. More on that in a minute. As for the apple tree itself, science suggests it once grew in Central Asia alone. But over thousands of years of travel and trade, the tree eventually made its way around the world.
Today you can find apple trees on five of the seven continents. They are plentiful throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. Part of their popularity is due to the fact that they are easy to grow and maintain. It is also fairly easy to develop new varieties of apples by crossing different kinds of trees.
Feeding Apple to Your Stick Insect
Getting back to whether or not stick insects can eat apple, it is really a guessing game. Start with apple leaves first. Cut a few leaves up and place them in the enclosure with a little bit of water. Then wait and see. If your insect eats the leaves, you’re good to go there. Then you can move on to the actual fruit.
The apple fruit is where things can get a bit more complicated. We do not tend to view stick insects as fruit eaters, but some species actually seem to love the fruits. If you’re interested, there are a few YouTube videos showing certain species of spiny stick insects feasting on sliced apples. It is actually quite fascinating to watch.
Like you would with apple leaves, place a couple of fruit slices in your enclosure and see what happens. If your pet will eat the leaves but not touch the fruit, it may be just a matter of a finicky insect just not being interested in the fruit. If your pet eats both, congratulate yourself. You have found an easily accessible food source you can obtain from supermarkets, farmers markets, or even from the wild.
The only caution with the apple fruit is that you do not leave it hanging around for a long time. You can place leaves in the enclosure and let them sit for several days before changing them. You cannot do that with the fruit. The fruit goes bad much more quickly. Your best bet is to leave apple slices in the enclosure for no more than a single day.
Make Sure the Apple is Clean
We will close this post with the usual caution about cleaning apple leaves and fruit. The food itself may be perfectly fine for your insect, but any contaminants found on it could pose a problem. This means you should be washing any leaves or fruit you buy from a shop or harvest from a farm.
Apple taken from the wild is probably not in danger of being contaminated. However, it won’t hurt to wash it first. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Can stick insects eat apple? Some can, others can’t. The only way to know for sure is to place some leaves and fruit in your enclosure and then watch to see what happens.