How do I make a Container Garden for juvenile Assassin bugs?

The Tinley Park NARBC Reptile Show was last weekend, and it was a blast! While there vending with Josh's Frogs, I picked up a group of 6 juvenile assassin bugs. These brightly colored inverts from Africa make pretty amazing display animals, I was told, so I decided I'd want to keep them on my desk. After researching them a bit, I learned that younger animals required higher humidity conditions compared to adults, so I constructed a container garden for them.


First, I choose a large (~1 gallon) glass container with a lid that fit securely, but had several small air gaps. Assassin bugs require ventilation, so I didn't want to keep them in too soggy of an environment. As adults, assassin bugs require more ventilation than this enclosure will provide, so they'll be moved down the road. I rinsed the container out with water, then was ready to set it up!


Next, I placed about a 1" layer of Josh's Frogs False Bottom in my future assassin bug container garden. Josh's Frogs False Bottom will provide a place for any excess water to go without rotting out the above substrate, and allows for excellent drainage. It's also super light weight, and makes moving the container easy. After the False Bottom was in place, I added in a small cork tube, which will serve as a planter and a place for the assassin bugs to hang out.


After the cork tube was in place, I put in a thin layer of Josh's Frogs Sheet Moss. This should grow over time, and will also serve as a good growth medium for the plants chosen for the assassin bug container garden. The sheet moss will also be an easy substrate to keep clean, and remove dried cricket carcasses from after the assassin bugs are done with them. Next, I planted a small Korean Rock Fern in the hollow cavity of the cork tube, along with some Josh's Frogs ABG Mix. After the fern was planted, I added in a few small pieces of spikemoss to provide a nice ground cover. After all the plants were in, I added water to moisten the plants and to maintain about a 1/2" layer of standing water at the bottom of the container.


Finally, the assassin bug container garden was done. Time to add the assassin bugs! I carefully prodded them out of their temporary housing in a deli cup into their new environment, making sure to keep my distance from their potentially harmful bite and ability to spew irritating chemicals. So far, the assassin bugs seem to be enjoying their new habitat, and have already accepted a lunch of delicious cricket. Some research suggested they make like it a bit warmer, while others stated they'd be fine at room temperature, so I'll continue to monitor how they do, and may add a small heat pad under the container.

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