Walking Stick Creature Feature
Giant Walking Sticks in Fort Worth
COMMON NAMES: Devil's Darning Needle, Walking Stick
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Order Phasmatodea, family Phasmatidae, several species
SIZE: Adult--1" to 10"
IDENTIFICATION: Adults' bodies are very long, slender, wingless, and cylindrical. Resemble sticks or twigs. Usually brown or green; will sway in the breeze to imitate vegetation. Will sometimes fall to the ground and remain motionless. Always slow-moving. Males are much smaller than the females.
BIOLOGY AND LIFE CYCLE: Nymphs look like small adults. Black eggs are laid on the ground. One generation a year. Mating is in August. Overwinter in the egg stage and hatch in mid-summer. Incomplete metamorphosis.
HABITAT: Fruit trees, grassy vegetation, shrubs and trees.
FEEDING HABITS: Plant feeders, mostly at night. Can defoliate trees, but it's rare.
ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE: Usually not significant but can reproduce rapidly to cause severe plant damage.
NATURAL CONTROL: Parasitic wasps, flies, and birds.
ORGANIC CONTROL: Hand removal. They make interesting pets and are harmless to humans. Problem infestations can be controlled with plant oils products.
INSIGHT: These big insects are more interesting than destructive, even though they do eat plant foliage. Some stick insects spray chemical defenses that can be unpleasant. Do not handle these insects close to your face.