A Sydney stick insect breeder is quitting the business after losing three houses in fires started during the mating process of the cleverly camouflaged arthropods.
“Unfortunately when two sticks rub together the results are predictable,” said insect dealer Robbie Phasmid as he surveyed the smouldering ruins of his home. “I noticed the insects looking a little frisky when I fed them their supper just before going to bed and I really should have put them in separate cages.”
“It appears that two insects engaged in vigorous congress have created a spark igniting the straw on the bottom of their cage causing a conflagration that has quickly engulfed the rest of the house,” said fire chief Chris Hookenladder. “No matter how many times we warn the public of the danger of keeping horny stick insects together in the same cage there’s always a cowboy who thinks they can get away with it.”
Despite the dangers involved in the industry breeding Lord Howe Island stick insects is becoming an attractive proposition for insect merchants aware that a healthy specimen can fetch up to ten thousands dollars on the black market.
“In the wild stick insect breeding is a delicate process where a third party is always on hand with a tiny little fire extinguisher and a flame proof blanket ready to throw over the mating pair,” said stick insect biologist Estelle Twigg. “If you must keep stick insects in the home I’d strongly recommend housing them in an asbestos lined terrarium.”