15 Long Lived Insects That Make Great Pets

In this article I’ll lay out 15 insects that are long lived and make great pets.

Not only that, for each bug we’ll show you:

  • How long the insect lives in capitivity and in the wild
  • Why they make great pets
  • Why this particular insect thrives in captivity
  • Special considerations when caring for this insect
  • Costs of keeping these insects, habitat, food, heating bills etc…

Keeping a long lived insect can be a great experience and you can form a bond with your pet that can truly unique.

So without further ado, let’s get into it…

InsectLifespan
Mantis 4-6 months (wild) 12-18 months (captivity)
Phasmids (stick insect) 12 months (wild) 12-18 months (captivity)
Cricket 3 months (wild) up to 2 years! (captivity)
Mandagascar hissing cockroach 12 months (wild) 2 – 5 years (captivity)
Ants Queen ants up to 30 years!
Mealworms Between 2 months and up to 15 years!
Rhinoceros Beetles 3 – 6 months
Bees Queen bees up to 5 years!
Giant Prickly Stick Insect up to 15 months
Leaf Insects 12 months
Orchid Mantis 6 months
Silk Worm 6-8 weeks
Stag Beetle 3-7 years
Atlas Beetle 8 months
Chinese Mantis 18 months

Mantis

Life span – 4-6 months (wild) 12-18 months (captivity)

Captivity – Mantid’s aren’t picky, as long as you keep them fed and comfortable they are happy creatures

Special Considerations – Better housed individually in a small tank rather than in a group.

Cost of keeping – relatively low, food can be purchased from most pet stores.

Keeping mantids such as the preying mantis is such a rewarding thing. They are a marvel of nature and an impressive predator. The most common of which to keep as a pet would be the European mantis. We have an entire second of School of bugs dedicated to these truly amazing creatures.

You can check it out here: Praying Mantis Articles

Phasmids (stick insect)

By Kgbo - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=88588309

Life span – 12 months (wild) 12-18 months (captivity)

Captivity – Phasmids make great pets! They are visually stunning and are very content being raised by humans.

Special Considerations – Medium sized containers that allow the phasmid (stick insect) to roam would be ideal.

Cost of keeping – relatively low, they are plant eaters and prefer food to be moist and luke warm if possible.

Phasmids, often known commonly as stick insects are found around the world. They are a marvel of nature and are visually stunning. Any potential owner can impress their friends and family with this weird and wonderful creature.

Cricket

crickets as pets

Life span – 3 months (wild) up to 2 years! (captivity)

Captivity – crickets make great pets! They are not fussy and will take to captivity very well.

Special Considerations – Something large enough to allow them to hop would be ideal.

Cost of keeping – relatively low, they are usually food for more exotic carnivorous insects and pets!

Crickets can live up to 2 years in captivity! Although this is not a common occurrence. Generally speaking crickets that are kept by humans will far out live those in the wild.

They are very easy to keep and very low maintenance. Not to mention cheap! Crickets are often used as live food for other more exotic pets, so they are widely available in pet stores.

Mandagascar hissing cockroach

By Ltshears - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6701122

Life span – 12 months (wild) 2 – 5 years (captivity)

Captivity – Hissing cockroaches like most cockroaches have adapted to human environments well. They will not have a problem in captivity.

Special Considerations – Medium sized containers that allow the roaches to roam would be ideal. Like their name suggests they do hiss though, so it might be worth keeping where it won’t disturb you.

Cost of keeping – relatively low, they are cockroaches and don’t require an extensive diet. You local pet store will be able to provide you with all the supplies you’d need.

Such a cool creature. I know cockroaches get a bad rap and for good reason! But the more exotic breeds such as the Madagascan cockroach make for an awesome pet. They get my recommendation.

Ants

Life span – Queen ants up to 30 years!

Captivity – Every should be familiar with the ant farms you might have owned as a kid. High quality ones are available at a very afordable price.

Special Considerations – Not really, but be careful not to accidentally topple over your ant farm, it could be messy!

Cost of keeping – relatively low, they are ants after all.

Ants have been around for millions of years longer than humans. They are incredible cooperative creatures that have evolved a hive mentality. The queens of particular breeds can live up to 30 years!

So you could have your pets for quite some time.

Mealworms

Life span – Between 2 months and up to 15 years!

Captivity – These worms aren’t fussy. They’ll thrive in captivity.

Special Considerations – Consider the meal worm lifecycle.

Cost of keeping – relatively low, a simple contain with space to roam will be sufficient.

OK so this lifespan obviously needs a little more explanation. Meal worms are the larval form of darkling beetles and those beetles can live up to 15 years.

Rhinoceros Beetles

Life span – 3 – 6 months

Captivity – both adults and larvel forms are relatively simple to keep. They do tend to live much longer in captivity. So that’s something to keep in mind.

Special Considerations – They live off fruit, nectar and sap.

Cost of keeping – relatively low

Such a cool and fearsome looking animal. For my money, this is one of the most impressive beetles to look at. A Rhinoceros Beetles deserves a cool enclosure and that can add to the joy of keeping this cool insect.

Honey Bees

By U.S. Geological Survey from Reston, VA, USA - Queen Bee, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=65657513

Life span – Queen bees up to 5 years!

Captivity – It goes without saying that bees thrive in a semi captive environment. Humans and bees have been working together for hundreds of years.

Special Considerations – Beekeeping requires a bunch of special equipment and knowledge. This probably isn’t for novices.

Cost of keeping – it depends on what route you go for. Simple hives are cheap but something like a flow hive can cost upwards of $500.

No list of potential long lived pet insects would be complete without a mention to beekeeping. The obvious benefits would be that they produce honey!

A beehive on your property could be a great way to pollinate plants in your garden and local area too.

Giant Prickly Stick Insect

By Pavel Kirillov from St.Petersburg, Russia - Giant Prickly Stick Insect, Spiny Leaf insect, Macleay's Spectre (Extatosoma tiaratum), CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46853636

Life span – 12 months

Captivity – They are not bothered by captivity and take to it very well.

Special Considerations – Most lives off black berry leaves

Cost of keeping – they are found throughout the world and make great pets, unlike hissing cockroaches they are quiet!

Just like the rhino beetle. this animal is one of the most visually impressive creatures. It would make a great addition to a school biology class room for all the students to admire.

Leaf Insects

Life span – 12 months

Captivity – They are pretty much stick insects so the same is true for them. They live well in captivity.

Special Considerations – Not really.

Cost of keeping – relatively low, most insects are cheap to keep.

Stick insects are such a good option. I’m amazed by how they have evolved to disguise themselves as plants in order to camouflage from predators.

Orchid Mantis

By Philipp Psurek - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6385085

Life span – 6 months

Captivity – Every should be familiar with the ant farms you might have owned as a kid. High quality ones are available at a very afordable price.

Special Considerations – mantis eat a lot! relative to other insects they have a ferrous appetite.

Cost of keeping – even though they have a large appetite, the food is still very cheap.

Imagine how many times you’ve walked by an orchid and there could have been a orchid mantis hiding in there! If you are going to keep this incredible creature then I’d recommend putting some orchids in its habitat!

Silk Worm

By Simtastic01 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=91821853

Life span – 6-8 weeks

Captivity – They don’t seem to mind captivity.

Special Considerations – their diet is a little more specialized. They feed off mulberry leaves.

Cost of keeping – relatively low however finding the leaves might be tricky.

On the lower end of the long lived insects, but still a cool insect none the less. This would be a cool pet to educate your kids on where silk comes from!

Stag Beetle

By Geo Lightspeed7 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80894896

Life span – 3 – 7 years

Captivity – They do not mind captivity and are a popular pet.

Special Considerations – Not really.

Cost of keeping – relatively low.

I’m always surprised at the lifespan of beetles. For such small creatures they tend to have long lives. This is however dependent on a number of factors including weather.

Atlas Beetle

By Wikipedia Loves Art participant "Assignment_Houston_One" - Uploaded from the Wikipedia Loves Art photo pool on Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8912260

Life span – up to 8 months

Captivity – Most beetles make good pets, because of their lifespan ranges you can chose which suits you best.

Special Considerations – Not really.

Cost of keeping – relatively low,.

The last of the beetle recommendations. The Atlas beetle looks very similar to the rhino beetle mentioned earlier. Only with a slightly longer life span.

Chinese Mantis

Life span – up to 18 months

Captivity – They live well in captivity.

Special Considerations – Big appetites (like all mantids)

Cost of keeping – relatively low, they are ants after all.

A classically impressive mantid and closer to what people think of when you say the words praying mantis!

Conclusion

So there you have it! 15 long lived insects that make great pets.

If you want to learn more about various insects, then checkout our site categories, we have a bunch of articles there that are totally worth reading:

Spider

Pest Category

Ladybugs

Termites

Roaches

P.S.

That’s it for this article. I hope you enjoyed reading it and if you think it might be useful for someone else then please share it on social media, email or your own website! It really encourages us to write more content and grow the site!

All the best

Steve

Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page https://schoolofbugs.com/about-steve-foster/

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