Asbolus verrucosus (BDFB) Care Sheet

Asbolus verrucosus (BDFB) Care Sheet

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The blue death feigning beetle, also called the desert ironclad beetle, is
a species of darkling beetle native to the Southwestern United States
and parts of Mexico, found mainly in the Sonoran desert. The body of
this beetle is black but covered in a waxy layer that provides protection
from the sun and their distinct blue color. When startled, they will lay
motionless on their backs, feigning death, until the threat has passed.
Like many insects, they undergo complete metamorphosis with egg,
larva, pupa, and adult stages. All life stages of this beetle are harmless
to humans, and their lifespan is thought to be about 8 or more years. As
adults, their size ranges from about 0.5-1 inch (1.3-2.5 cm) in length.
With their active behavior, long lifespan, and easy care, blue death
feigning beetles have become a popular pet insect.


Recommended day temperatures can range between 75-95°
F (23.9-35°C) though this beetle species tends to be most
active when kept between 80-85 (26.7-29.4°C).
Temperatures should drop at night to mimic natural
conditions, but remain around 50-60°F (10-15.6°C). If
temperatures drop below 50°F (10°C), a heat source would
be beneficial at night. Blue death feigning beetles can be
inactive if kept in cooler conditions for over a 24 hour cycle.
This may be an indicator to raise the temperature. Having a
probe thermometer set on the substrate, is an easy and
inexpensive way to monitor enclosure conditions. Heat lamps
come in a variety of sizes and are effective in providing stable
warmth when on a thermostat. Any heat sources should be
placed at one end of the enclosure to provide a warmer end
and cooler end to choose from. At this time, it is thought UVB
light is not necessary for this species.

Water & Humidity

Blue death feigning beetles are well adapted to their low
humidity climate and obtain most hydration from their food.
Keeping a water dish with this species may be a hazard with
their poor ability to swim, however ant water towers work
well for a water source. Occasionally misting a small portion
of their enclosure to provide additional water is
recommended. Their enclosure should be kept dry with
under about 20% relative humidity. An hygrometer, or
humidity gauge, is an easy and inexpensive way to read the
humidity. Improving the enclosure ventilation can help lower
humidity if needed. Blue death feigning beetles that are wet
or are kept in more humid conditions will be darker or black
temporarily until conditions are drier.

Diet & Food

These beetles are opportunistic and will feed on a wide variety of plant
and animal matter in the wild. It is recommended to keep their diet
lower in sugar and higher in protein. Rotate out food items several
times per week to vary nutrition and provide a source of hydration.
Suggested food options include but are not limited to:
● Seeds: Sunflower seeds and other unsalted, unroasted seeds.
● Produce, Roots, and Similar: Cactus, cactus fruit, lichens, mushrooms,
lettuce roots, grass roots, and other plant roots washed well to avoid
pesticides and fertilizers. While fruits and vegetables are readily
accepted, it is best to limit high sugar fruits and root vegetables to
occasional treats rather than staple food items.
● Protein: Bee pollen and fresh killed invertebrates such as crickets,
superworms, mealworms, roaches, black soldier fly larva, and more.
● Other: Invertebrate gel mixes, low sugar agar based beetle jelly.

Enclosure & Substrate

Blue death feigning beetles are active insects but cannot fly or climb
smooth surfaces. Their enclosure should be a smooth glass or plastic
container with good ventilation. When choosing an enclosure,
horizontal space has more useable area than vertical space though they
will climb any items placed in their enclosure. There should be enough
space for all individuals to move freely with multiple hides to choose
from. It is recommended each beetle have an area at least 5 times their
body size. Larger is better as blue death feigning beetles tend to use all
space provided. Clean aquarium decorations, wood, cork, rock, and
dried leaves can all offer more climbing surface area, hides, and
enrichment. Be sure there are no sharp edges or openings small enough
to get stuck in. It is recommended to have a 2 layer substrate. The
bottom 2 inch (5.1cm) layer should be a mixture of one part sand/clay
(such as a reptile desert substrate) and 3 part decaying plant matter
(such as millipede substrate). The top 1 inch (2.5cm) layer should be
sand/clay (such as a reptile desert substrate).You can choose to change
the substrate out a couple times a year to clean the tank.


Asbolus Substrate


Bee Pollen

Desert Beetle Food Pack

Asbolus and Desert Beetle Food

Cholla Wood:

Cholla Wood Scraps:

Protein Jelly Holder:

Brown Sugar Beetle Jelly:

Beetle/Ant waterer:

BDFB Collectible Pin:

BDFB Sticker: