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A super easy sleeving method for cuttings.

When it comes to keeping larvae on host cuttings, there isn't a much simpler method than the "easy sleeve" method shown below. This works particularly well for larvae which are larger than 1/2" although with care, even small 1st instar larvae may be safely reared this way.

The setup is simple - an empty bottle is filled with water and the host cuttings are placed into it. IMPORTANT: Make sure that the stalks fit tightly through the bottle top or the larvae will wander down into the water and drown. This will also prevent frass from falling into and contaminating the water supply. If there aren't enough host cuttings to tightly fill the bottle opening, cut some bare stalks, stems, or even stuff some cloth into the gaps to completely fill the opening. This is particularly important with small larvae. Larger, 4th or 5th instar larvae should be large enough so that only large gaps would be a problem. Beware that larvae will sometimes squeeze through fairly small holes for no particular reason (just to see what's on the other side!).

Once the host is packed tightly into the bottle, it can be fed - bottle first - into the sleeve. Just below the bottle mouth and threads is a convenient tie-point.

The larvae can then be placed into the sleeve and the top of the sleeve tied. If you leave enough extra sleeve at the top, the whole assembly can be hung by it with a strong clamp or clip to provide a convenient way to store the sleeve while the larvae grow.

To make filling the water bottle easier, I drilled a small hole (about 3/16" dia.) just below the the threads where the sleeve is tied, so that I can refill the bottle with a pointed-tip squeeze bottle. This allows refilling without having to remove the sleeve. The picture below shows the whole assembly... (5-25-2006

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