Just when I though I was on track, one of the females locusts decides she can’t find anywhere to lay her eggs, and instead dumps them on the floor of the tank. The unprotected eggs have quickly started to dry in the heat of the tank, rendered nonviable.
The white fluffy stuff is usually laid on top of the eggs in the egg burrow, to protect them while the nymphs develop. These eggs had already been exposed to heat for some time before I found and photographed them – I believe they’re usually lighter in colour.
I haven’t had a chance to lower the tank floor, but I don’t want to risk further egg-laying failures. As a quick solution, I swapped out the container of sand I was using for a container of damp, quite firmly packed soil. I also added sticks to provide ‘ladders’ into the container.
When I removed the sand pit, and sifted through it, I was surprised to find a couple of egg deposits – the burrows had caved in despite my efforts to keep the sand damp. I carefully transferred these to the soil container, but I don’t know if I’ve managed to save them (I’ll have to wait and see whether they hatch over the next couple of weeks).
The good news is that the next morning I spotted new egg burrows (easily keeping their shape in the firm dirt) as well as another female with her ovipositor deeply buried in the soil. Success! I’m definitely going to mix things up with my next generation (yep, I’m already counting my chickens) by trying a combo of sand and soil in the egg laying container.