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Walking Stick Invasion

Updated on November 10, 2011
Walking Stick captured in Berkeley, California
Walking Stick captured in Berkeley, California | Source
Walking Stick captured in Berkeley, California
Walking Stick captured in Berkeley, California | Source
Walking Stick captured in Berkeley, California
Walking Stick captured in Berkeley, California | Source

Walking Sticks From Asia Are Invading California

According to the California Gardening Forum, Walking Sticks from Asia are invading California and devouring gardens along the coast from San Diego to San Francisco. The suspected source is a young lad who ordered the insects from Asia over the Internet as pets and then released them where they multiplied quickly to the point where they are now a garden pest that no one is sure how to eradicate. The Walking Stick in the above photos was captured in my daughter's garden in Berkeley.

According to Wikipedia there are several varieties of Walking Sticks. They range in length from one inch to more than a foot in length and are found in the United States, South America and elsewhere in the world where they damage trees, shrubs and gardens.

An article on Walking Sticks from the California Gardening Forum is linked below.


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    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      5 years ago from North Texas

      There was the occasional walking stick around when I was growing up on a farm in Central Wisconsin. I was told they are poisonous by some people, and others said they were harmless. Doesn't sound like they're harmless, since they destroy trees and other plants, but are they poisonous?

      I have read about people who have been sprayed by them and that the stuff they spray can blind a pet. One person said it got into their mouth and they rinsed and rinsed for about 10 minutes to get it out. Aside from a nasty lingering taste they suffered no ill affects. So they may not be poisonous, or perhaps it makes a difference as to which species of walking stick as to whether they're poisonous?

      People choose the strangest things for pets sometimes . . .

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      The video is of a different species than the one invading NCal. Reminds more more of the native variety we had on the East coast when I was a kid.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image


      6 years ago

      This was very interesting! I love those little stick bugs. But I had no idea they were turning into rampant pests. I haven't seen one around here in years. As a matter of fact, I've only ever seen one in my life. About 10 years ago, it was hanging on my back porch and I almost missed it. It blended in too well.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      We have quite an invasion in our yard, here in SF (Upper Market area). It's easy enough to walk into the garden and find a half dozen or more at any given point, both adults and hatchlings. And, yup, they're as voracious and they are fascinating.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Just found two in my yard in Albany, ca. I have to assume there are more. I remember that there was a woman in the Berkeley hills who was raising them and giving them away to children.

    • clydelady2 profile image

      Nancy Ann 

      7 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Great pics! Thanks, Nancy Ann

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      7 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks, Kimberly. I think they're harmless to people.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      you never let us down

      so beautifully presented and a subject matter i am terrified of-loved it

      voted up up and away!!!!!!!!

    • peepingtomb profile image


      8 years ago

      I believe I've seen a few of these in Pennsylvania...and not recently. Some time ago. It's amazing what can happen when introducing a few invasive creatures into a new area.

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 

      8 years ago from Space Coast

      Great shots . . . better than the ones I took. They are in Florida, too.

      Sorry about the fan mail. I am a professional artist. I hate quark. I am allergic to it.

    • arusho profile image


      8 years ago from University Place, Wa.

      What great camouflage artists!

    • Storytellersrus profile image


      8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      As a child, I longed to see a walking stick. I am sad to discover some boy followed his dream and destroyed California trees in the process. I enjoyed the photos... until I read the story. Well, they remain stunning. Moving hub.

    • Xenonlit profile image


      8 years ago

      Wow. Oddly these are the only bugs that do not freak me out! California has been invaded by so many alien species that nothing is normal any more.

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks, all, for your comments.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      8 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Wow, what a strange story, and I hadn't heard about it as of yet. Usually I would like some cool bugs in the garden, but not if they are destructive like you mentioned. I hope they find something to help the situation. Thanks for sharing the information, and the photos.

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A Johnson 

      8 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      I never knew walking sticks were harmful - I've always loved them. When camping in the Baton Rouge, LA area several years ago, we came across a walking stick that was 10 inches long. Thanks for the info.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools Hogg 

      8 years ago from North-East UK

      Ralph, oh my goodness, I shall stop complaining about greenflies and slugs eating my hostas! They look absolutely huge!

    • IsadoraPandora profile image


      8 years ago from Tennessee

      Hehe. Maybe a tiger. They're so cute when gnawing their owners' heads off. :O

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      I agree. And no bears, anacondas, tigers or pit bulls.

    • IsadoraPandora profile image


      8 years ago from Tennessee

      So, boil or burn the used substrate, LOL. I'll stick to native pets. :O Or at least non-invasive ones that die in our winters.

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks for your comment.

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 

      8 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Ralph Deeds: I loved this article. I would only add, that most of the blame for this invasion is placed on the pet industry. The general walking sticks that are invading are from India. They are A sexual so when people keep walking sticks as pets, clean their cages and toss out the debris they are in fact releasing viable walking stick eggs into the surrounding environment. I would assume that praying mantids would help to eradicate the walking sticks... the two are cousins.


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