Eudicella or Buffalo beetles are some of the easiest beetles to breed. There are many species bred in captivity. The biggest ones are E. gralli gralli, that can reach an adult length of 6,5 cm!! (Males are always bigger than females and have the characteristic orange y-shaped horns) The smallest species will be between 2 and 4 cm long (E. aethiopica) If the basic needs are met, one can enjoy these for years.
The genus Eudicella originates from Africa. A lot of these beetles that are bred in captivity, come from countries like Cameroon, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, ... No need to mention they need extra heating, at least 25° Celsius is recommended. Mostly, a beetle culture is started by buying larvae. Depending on the species, they can grow into grubs of more than 7 cm long and 1,5 cm thick!!
The larvae or grubs should be kept in a big plastic box with only little ventilation. Substrate should be a 50/50 mixture of rotten wood and leaves from deciduous trees, preferably oak or beech. Other species of trees will do, but probably aren't nutritious enough for them. Additional protein can be offered in the form of fish food flakes or dog food pellets, but beware of mite infestations !! In my experience, it is best to supplement their diet with dead insects, like dead phasmids, leaf insects, dried mealworms, crickets, ... They just love to eat those and the insects wont encourage mite populations to grow as much as they would with fish or dog food. When the grubs are fully grown, they will build a pupal cell in which they will undergo a full transformation. They love to attach these cells against a large piece of wood, other pupal cells or the wall of the breeding box. If the breeding bow is see through, one can follow the entire development of the pupa. When in pupal stage, best is to reduce humidity of the substrate, in this stage, they are much more vulnerable to mites and mould and even nematodes, a kind of worm that lives in any type of soil and is inevitably present... Depending on the species, it takes the grub a couple of months (usually 2 to 3) to fully develop, and when fully developed, it stays in the pupal cell a couple more days, they need to "dry" their elytra’s, because at first they will still be soft and will easily get dented. Don't let your impatience ruin this process!!! Don't take them out yourself!! It is really hard to resist, , but they really need this time to prepare for life above ground. When the beetles are ready, they will destroy a part of the cell and emerge, but after emerging, they like to stay underground for a couple of days. When you are not sure in which stage the pupas are, you can dig one up, and carefully make a little peeking hole for example with your nail. Then you have the opportunity to have a look inside. If you've been careful enough, the pupa will just continue its development.
When the time has come when the beetles start to emerge, you may slightly increase the substrate humidity, so the walls of the pupal cells are easier to break open.
When finally, the beetles appear, they immediately start feeding, mating and laying eggs. Eudicella can be fed soft and ripe fruits. Banana is their absolute favourite, but apple, pear, pineapple, mango and other sugary fruits will be accepted. In my breeding, I've notices beetles stayed healthy for longer periods and laid more eggs if their food was sprinkled with high quality fish flakes for additional protein. Also, flowers with a lot of nectar and beetle jelly are a good supplement. The first weeks, beetles will be very active (if the temperature is high enough), but unfortunately, Eudicella is not very long lived...
After mating, females will lay 40 to 90 eggs, which they lay into the substrate. Females that lay eggs, sometimes disappear underground for days. Eggs are white at first, and towards the hatching of the tiny grub, will turn more yellow-ish.
hen the cycle is round. Make sure to check the feeding substrate regularly. They need a ton of food; 20 grubs can really eat an entire box of dead leaves and rotten wood in a matter of weeks. If you don't keep too many larvae in the same container, and they never run out of food, cannibalism won't be a huge problem. Larvae that are wounded or just weak, will be attacked by the others and will be eaten... A good strategy is to keep the bigger grubs apart from the smaller ones. Grubs that are ready to pupate, start to become more yellow in colour. It's Always a good idea to give them their own box, where they can quietly make the pupal cell without being disturbed too much.
A grub that is disturbed during this process, probably won't be able to make a decent cell again and will be lost for good. How they create this cell, is also quite interesting. They gather materials from the substrate around them, and glue these together with a liquid substance from their rear ends. They pick it up with their mouth parts and really glue the pieces of wood and leaves together. Then they start to move around in the cell and rub their bodies against the walls to make it nice and smooth on the inside.