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Buying Oothecae (Egg Cases)

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Peter Clausen

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When buying oothecae (egg cases) of mantises, please be careful to discuss all details before exchanging money, including what happens if the oothecae don't hatch.

In my experience, sellers should not be held liable for unhatched oothecae. Typically, it is the buyer's act of "buying" that kills them!

Some factors to consider:

1. Were they fertile? (seller)

2. Were they fresh? (seller)

3. Were they shipped in good weather?

4. Were they packed well? Did they sit in a hot or cold mailbox for an extra day? (5 minutes in a hot mailbox can be too much.)

5. How far did they have to travel/how much time were they in the mail?

6. How quickly did the buyer set them up for incubation after arrival?

7. What temperature were they set up at? Too hot? Too cold? Consistent?

8. What humidity was provided? Too much? Too little? Consistent?

9. Ventilation issues?

10. Were they exposed to mites or mold?

These are just examples of things that can go wrong.

Under few circumstances should anybody ever expect reimbursement for wild caught oothecae. When in doubt, ask the shipper for references from previous customers.

When you choose to buy oothecae you are taking a risk. It's happened to me many times with ooths. from reputable breeders. I have also failed to hatch many oothecae that were produced by successful breedings of my own mantises. I assume my experiences are not unique. How can we blame a seller when a percentage of our own oothecae do not hatch?

 
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Katnapper

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I concur there are many things either during shipping or on the buyer's end that could go wrong. But I disagree that sellers should never be held to assume some measure of responsibility for ooths that do not hatch. I certainly feel I should give buyers their money's worth that they paid in good faith that they would receive a viable product.

Yes, things do happen. But shouldn't a seller stand behind their product? If sellers were never liable to make some sort of arrangement or compensation, I believe lots more people would try to sell ooths that may not be fertile, and they wouldn't care. What's happened to honesty, good faith, responsibility, and giving a measure of relief if the product turns out to be "defective?"

I guess it is "Buyer beware" these days. But I would feel ashamed taking someone's money for something that got their hopes up and never produced anything but disappointment. I feel recompense of the product price (minus shipping) should be the standard if ooths do prove to be duds.

 

PhilinYuma

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Yep, this is a vexed subject. Recently, I ordered three ooths from members whom I didn't know, and if they don't hatch, I'll simply note it in the feedback section and let it go at that. With people I know, though, I think that it is a point of honor and friendship to make good an ooth that doesn't hatch. Unless the purchaser is totally inexperienced, I don't think that shipping (except for exposure to very high temps, as Peter describes) will have any adverse effect. I have shipped to the Frozen North on a shipment that took about twelve days, and to the Sunny South (six days) and Kruszakus once sent me an ooth from Poland that took two weeks to arrive and still hatched. Also, members will often compare notes about a vendor and can thus assess his/her likelihood of sending viable ooths.

I think that it is a different matter for professional breeders, who usually know nothing about the customer to whom they are selling their wares. Very few members of this forum, though, are in that category.

I guess that, as always, we make the best deal we can -- I would pay more for a guaranteed ooth than for a non guaranteed one, obviously -- and hope for the best. We would all do well, though, to go back to the feedback entry where we recorded getting an ooth and say whether it hatches or, after a sensible period, it does not.

 
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:rolleyes: that is a good point Phil, most only remark on what the item is when they get it, very few remember to respond that a ooth hatched after a resonable time has passed, including myself! I am making a list so that I keep up with it, after all, most people know how to pack a package and send it, and most will try to give u a good looking ooth.

I have gotten ooths that were dried out and still held onto them, hoping they would hatch, I have also gotten some ooths that were like Dons, only packed in a good box, I did tell the breeder that what he sent me was old ooths and he did refund my money, but he was a reputable breeder who frequents this forum a lot, I doubt very much if another would have.

Also breeders or sellers, whatever u decide to call them, should know a good ooth from a bad, when they decide to purchase from overseas or wherever they get them, they have to know something about the product they are purchasing and have a pretty good idea of weather or not it is viable looking. If they don't know that much about the product, then they should not be purchasing it to begin with and offering it for resale. But after saying all that, there is a lot of good advice here in this topic Peter started, and we would all do well to report on our ooth purchases after the hatching dates have passed!

 

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[SIZE=14pt]+1 Hibiscusmile, true if your shipping Ooths in and you are picking the best then selling the rest so that your not out of money "ie makeing it back by selling the rest" that way your hatch out and who care about the other Ooth "out hands out of mind right" well thats who it make the suckers fill am I right, friends don't need to cheat friends in deals and this plaes is groups of friend hleping friends grow better mantids.[/SIZE]

I would like to thank Pater for this post ;)

 

Peter Clausen

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I've had over a decade of experience killing large numbers of oothecae, accidently. During this time I've determined the following things for myself and I would simply like to share my honest experiences with others, so here goes again:

1. it is unwise for me to sell something I can't always guarantee will even hatch for myself! (are we all being honest about our own hatch records here folks?)

So, I very rarely sell oothecae for this reason.

2. When I do purchase oothecae I occasionally get ones that don't hatch (even from names we all know as the best breeders in the hobby).

So, I rarely buy oothecae for this reason and when I do and they don't end up hatching, I take responsibility for it myself and don't ask for the twenty bucks back. It's not worth accusing the shipper (often a friend and/or forum member) of sending me a bad ootheca and (most importantly>) there is absolutely no proof that they were at fault in any way. When they say "prove it", what could I possibly say? "Well, it didn't hatch" is not proof that it was bad when they shipped it.

Sure it is wonderful when friends can guarantee things for one another or "make it up" in a new (subsequent/later) order. Transactions among friends are not my point for creating this topic. Friends can easily resolve these situations because friendship and respect come first. But when a relationship does not exist and money is exchanged things are much different.

This post is mainly directed to people with little experience buying and keeping oothecae and the misguided notion that buying (and hatching) an ootheca is ever a "guaranteed" or a "viable product". Maybe it never hurts to ask for your money back, but don't be surprised if a seller claims it was good when they shipped it because it probably was. To suggest anything else is potentially insulting to the breeder and you simply can't ever prove it (with one exception = opening the ooth when you receive it and then only if it is dry). That is why I only suggest "buy oothecae at your own risk".

For example, I purchased some B. borealis oothecae on January 5th, 2009. They began hatching on June 1st, 2009. Yet, in March I received a giant Asian ootheca (produced 03-25-09) from a very reputable source and it never hatched (the second time this has happened from this source for this species). There is nobody to blame except myself for buying an ootheca.

You might suspect that I'm not incubating them properly, but most do hatch. I don't claim to have a perfect record. Do you? In the last year I've had successful productions and hatches of orchids, ghosts, and diapaused S. limbata, among others. I've also failed to hatch oothecae of each of those species in the last year. In some cases these two outcomes were produced by the same female mantis and with very similar care of the oothecae. If you can explain this to me to a point where I never fail to hatch one of my own oothecae again, I'm very open to learning!

 
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I agree Peter, if we were all perfect, we would be God! We really have no controll over the ooths, only in that they appeared good and we think they are fertile, the rest is out of our hands. We can give them what we feel is a good enviroment for hatching, but it is whats inside that counts. If they appear old and used then we can pretty well bet they are no good.

Personally whenever I sell an ooth and it does not hatch, I usually resend and also send an extra one of whatever variety I have as an extra, this way something is bound to hatch and the customer and myself feel better about it. They usually will pay for shipping and I always appreaciate that too!

 

penda

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at the end of the day , ootheca are always bought with the risk they wont hatch , i know for sure that viable eggs sometimes do not hatch even if the buyer when gets them does everything right as has the seller before posting , a friend of mine , known by many on here im sure, did an experiment to test this , 5 seperate species all had laid 2 good ooths each that had produced many babies , the 3rd of each he sent away in the post . . . . to himself , yes he posted them to himself , when he recieved them back and incubated only 3 actually hatched out the 5 yet all the fourth ooths from the females hatched , now this in my opinion proves viable eggs are messed up by posting so once again this is the risk u take in buying ooths , hope this makes sense and helps

 
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This is an interesting topic - especially as I've just received my first ooth through the post.

I forget the actual statistics, but someone who has a bad experience when dealing with a business, will tell many more people about it than if they have good experience. So it's very bad business to leave a customer with a bad taste in his mouth. They'll tell all their friends and are less likely to return as a customer in the future.

If I were a seller of ooths, I would build the fact that a percentage shipped out will not hatch into my business model. I would make it clear to my buyers that there is a percentage chance that the ooth will hatch, but that there's a chance that it will not. And as in most businesses, if there was a complaint (which would probably be a rare event if the seller has excellent customer care to start with), just ship out a replacement or give a refund. This would be covered in the business model and my business reputation would actually be enhanced. It would be interesting to get some figures on how many refunds would actually have to be sent out. There's rotten apples in every barrel, but in my own business I don't think I've had one yet. The vast majority of people are honest and won't be looking for two ooths for the price of one.

Back to my own ooth: Personally as a buyer I'm already accepting that things could go wrong due to my inexperience. The ooth that I received was boxed very well and wasn't damaged etc. So I'm happy that the seller tried his best to get it here alive.

A couple of niggles: there wasn't any information forthcoming with the ooth. And an email that I've sent asking when the ooth might hatch hasn't been answered (it's still first thing in the morning here mind).

My feeling is that this seller has only gone part of the way to leave me completely satisfied as a customer. An information/care sheet would have been excellent. An estimated time for hatching would have been good. A prompt reply to my email would have been even better. A note of thanks with contact details would have made good business sense too.

A care sheet would actually be a good indicator to the customer whether or not they themselves have maximised the chances of the ooth hatching.

The other thing to remember is that once the seller has established a good relationship with the customer, then that customer is likely to return to buy other items such as live food etc.

Andrew

 
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Peter Clausen

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This isn't a post on customer service, but on reasonable expectations when buying live oothecae.

 
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