Sitting Pretty as bug firm grows

Simon Pretty with a Peacock Mantis, at Bugs, Sticks and Mantids.com. (Victoria Rd West, Cleveleys).
Simon Pretty with a Peacock Mantis, at Bugs, Sticks and Mantids.com. (Victoria Rd West, Cleveleys).
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IT is a bug’s life for Cleveleys businessman Simon Pretty.

The insect enthusiast has seen his home start-up expand to new premises off Victoria Road West, and he now exports his mini-beasts all over the world.

His firm, Sticks, Bugs and Mantids, opened in its new location on Daisybank late last year.

Simon said: “Business has been really good.

“I’m shipping worldwide – especially to Canada, America, Japan and Europe, and I’m getting inquiries from all over the place.”

“I’m sending a lot of eggs to America. Some things, though, I can’t export because of the various export laws and live creatures.

“We’re a lot, lot busier now than ever before. We are the only shop in the UK that sells just invertebrates.”

The business also generates income from the sale of foods – both live and frozen – mainly crickets.

The UK is still a strong market for the firm – and the peacock preying mantis pictured with Simon is one of his best-selling pets at the moment.

He said: “They sell really well at the moment. People in Blackpool are going absolutely crazy for them.

“There’s no particular age for people wanting them – I’ve got eight year olds and retired pensioners alike asking for them.

“They are a nice pet to keep – and cheap.

“For stick insects, you can just pick up privet brambles and eucalyptus for them from green spaces so their food is free.

“They are a nice pet to keep for all ages really – they don’t take much looking after.

And other invertebrates on offer include scorpions, hermit crabs, pillbugs, snails, millipedes and centipedes, leaf insects, and the impressive-sounding armoured ground cricket.

The business – started in Simon’s parents’ shed – also sells equipment such as heating, lighting, food, housing and nutritional supplements for a variety of insects and reptiles.

Simon added: “It has all been going really well.