feeder-insect-care

What Do Waxworms Eat?

November 16, 2020

what do waxworms eat - photo of pest waxworms in a beehive

What do waxworms eat? Like many feeder insects, their wild diet is surprisingly different from what they eat in captivity. Whether you’re just curious about Galleria mellonella’s wild diet, or looking for tips on caring for your feeders, keep reading.

What Do Waxworms Eat in the Wild?

As their name implies, waxworms eat beeswax, as well as honey. The moths lay their eggs in beehives, and when the larvae hatch, they utilize the wax and honey around them as a food source. They are particularly dependent on the protein present in used brood comb or brood cell cleanings in order to grow properly.

Adult waxworms (wax moths) don’t eat or drink. They live off the fat they stored as larvae long enough to breed and lay their eggs (about a week), then die.

What Do Waxworms Eat When Raised as Feeders?

Captive-bred waxworms are generally raised on a mixture of cereal grain, honey, and sometimes glycerin. Additional vitamins may be added to this mix to enhance the worms’ nutritional value.

How to Feed Your Waxworms

Generally speaking, you don’t need to feed your waxworms. Waxworms can go a long time without eating, especially if they’re kept at a cool temperature. This is why they’re typically shipped in sawdust. Keep them cool (around 60°F) to maintain them in a dormant state, and they will remain alive for your reptile to enjoy for up to two months.

If you want to raise your waxworms into moths for feeding to a reptile that enjoys flying insects (ex: chameleons), you will need a nutritious way to prepare them for the moth stage. 

Waxworm Food Recipe:

  • Oat, wheat, and/or barley baby cereal
  • Honey
  • Liquid glycerin
  • Calcium powder
  • Multivitamin powder

Start with the desired quantity of baby cereal. Add enough honey to make the mixture moist and crumbly, plus a little bit of glycerin to help the waxworm chow hold moisture better. At this point the mixture should hold its shape when formed into a ball, but it shouldn’t be too wet. Mix in a small amount of calcium and vitamin powder in equal quantities. When in doubt, keep in mind that less is better than more when it comes to supplements.

Do Waxworms Need Water?

No. Waxworms typically get all the water they need from honey. Adding a small amount of liquid glycerin to their food helps keep it from drying out too fast.

 

Looking to buy waxworms as a treat for your pet reptile, amphibian, or arachnid? Buy here!


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