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Wax Worms- good feeder insects ?
#1
Has anyone ever ordered wax worms from reptilefood.com for their frogs ? I have heard that dart frogs will eat them but was wondering if they may already be too big from this particular source.

Thanks.

Mike
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#2
I tried wax worms but they were too large. You would have to culture your own and feed them when they are very small. I also heard they should be fed sparingly because they are very fatty.
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#3
Ok, yea I had heard they could be hard on younger frogs with digesting it. Does anyone culture wax worms and use them for their frogs?

Mike
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#4
Mike,
what you want to look for are the lesser waxworms. These don't get too big for the darts. Actually if you get a culture going you can pick through it and come up with a variety of sizes, we can feed anything from imitators to terribilis, usually out of one culture.
I think ED's Flymeat sells them. Be careful not to make a staple diet out of them, as they are very fattening for the frogs.

Cindy Dicken
Vivarium Concepts
www.vivariumconcepts.com
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#5
Thanks Cindy,

I did see the lesser wax worm on Ed's site. I guess it would just be more of a snack. I have been feeding fruit flys and tried some pinhead crickets for my subadult blue sips. One of them ate them and the other didnt. I dont have a steady supply of fruit flys in any of the Syracuse area pet shops so trying to plan ahead.

Thanks again,

Mike
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#6
Mike,
why don't you try culturing your own fruit flys?
It's not hard. Set up one or two cultures a week and you will have a never ending supply.
Cindy
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#7
Cindy,

I do culture my own fruit flys but was looking for another source of food. I dont know how well fruit flys will ship during the winter up here in case I ran out for some reason. I do get crickets in the winter and they seem to do fine.

Thanks

Mike
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#8
Mike,
during the winter,
we ship our fruit flys in insulated boxes, with heat paks if necessary. Knock on wood, we've never had a problem, but we don't like to ship if the temp is below 35. on the receiving end.
So it can be done.
Cindy
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#9
Ok Cindy,

Well sometimes we can go several weeks to a month without getting over 35 so that is part of my concern. It seems unlikely that I would not be able to find some flys in the winter but would hate to risk it.

Mike
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#10
Mike,
for around $20 we could go overnight USPS.

Cindy
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#11
I culture wax worms and it isn't that hard at all. Actually it is less work than the fruit flies but it is harder getting them out. You do have to dig around a little to get them but you can get different sizes from the same culture. The frogs love them but like what was said earlier be careful because they are high in fat.

Nate
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#12
i've seen these wax worms mentioned before, and also heard they are easier than ff's before. i'm wondering what it takes to culture them? anyone willing to give a brief overview?
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#13
Here is what I use for Wax Worm media:

16oz Gerber baby food
16oz Quaker oats
32oz honey
40z glycerin

I mix the dry ingredients together and then do the same with the honey and glycerin.

Once it is made I add adult lesser moths and some wax paper folder like an accordion.

I mainly feed them to my phyllobates like bicolors and vittatus but I have taken freshly hatched out larvae and fed them to my imitators and castaneoticus.

Oh, I use 32oz deli cups and quart sized Mason jars for the containers.If they are deli cups I cut small holes in the top for ventilation and with the Mason jars I just use the ring and use a sheer type material I found at Walmart.
Hope this helps,
Mark W.
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#14
thanks so much mark. what do people usually use glycerin for...i guess i'm really asking where to look to buy some?
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#15
I'm really not sure why to tell the truth.I bought mine from a pharmacy.
Mark
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#16
Glycerin helps to prevent the mix from clumping. Vegetable glycerin is available at most health food stores, it is used to make soap among other things.

Cindy Dicken
Vivarium Concepts
www.vivariumconcepts.com
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#17
Wax worms are a little fatty & I believe them to be fairly hard to digest due to their tough skin. If youre culturing these yourself they are fairly easy to gut load though, try adding lots of beeswax or even royal jelly to the culture, this is high in Essential Fatty Acids & Vitimam D & A in good ratios for darts. The plus being that they will actually eat this if added to the culture medium, most mediums use honey are the main food source with the rest added as filler & to give the worms something to nest in.

Out of interest do you guys in the states have access to indian mealmoths? these are very easy to culture (& faster too), are potentially easier to digest & can be gut loaded with a much wider range of foodstuffs. Im not an expert but I would say that the actual moths could also be eaten by quite a wide range of darts as well - with only the smallest thumbnails as the exceptions

Ben
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#18
Phil, the wax worms that have recently appeared on the market are the greater wax worms (Galleria mellonella) . I've never cultured these, but it appears their culturing is similar to the lesser wax worms. I would be interested to see what the timeline for harvesting an appropriate size to feed to most tinc size dart frogs is, since the greater waxworms get considerably larger.

Ben, India meal moths (Plodia interpunctella) , can quickly become a pantry pest , and are not desirable to have in the home.

The lesser wax worms ( Achroia grisella) are the wax worms that would be ideal to culture.

Unfortunately wax worms decimate bee colonies, and with the decline in bee populations there is a major focus to eradicate any pests that pose a threat to bee colonies.
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#19
Hi Cindy,
Very good points raised here, I think it also worth adding that wax moths can also be a pest, when I first started breeding these a few years ago I used sections of old t-shirts in place of a fine metal gauze for ventilation. Within a few generations it was clear that the moths could eat their way through this with no trouble. I now use a metal gauze with a piece of nylon tights over the top (the nylon prevents just hatched waxworms from escaping).

I too am very sensitive to the bee situation at the moment so my advice would be not to keep either species of wax moth if you cannot make sure that your culture container is escape proof.

Completely understand your comments about indian meal moths, the same rules apply, be careful & take extra precautions to ensure that there are no escapees - I've not had any accidents yet.

BTW culturing instructions for greater & lesser wax moths is identical, the life cycle is slightly shorter (by about 1 - 2 weeks) for the lessers. If you want to harvest greater waxworms at a size suitable for a mid sized darts I would estimate that you begin to harvest 3 1/2 - 4 weeks after the adult moths die(if culture is kept at a constant 27 c), the larvae will be about 2 - 4 mm in length at this stage. I would harvest the lessers at 2 - 3 weeks or so.

I keep all of these species for the moths as my geckos love them so dont usually pay too much attention to the larval stage. I can easily perform some tests to give you a clear idea of exactly when to harvest for the best size if needed?

Ben
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#20
Ben,
thanks for clarifying the culturing on the greater wax worms. It's good to know they culture the same as the lesser and that there would be a small window of opportunity to harvest some that would be the appropriate size to feed to tincs (and possibly smaller frogs).
Yes, forgot to mention about the wire screen mesh, that is a must as they will chew through anything else!
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