Wax worms are the larvae of wax moths and are a staple food for many exotic pets. They look like caterpillars and are whitish. They are mostly nest parasites in the wild, but you can grow them at home if you do not want to spend on pet food each month. They can survive in low temperatures and can survive a long time without eating.
They are a good source of protein and calcium for your pets. With the right set up and care, you can raise a healthy colony of wax worms of your own. Here is how.
Things You Will Need
- To grow a colony of wax worms, you will need a glass jar. Wood or a tight-fitting plastic container will also do. You can keep around 50 to 70 worms in a jar.
- Then, you will need wheat germ or uncooked oatmeal in a bowl. It will be the bedding on which they will crawl as well as feed off. You can use wax paper as well.
- You will need some honey to replicate the beehives of the wild.
- You will need some glycerin as well. It will keep the bedding warm and damp with minimal maintenance and will enable the worms to multiply.
- You will need a heating lamp to provide warmth, with the ideal temperature being 80 degrees to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Setting it Up
- Mix honey and some glycerin with the oatmeal or wheat germ till it forms a damp and crumbly paste, somewhat sticky. Lay it out in the bottom of the jar.
- Let the mixture dry. Place a sheet of wax paper with the wax side on the mix.
- Once it has dried and hardened, break it up into small pieces and again lay it out at the bottom of the jar. There should be about 2 inches of bedding.
- Release the wax worms on this bedding. The healthy worms will have a whitish, creamy color.
- Cover with a mesh cloth for ventilation.
Raising and Caring for the Worms.
- The temperature should be around 80 degrees to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is lower where you stay, you can use a heat lamp.
- Make sure the jar is not in too much light. Use a paper bag to cover the pot.
- The worms will soon cover themselves in the cocoon, and after two to four weeks, you will see the moths hatch.
- In due time, the moths will lay their eggs on the bedding. This time, there will be hundreds of eggs. The moths will die after a week or so.
- After this, the eggs will start to hatch, and it could take about a month.
- Once the eggs hatch, this time there will be plenty of them. They will grow into plump worms, feeding on the wheat bedding.
- You can start feeding them to your pet once they are plump enough. It should take around eight weeks.
- Make sure you separate some to start the next cycle.
This way, you can start a colony of wax worms of your own. It is easy and inexpensive, and you will have an endless source of nutritious food for your exotic pet.