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KylieT 03-04-2012 02:43 PM

Breeding waxworms?
Just wanted to know if anyone had any tips on breeding waxworms that they'd like to share? I got a little cup with about 50 from a local pet store and Geordi likes them and I want to see if he likes the moths as well and all. Any input at all would be awesome.

xanthoman 03-04-2012 06:30 PM

waxworms, dont get me started
i"ve raised wax worms before, back in my early cham, pre-research days, and almost killed my animals with them on more than one occassion, until i learned what the problem was.
the problem is, of all the commonly referred to and available feeders, metabollically speaking, waxworms are the worst.
heres some waxworm info i was going to use in another post but never got around to posting.
here; (note the feeding recommendations)

there lots of nutritional postings but most are just posting the commonly accepted values,
heres an actual lab analysis of wax worms.

Wax Worms
Moisture, % 61.73
Fat, % 22.19
Protein, % 15.50
Fiber, % 7.69
Ash 1.02
Ca, ppm 283
P, ppm 2161
CA/P ratio % 0.131

lets crunch some #s
according to the #s above (P2161,ppm/Ca,283ppm) yields an astronomically out of balance Ca:P ratio of 1:7.63 thats over 1500% percent of the target ratio of Ca:P 2:1 (which most feeders dont meet anyway) even still thats over 650% higher than crickets
(based on Ca:P 1:1.7). thats not even counting over 21% fat, thats about 24% higher than superworms. waxworms are almost 1/4 fat overall, that combined with their hugely disproportionate Ca:P ratio, imo makes them unacceptable to use as a frequent feeder or even more than one at an offering, regardless of digestibility. imo, the maximum acceptable rate of feeding waxworms would be about 1 every 3 or 4 weeks. (lol, that would make a 32 count about a 2 year supply, which of course is absurd because you could never keep a culture in its larval stage for that long). /////

so my advice would be not only, to not breed waxworms, but also to not feed the waxworms you have. if you insist on learning the hard way, ajcann has a great vid on how to raise wax worms on youtube (link to follow if vid is still available/edit; have decided not to post how to raise waxworm video link) it should be noted that ajcann is not a cham person ( i think he is mostly a phelsuma and frog person).

if you still insist on breeding wax worms, just take a couple of cups of wheatabix (you can also use special k, wheaties etc but they dont work as good) add honey till its thick and gooey, then add glycerin till it loosens up a little, this will stop the honey from drying out, otherwise, the whole thing just turns into a rock hard ball.

all that being said , i just want to be clear that i am against feeding waxworms in any qty. at any interval. imo, every single one fed is setting the stage for catastrophic metabolic imbalance. hopefully you havent fed too many, i would strongly recommend against feeding any more. the less healthy a cham is, or the more metabolically sensitive a cham is (i dont know what kind of cham you have but i definitely dont recommend waxworms for xanths), or the less experienced the keeper is, the more important this issue becomes. remember, just because you feed an unhealthy feeder does not mean your animal is going to show any immediate health issues, so the "ive been feeding them and he still looks fine" response doesnt wash.

imo, always good to investigate the properties of any feeder before adding them to the menu. sandrachameleons nutritional blog is probably one of the best places to do that.
my advice is to throw them away, whatever price you paid for them wont be worth the metabollic price your cham pays for consuming them, imo, throwing them away would be money well spent. jmo

sandrachameleon 03-04-2012 09:05 PM


Originally Posted by KylieT (Post 732251)
Just wanted to know if anyone had any tips on breeding waxworms that they'd like to share? I got a little cup with about 50 from a local pet store and Geordi likes them and I want to see if he likes the moths as well and all. Any input at all would be awesome.

Waxworms are a poor feeder choice, unless you're just using them for occassional variety (worms and moths both). I liken them to offering your children a bag of candy.

a list of feeders you might instead like to try (many of which are easier to breed and much healthier than waxworms):

KylieT 03-04-2012 11:39 PM

I should have specified, I am not going to use them as a consistent feeder only as a treat and I thought that if I bred the ones I have that I could save a little money. (and as an aside it can be really hard with it being cold in the winter to have access to different feeders all year round and I am considering doing some other worms.) I would only feed as an occasional treat and I thought that since they had a lot of calcium they would be good to throw in as a treat. Also, I have a friend that had a toad that loves to eat moths (loves to eat anything but especially moths) so my plan would be to use the caterpillars for Geordi's treats and then when the moths are all done with breeding and laying eggs, give them to my friend. and to get experience to do breed other bugs. :)

Xanthoman: Thank you for all of the information, and I am really taking it to heart. I don't want to do anything that would be bad for Geordi. I was just excited that the petstore had ANYTHING that wasn't a meal worm or a cricket. I read into them a little and they advertised that they were high in calcium but didn't say anything about the phosphorus. And I've only fed like 2. I'm going to let these go into moths and then find something else that is better for him. Is there a little caterpillar-y kind of wormy that would be better for Geordi that would be easy to sustain and all that? These are the reasons that I love this forum, I can get good experienced info straight from the source. Thank you guys so much.

sandrachameleon 03-05-2012 12:19 AM

waxworms are not high in calcium. Maybe you were thinking of solder fly maggots (aka pheonix worms) ?
Other things you might try breeding are superworms, silkworms, dubia, indian walking sticks, terrestrial isopods... If you look at the last link I provided, you find a list of feeders including info about each one, including some breeding info

xanthoman 03-05-2012 12:56 PM

waxworms, no matter how you slice the #s, still not good.
like sandra says, you may have been thinking of bsfl they are a similar larval feeder but have a much more favorable Ca:P ratio.
like Sandra says waxworms have very low calcium in relation to their phosphorus. in over simplified terms, ideally you would want 2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus (Ca:P=2:1). a lot of stuff affects the #s, but roughly speaking, the best possible scenario for cricks is Ca:P=1:2, depending on how you crunch the #s, that roughly 400% or 4x the desired amount of phosphorus in relation to calcium. roughly speaking, waxworms have a Ca:P ratio of approx 1:8, thats over 15x too much phosphorus. an excessive build up of phosphorus that could interfere with the pth (ParaThyroidHormone) and set the stage for some form of mbd.
crickets are bad enough, but sort of necessary. waxworms arent necessary at all and are 4x worse than cricks and 15x worse than the desired target ratio of Ca:P=2:1
actually there is a way to encourage the discharge of excess phosphorus, but thats a different post altogether (actually, already been posted many x, just like this this waxworm thread). and it still doesnt justify feeding waxworms. plus thats just the phosphorus issue, waxworms are excessively high in fat, more fat than protein, also not good.
another thing to consider, waxworms are highly addictive, and its not uncommon for chams to refuse all other forms of healthier food, they have been known to go on a pretty severe hunger strikes in their holdout for waxworms,
every one you feed is pushing your chameleon toward a metabolic imbalance that will probably be hard to reverse and quite possibly fatal. the part that makes this especially risky for novice keepers (and even riskier for the chams) is that you wont likely know its happening until its too late and your cham is on the floor of the cage or suddenly has mbd, and by then it could easily be too late to reverse. imo, its not an uncommon scenario. jmo

and before you ask, no, for a # of reasons, you cant just simply drench them in calcium to make up for it. jmo

xanthoman 03-05-2012 01:48 PM

whats for dinner?
imo, the only practical scenario, is to base everything as a compliment to a dubia colony, dubia are the most fool proof to raise, imo, no point in raising cricks since they are readily available and not as good of feeder.
even still its important to keep in mind that no one feeder, should make up more than 40% of your diet. that means that the other 60% of the diet needs to have variety.
mealworms are easy to raise but not that good of feeder, but also encourage grain mites. superworms are a little better feeder, but also a little harder to raise than mealworms. blue bottle flies are fairly easy to raise but are also cheap and readily available.
to me, it makes little sense to raise something thats cheap and readily available. you can always buy or at least order cricks, mealworms, superworms, bottle flies etc but dubia arent as commonly available, plus imo they are they only commonly available feeder that is acceptable for 40% of the total diet. jmo you could raise bsfl during the summer mths and they could be self harvesting. imo, probably the only other feeder suitable for use as a 40% feeder. but you can always order a 32 count of bsfl, but you may have a hard time getting dubia in that qty. my advice, start a dubia colony and just buy small qtys of other feeders and rotate them.
if you take dubia off the menu, then what are you going to base your staple on?

KylieT 03-05-2012 07:24 PM

I've completely axed the waxworms idea and have the means to breed crickets. I got them today but many of them aren't mature I only have like 2 or 3 that are. so it's going to be awhile before I have any. I'm also looking into getting some silkworms if the weather stays pleasurable enough to do so or I will wait until it is. I do have a question about crickets though everyone has vids on how to do it but I haven't found any good info on when I should be separating males and females, or when they should have laid by or even when I should be expecting babies. should I separate my males and females until they are ready to reproduce? or should I just let all of the adults be and do a what happens happens deal?

Myself and my landlord would flip a **** if we were anywhere near roaches. The roaches idea is a truly off limits subject in terms of rental agreement.

sandrachameleon 03-06-2012 12:53 AM


Originally Posted by KylieT (Post 733458)
or should I just let all of the adults be and do a what happens happens deal?

yup, I have the adult crickets cohabitate.
but breeding crickets is a stinky noisy affair. Roaches are far less trouble, far less smelly, much quieter...

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