Feeder suggestions for Apartments

Jabba93

Established Member
I'm trying to start a colony of feeder bugs for my veiled chameleon. Here's the issue. My apartment complex is pretty strict about pets to begin with and they are DEFINITELY against bugs. Crickets and roaches are probably a no, so I'll keep getting them from local pet stores. But I might be able to stick a random plant outside our outdoor patio and raise silkworms or hornworms for "gardening" (totally lying, I know, but hey whatever works ;)) How would you keep feeders like hornworms or silkworms alive for extended periods of time?
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'm trying to start a colony of feeder bugs for my veiled chameleon. Here's the issue. My apartment complex is pretty strict about pets to begin with and they are DEFINITELY against bugs. Crickets and roaches are probably a no, so I'll keep getting them from local pet stores. But I might be able to stick a random plant outside our outdoor patio and raise silkworms or hornworms for "gardening" (totally lying, I know, but hey whatever works ;)) How would you keep feeders like hornworms or silkworms alive for extended periods of time?
Don’t put hornworms on tomato plants, it makes them toxic
 

Jabba93

Established Member
:eek: Yes I did know that! Thanks ERKle!(y)

What is a good plant to feed them? I don't know what that paste stuff is that PetSmart feeds them, but I assume it's not ideal.
 

ERKleRose

Chameleon Enthusiast
:eek: Yes I did know that! Thanks ERKle!(y)

What is a good plant to feed them? I don't know what that paste stuff is that PetSmart feeds them, but I assume it's not ideal.
Hornworm food. Repashy, Mulberry Farms, and Educational Science all sell it. It’s a powder you cook into a paste. You could always get silkworm and hornworm eggs and raise them up to feed
 

Decadancin

Moderatoris Americanus
Staff member
I find it difficult to raise insects for just 1 chameleon. I order crickets, or pick some up at the local store, and I have found that getting silk worm eggs is the best way for me to raise the worms. I just make sure to feed them the silkworm chow and keep the container clean. Hornworms are tougher to slow their growth, so you may want to invest in a small wine fridge to keep them in. I also get Black Soldier Fly larvae and wait for them to hatch out. The flies are definitely a good item for your chameleon to hunt. You can also keep most of the larvae in the wine fridge to prevent them from all hatching out at the same time.
 

NickTide

Avid Member
You should move. lol.

Birds will eat anything that isn't well protected. heard several stories of people putting silkies on mulberry trees, even with netting and every one is eaten. You could put some kind of protective box on your porch with a cage of discoids. Its not like they are going to know. If anyone sees them, tell them they are the big cousin of lady bugs.
You could raise stick bugs. Not very productive but I doubt anyone would care if you have them.
 

Carlton

Chameleon Enthusiast
I'm trying to start a colony of feeder bugs for my veiled chameleon. Here's the issue. My apartment complex is pretty strict about pets to begin with and they are DEFINITELY against bugs. Crickets and roaches are probably a no, so I'll keep getting them from local pet stores. But I might be able to stick a random plant outside our outdoor patio and raise silkworms or hornworms for "gardening" (totally lying, I know, but hey whatever works ;)) How would you keep feeders like hornworms or silkworms alive for extended periods of time?

The facts are, chams are insect predators....unless you can buy feeders locally whenever you need them, you'll have to keep colonies or lots of juveniles around. Many species are considered agricultural pests so you will probably not get much acceptance from the property owners unless you design bomb-proof containers to keep them in. Depending on where you live, you could select for feeders that have a poor chance to survive outside the colony to infest the building or become apparent to neighbors. Select a roach species that can't reproduce in cooler temps (like below 80 F), buy juvenile crickets instead of adults (that chirp and might give themselves away), or less mobile species that don't roam far if they do escape (hornworms, superworms, silkworms, waxworms). You won't keep horn, wax, or silkworms alive very long...unless you plan on raising generations from eggs. That's a lot more complicated.
 

JoshD49

Chameleon Enthusiast
Most Dubai roach breeders literally keep their colony in the bottom of a closet. No one will ever know you have a colony unless you tell them. Buy a starter colony from EBay and toss them in a tote, done.

I would say go with Dubia since they do not smell, can't fly, can't climb, and can't infest. They would be easier to hide. The pro Lem is that one Cham will not eat enough to control the population once it gets going. You could always sell off the extra though. Silks, horns and many other feeders take a long time to establish a colony that won't get decimated by feeding.
 

Jabba93

Established Member
Thanks guys! Dubia sound great! Just got to get my wife convinced to KEEP roaches in the house :D. Until then, I can still get crickets from local pet stores. It would be nice to save myself some trips over!
 

NickTide

Avid Member
Thanks guys! Dubia sound great! Just got to get my wife convinced to KEEP roaches in the house :D. Until then, I can still get crickets from local pet stores. It would be nice to save myself some trips over!
Dubias are illegal in Florida. Discoids are legal I think, but I'm guessing you could get into some hefty trouble bringing an invasive species such as dubias into Florida. If you raise bugs on your porch, I would say use a container, in the shade. Im thinking one of those plastic benches that the seat lifts up for storage. Put a 2 liter bottle of water in the container with them. This will help keep it a few degrees cooler during the day and a few degrees warmer during the night. If you're in North Florida, you may need a heat pad in the winter for good production.

As an alternative, black soldier fly larvae (aka BSFL, Calci worms, repti worms, phoenix worms) will keep in a wine fridge for months. Mine have been over 6 months and are still doing well. These can be purchased by the thousand for cheap. I prefer to let mine turn to flies for feeding.

If you had some discoids, a 10 gallon aquarium should be enough (but with a 2 liter of water in it, maybe not) to provide a large chunk of a chams diet. And some BSFL in a wine fridge. this could take care of 80% of their diet. the rest could be made up of bought insects. crickets, super worms, etc.
 
Dubia would work fine for this project. I have never kept discoids but it sounds like they are nearly the same thing. Basically just kept them in a ventilated box with a heat tape set on a rheostat. Kept an temp gun to calibrate the temperature of the heat tape. You could even build some kind of locked wooden cabinet if you think they are going to go poking around in your closets. Buy a couple of roaches locally first and make sure your lizards will eat them. The would give you a base insect to work with then you can guy other insects to add variety. Male crix will chirp so you probably want to limit how many male crix you have at any one time.
 
Top Bottom