Hornworm/Silkworm pods? More food confusion, Yikes!


I bookmarked several reptile food suppliers and I am embarassed to admit I didn't read carefully beforehand. :eek: I just assumed I would select size/quantity of crickets, hormworms, silks, etc. but now that I'm about to do so I find myself very confused.

Silks and Horns - I've visited three websites and it appears I can order live worms but then they all mention pods and cups and eggs and other supplies for each. Do the live worms come in these or do I grow them? None of the sites say how long they take to hatch. (That I could find.)

Silks - One website sells 'zebra' as the only option. Another has no option. Does it matter?

Phoenix worms - One vendor might sub reptiworms unless I say no. What are reptiworms? I've never heard of them.

:eek: I should have read more closely.


New Member
Repti-worms are Phoenix worms :) and for the hornworms they will usually come in a pod with food. They grow very fast though which is a problem if you have a tiny little cham.


Avid Member
Unfortunately that is incorrect Kyle. Repti-worms are NOT Phoenix Worms, they are the same species, but Phoenix Worms, in the opinion of many feeder experts, mine included, are a much better quality brand of Black Soldier Fly Larvae than Repti-Worms or Calci-Worms, both of which I have first hand knowledge of handling and selling. The Phoenix Worms brand lasts the longest with the proper care. Don't let a retailer short you by supplying you with a lesser quality BSFL brand.

Silkworms are Silkworms. Retailers, SPF included, sell them strain-specific more for those buyers who actually look for specific strain. Some say the Zebra strain is actually hardier than the Regular strain, but nutritionally they are the same, and honestly I've only noticed a small difference in durability, if any.

"Pods" are self contained environments for your caterpillars, usually only used with caterpillars actually. They are comprised of a 24oz or 32oz cup with black netting stapled in a U shape to the bottom of the cup. Then the Pod is poured with freshly made chow, either Mulberry (for Silkworms, or vendors looking to save a buck on cheaper food for Hornworms, which I highly recommend against) or Hornworm Chow (higher quality wheat germ based vitamin enriched mix that is specifically formulated for the Manduca (hornworm) species), and allowed to cool before the caterpillars are placed inside.

Typically pods that we carry at SPF are stocked from the retailer, where they make them in a clean and nearly if not completely sterile environment versus in my dirty kitchen with dirty utensils as some can do when cutting costs and corners, and are refrigerated at 50-55 degrees before being shipped out to you. This means that our Silkworm Pods, which are originally stocked with 50+ Smalls, can slim down to 35+ Mediums or 25+ Large, and I imagine other retailers are the same way. Hornworm Pods are normally sold in 25ct Small Pods (1" worms approx) or 15ct Medium Pods (1-2.5" worms approx) and don't need to be hatched.

If you are new to either silkworms or hornworms, stay away from eggs until you've at least handled the live worm, as you should understand the habits of the live caterpillar before embarking upon a hatching adventure in order to save money, which can be easy with the correct knowledge and attention to detail.

If you ever need any help at all with selecting feeders that will truly improve the health of your cham, even if you don't buy from us, you are more than welcome to get in touch with me through the website :)

Happy Herping!



New Member
*Sorry! Hijacking this thread! :eek: *

This is very useful information, Dave! Thanks for posting! I was just browsing some vendor websites to see what I can get for my veiled cham. He loves crickets and wax worms, but I know I need to add some variety to his diet. I am a bit confused on quantity though. He's a juvenile, about 8 inches long. He has a very hearty appetite but I don't know how many hornworms I should order, and of what size. Hmm...

p.s. I just learned the true name of "ball bugs" - isopods. wow
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