i have been breeding hornworms very successfully and while it is worth it, it is still expensive to feed them. have never bred crickets but i have some superworms going right now and some dubia roaches.
Breeding crickets is sooo worth it in my opinion. Cuts down the cost of crickets, obviously, but you also you know where they're coming from and what they've eaten. Never bred hornworms, but I've been trying to breed silkworms, since I have a mulberry tree in my yard. If or when I'm successful, it will be so worth it.
I've never been fond of using crickets as feeders. They are loud, smell bad, and tend to escape if they don't murder each other... They are much easier to feed to the cham though. Either way, starting your own feeder colony can be very rewarding and fun.
I started a dubia colony with 40 bugs and now have 500 after only a few months (despite removing the adult males for population control after a month or so haha!). They don't smell, they are quiet, and don't need much space. Bowl feeding these to my cham is great bonding time for us
I have tried several different feeders, so after my experiences, my answer is:
No, it is not worth it if you only have one chameleon UNLESS you are breeding insects you cannot buy commercially.
I am now only breeding snails and isopods. I have tried my hand at breeding dubia (just gave away my colony), crickets, and silkworms. I spent way more time and money trying to breed/raise these bugs than just buying them.
For only one chameleon, it doesn't make financial sense for me. If I had several chameleons, that's where there would start to be a payback.
I agree with Lathis. I've been researching this a lot and being the business minded fellow that I am and after crunching the numbers for dealing with incubating of certain feeder eggs and dividing them up into separate compartments, electricity to keep them heated adequately, cleaning, and gut loading it is much cheaper to just buy them in bulk online from reputable sources and feed them off that way.
For what it's worth I've noticed that most the "senior" members on the forum hold this same opinion... Although I would be interested in attempting a Dubia colony if my next panther will tolerate them.
When considering a breeding operation or use for several other animals it is a different story.
You were asking about mealworms in another thread.
Those and soldier fly larvae are both worth it financially and time wise. Neither require expensive heating or setup or significant time.
If you are allergic to roaches, then those are out, but if you weren't, lobster roaches are worth it also- they also do not require heat. And for feeding a single lizard would not require a lot of expense of fancy housing. They are unfortunately not so desirable to keep in one's house- they are great climbers and because they do well without extra heat, although they do not infest they can kind of loiter around for months when some get loose.
I breed lobsters, dubia, hissers, green banana roaches, and a giant hybrid species of roach, mealworms and superworms and in the summers I have a soldier fly ranch. Also house crickets and our local big black field crickets. Crickets are a lot of bother compared to everything else.
I have had several issues breeding feeders. I am allergic to crickets and it is really annoying that here in Canada roaches are illegal. Crickets smell awful, make a lot of noise and dont live very long. They also have a talent for escaping and its really annoying. Breeding crickets is pretty easy however I tend to lose most of them after they are pinhead size. I have 3 chameleons, 3 leopard geckos and a beardie so buying feeders is pretty expensive. I had a mealworm colony that I thought was dead and forgot about for a few months in a closet and ended up having like 300 of them when I found it. Mealworms and superworms are easy to breed and keep alive. Long story short, I gave up on breeding crickets and buy them online instead.