Wax worms are tiny little creatures but come with great value to the ecosystem.
The growing interest in the breeding of wax worms has led to its commercialization in recent years. That’s why you’re here, right?
You can always make a run to the nearest pet store and buy them for a hefty price tag.
Or, you can be smart and take time going through this article so that you can get started with breeding wax worms by yourself.
You’re here because you want to breed wax worms, so let’s get straight into it!
Why To Breed Wax Worms?
If you are a reptile owner or a fisherman, you will benefit a lot from having your own wax worm farm.
They are rich in nutrients like calcium, fat, and protein that are necessary for your pet reptiles, and make excellent fish bait.
Wax worms also play a vital role in controlling pollution.
Recent studies found them devouring plastic bags leading to its biodegradation that could miraculously solve this global problem.
How To Breed Wax Worms?
1. Setting Up The Wax Worm Farm
- Start by gathering the materials required to build a wax worm farm. It does not cost much and you can get them quite easily.
- You will need an airtight container made up of hard plastic, metal, or glass. Do not use wood or cardboard because wax worms will eat them up.
- A 5-gallon tank is good enough to hold around 50 of those little critters.
- For bedding, you will need wheat germ, barn, or uncooked oatmeal.
- Add honey and mix them well in a large bowl until you get a thick, soft, and crumbly paste.
- You can add glycerin to turn the mixture dark to make the worms feel at home.
- Let the mixture dry out in a well-ventilated environment.
- Once the bedding is hard enough, break it down into clumps and fill the container to at least 1-inch from its base to provide warmth, comfort, and food for the worms.
- Leave some crumpled wax paper or egg cartons on the bedding for the worms to spin cocoons on.
2. Adding The Wax Worms
The farm is set up. Now we are ready to add worms and put them to work.
- Always go for the healthy ones that look bright and creamy. The dead ones are dark and discolored should be kept away from the farm.
- Use a net, cheesecloth, or mesh to cover the top of the container that allows optimum air exchange.
- Fix it with a rubber band or glue so that it won’t come off.
- Finally, cover the container with its lid with holes for ventilation.
3. Raising The Worms
You can raise the wax worms with minimal care and maintenance of the farm.
They need a dark and well-ventilated environment so that the moisture doesn’t condense on the walls.
The ideal temperature for breeding the wax worms is between 82 to 90 ºF. The moths can’t survive in higher temperature.
Not all wax worms will survive. Some will inevitably die. Take a minute to offer your condolences.
Then take out dark, unhealthy and dead larvae from the container to avoid the spread of disease in the colony.
Wait patiently as the larvae grow bigger and pupate themselves by spinning into the coccons.
Larvae are very voracious, therefore make sure that they have enough bedding to feed on.
The pupation stage usually starts when they are six to seven weeks old. They will stay in their cocoon for two to four weeks before hatching out as wax moths.
4. Breeding The Wax Worms
Remember the crumpled wax paper we threw inside the container?
That’s where the larvae spins themselves up with cocoons.
Once the cocoons are fully developed, shift them to a new container with similar bedding for hatching and breeding.
The time for hatching will vary from 10 days to a month depending on the species.
Fold a few wax papers and leave them in the breeding container where the adult moths will mate and lay their eggs.
Sad, but true, they will die a week after laying eggs.
Now your job is to wait for the eggs to hatch.
The newly hatched larvae are so hungry that they will devour almost anything they find.
It’s your responsibility to feed them continuously so that they are always happy and healthy.
Make sure that the container is properly sealed so that the wax worms will not escape.
By the eighth week, you will have the container full of fat and juicy wax worms that your pet reptiles will love.
Needless to say, it is also a perfect bait for fishing.
About Wax Worms
Wax worms are to-be wax moths, but still at the larvae stage of their life cycle.
They come from the family Pyralidae, and like silkworms, they also produce silk.
There are two species of wax worms, viz.
Achroia grisella and Galleria mellonella, that are bred commercially. You can identify these medium-white caterpillar larvae with their tiny dark heads and black-tipped feet.
The unique thing about wax worms is that they live as nest parasites in beehives where the adult wax moths lay eggs.
The worms need a consistent temperature of 86 °F at all times to grow and survive which is found at beehives.
They do not attack the bees but consume the wax found in the honeycomb, hence the name.
Wax worms are more than just larvae.
They are a versatile creature with diverse range of applications from feeding your pet gecko to controlling the pollution.
By raising your own wax worms, you can break free from the ritual of spending time and money on buying them every week.
Starting a wax worm farm is very easy and cost effective at the same time.
A little bit of imagination combined with patience goes a long way.
If you have got the basics right as explained in this article, there is nothing that can go wrong with this DIY project.
Just remember to keep the worms happy. They will do the rest of the job themselves.
What could be simpler than that?