Wax worms have high calcium and protein contents, making them a good treat supplement to the diet of your pet reptiles and birds; they are also a popular fishing bait. Whatever your use for wax worms, you may want to raise your own to cut down on costs and trips to the pet or bait store. A wax worm farm is easy to create, and these worms reproduce readily to provide you with a constant supply.
Stock the worm farm initially with about 20 wax worms purchased from a pet store or bait shop.
Choose a container; this can be as simple as a tall glass jar or a small plastic aquarium with a tight-fitting screen lid.
Make a culture medium to act as food and bedding for your wax worm farm. To make the bedding, crush six shredded wheat cereal biscuits into a bowl. Warm some honey until it runs easily and add it to the crushed shredded wheat a little at a time until the mixture is a moist, crumbly consistency.
Add 2 to 3 inches of culture medium to the container.
Tear away one side of a piece of corrugated cardboard so that the middle, wavy surface is exposed, then cut the cardboard into four or five thin sections and set them upright against the inside walls of the container.
Add the wax worms to the container; be careful to separate the worms from the sawdust or wood chips in the store container, and do not transfer the wood bedding into the worm farm.
Secure the lid on the container. If breeding worms in a jar, either punch holes in the jar's lid or use a rubber band to hold a section of pantyhose or mesh over the jar's mouth. If using an aquarium, make sure the cover is tight-fitting.
Set the jar in a tray of water an inch deep to prevent any worms that escape from getting loose in your home.
Place your wax worm farm in a warm, dark place and add culture medium periodically as needed. The wax worms will pupate, transform into moths, breed, lay eggs and die in two to three weeks.
Remove the moths when all of them are dead; do not try to remove them before they have all died, or the remaining moths may escape into your home.
Harvest the wax worms when they reach the desired size, usually about eight weeks after you first set up your worm farm.
Spread the bedding and worms on a flat surface with walls, such as a plastic bin. The worms are fast-moving, and the walls will help keep them from escaping as you harvest.
Place 10 to 12 worms in each small container with some wood shavings or sawdust and store them in the refrigerator for up to three to four months.
Clean the worm farm and mix new culture medium once you have harvested all of your worms.
Use 20 of the harvested worms to place back into the wax worm farm and start the process over.
Do not allow your wax worms or moths to escape into your house; they reproduce rapidly, and you may find your home filled with them if you have escapees.
Tips and warnings
- Do not allow your wax worms or moths to escape into your house; they reproduce rapidly, and you may find your home filled with them if you have escapees.