Hi I was tossing around the idea of getting a small leopard colony going. I’ve kept and bred them in the past. My question is I was wondering if anyone has kept them on a all meal worm diet. I hate crickets and use to hate having them around lol. I have heard about breeders that do but never met anyone that did.
Dubia roaches are one of the best staple diets. I kept my first gecko on a mealworm diet for about 8 months before I realised that it wasn’t a very healthy staple diet because of the chitin (exoskeleton) whereas the dubias are soft-bodied and are a very healthy staple. I’m not sure what the harmful side-effects of a mealworm only diet would be but it wouldn’t be a very good idea. Dubias are very easy to take care of as long as they have food like a small piece of apple or carrot and they can’t climb nor will they cause an infestation if they get loose.
I feed my Leo dubias among other roaches. She likes red runners, lobster roaches, small orange heads, headlights, and even very young hissing roaches.LOL, I got carried away with the roach colonies.
How long does it take to get a Dubai colony going? I seen these before didn’t realize leopard geckos could eat them. They always look huge lol. But then again I don’t like bugs much.
The feces from the roaches cause allergies and allergies from them also cause allergies to seafood. It’s usually a good idea to keep the roaches in a separate room if possible and wear protective gear(mask, goggles, etc.) when going in there to clean to postpone the allergies, the more often you’re exposed to it the worse the allergies get. If you still want to create a colony then it takes about 7-8 weeks for it to be self sufficient but depending how many geckos you have it might take more or less than that. The adults can get pretty big and aren’t able to be fed to smaller reptiles like leopard geckos, which is why you feed the nymphs.
I was farming meal worms for awhile but I switched to dubia. I still buy meal worms in a few hundred but my dubia colony feeds what I do have. I prefer the upkeep of the dubia compared to meal worms. I know a lot of people breed and feed only meal worms. I like variety always regardless of what I’m feeding. They take 30 day gestation then you pull the nymph so the mothers can get back to business. Then they need to grow,. You’ll be feeding mediums and small larges to the adults. (They will get bigger than you can feed to them. ** Good reason to get a pacman frog) The nymphs will be small to start and take a few weeks to grow. It has taken me a little over 4 months to get a good established cycle setup. But I already had them in various stages when I started.
I feel like @mblaney should be able to tell you how bad a diet of only mealworms is.
I recently wrote up my (admittedly a bit rudimentary) tutorial about my dubia colony HERE
@ashleyraeanne is 100% correct- mealworms are not acceptable as a diet staple, and a terrible idea as the sole diet item. They are worse than McDonalds- it’s like feeding human beings solid lard. While this does occur in some (human) cultures, it never composes the entirety of the diet. I have seen quality data comparing Ca:P ratios, fat content, moisture, protein, etc. with that of other feeders, but I’m not able to look up the references right this moment- I’ll try and remember to elaborate in a subsequent post with references.
But the very, very short version, is that BSFL are the most inherently balanced feeder for most purposes and the only one I’ve heard of that can be used without gut loading/supplementation. Other feeders can be quality nutrition with gut loading +/- judicious supplementation. I personally feed my adults primarily hornworms, dubia, BSFL, and occasional silkworms and Leopa gel. I keep superworms, butter worms, and mealworms as backup emergency snacks. Uh… snacks for my geckos, not me.
(edit to fix autocorrect)
Thanks!!! What’s is bsfl? And I have ate worse than worms no judgement here lol.
Black Soldier Fly Larvae- one of the commercial brands is Phoenix Worms. They are, admittedly, very gross looking larvae, but they are legit nutrition. Also, once a BSFL larva becomes an adult fly, they’re really inoffensive, to the point of almost being cute. They can sort of sip little bits of water as a treat, but they don’t eat or poo, and they are super clumsy!! I get mine, for now, from Mulberry Farms, along with my hornworms. I’ve found several ‘indie’ BSFL dealers that don’t package properly (very difficult to explain to the mailman) or that we’re contaminated, so stick to trusted sources.
For some leos, it can be difficult to get them to learn to eat BSFLs. Not sure if it’s palatability or recognition. I’ve always been able to train any gecko of mine to accept any food item of my choice, but it can take some time. Worth it 100%
I have a BSFL system I’ve set up, but I’m still fine-tuning & production is minimal thus far. I’m pretty confident my idea is ultimately going to work, though, so I should put together a post about my BSFL invertebrate adventure.
(This is a little off-topic, but my dubia colony finally started producing!! Just saw some nymphs for the first time a few hours ago. I’m so proud and I have to brag!!)
My newest adventure (that is very unlikely to work- I’m just trying it for a lark) is to try and raise my own hornworms.
That’s awesome you got your colony producing! Only bugs I’ve ever raised was fruit flies for dart frogs. Used to buy feeders for the geckos i had before. I like to be self sufficient! I already breed rats and mice. Just don’t want to take on something that’s going to be to much for me. Slightly off topic but I felt the need to get some leopard geckos when I seen there was an El Diablo blanco morph!!! My nickname from my amateur boxer days lol.
In my experience thus far with trying to raise my own insect feeders, I’d say they all have their own challenges, but the main thing is maintenance. If you already produce your own rodent feeders, I imagine tending a colony of insects wouldn’t be too overwhelming.
Exception for me was silkworms. I am just too messy to be successful producing my own, as they require a lot of cleanliness and care taken re: contamination. Though the silkworm moths are super adorable, flightless, and fun to watch- when I get silks, I often let a few spin cocoons, just for fun. I’m guessing my attempts at producing horn worms will prove to be just as fruitless, but I really love moths, so I enjoy watching the hornworm moths them in the little lepiditarium (might have misspelled that) I bought.
I’m not to the point where I can give really specific tips, especially when it comes to ensuring cost is lower than purchasing from an external source. I’m still sorting through the basics of moving from concept to actualization.
But honestly I’ve enjoyed the mental challenge of it. Even with the hiccups with my BSFL setup, I’m still learning.
I remember when the Diablo Blancos were first produced by Tremper, and they blew my socks off! I also knew that, someday, I would have to own one. Here’s my Snow Diablo Blanco, Lola:
I always wanted to get involved in boxing, or possibly try my hand at being an American Football offensive lineman. Given that I am female, almost 40, and have both hand and knee issues, I feel like perhaps it’s time to give up on that dream. Though, now that I think about it, I am a Bengals fan, and currently the Bengals’ O-line has the approximate strength of toilet paper. Perhaps it’s time for me to report for duty to Paul Brown Stadium after all. Who Dey!!
Ok, so, here are some excellent resources to compare when considering what insects to feed. One thing you’ll notice is that a ton of people reach different conclusions from looking at the same numbers. Another thing is that peoples’ numbers will vary for reasons that may not be obvious (is it the insect’s live or dry weight, has it been gutloaded or just on maintenance, etc.), especially if they have a financial interest.
Thank you for all the information!! I’m thinking I might just a get a small group of 4 or 5. And just purchase feeders. Might not be really worth the extra time. If I could just quit working this job thing during the day I could just do all the fun stuff!!!