Raising waxworms

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by peple of the perch, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. I Have got some waxworms in a bucket right now, a few have already hatched into moths and are flying around. My question is do i need to put any food or water in the container for the moths and will i be able to see the eggs that the moth lays on the wax paper. Also how many eggs do u get from a female moth. I read 300 than i have read 1,600. there is a pretty big difference between those numbers. If there is anything else i should be cautious about or do in raising these waxworms please let me know.
  2. Well, They laid a bunch of eggs today, So i'll see in a week. Are the eggs supposed to brown a little?

  3. ParmaBass

    ParmaBass Kiss The Converse

    How about a pic or two?? I've got a bunch of waxies left over from ice season. If it's something simple, I'll give it a shot too!
  4. ezbite

    ezbite the Susan Lucci of OGF


    im not positive but, i think brown eggs are dead eggs
  5. Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet
    1991 Kenny Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1000


    Rearing Wax Worms
    William F. Lyon

    Common Name Scientific Name
    Greater Wax Moth Galleria mellonella (Linnaeus)

    Wax worms sometimes are raised for fish bait or for life cycle observation studies in high schools, colleges and private laboratories. They are very destructive pests of honeycombs, especially when stored in dark, warm, poorly-ventilated places and outdoors in weak honey bee colonies. Wax worms are excellent fish bait and can be easily supplied the year around.

    Kinds of Wax Worms
    Greater wax worm moths are gray or brown, about 3/4 inch long with a wingspread of about 1-1/2 inches. Eggs are white and tiny. Larvae are milky white or light tan and, when disturbed, crawl rapidly backward almost as easily as forward. Larvae spin silken threads as they eat, turning from light tan to dark gray or brown on maturing. Next, they spin their white silk cocoons and enter the pupa stage.

    Wax Worm

    Obtaining Wax Worms
    Wax worms can be obtained from bait companies, biological supply houses and often local beekeepers. In nature, within weak honey bee hives, larvae tunnel into honeycombs, leaving a mass of webs, debris and damaged frames.

    Use glass or metal containers such as wide-mouth glass jars, plastic crispers, large lard cans or honey cans. Larvae will chew through wood and soft plastic. Use 20 mesh wire-screens for lids or covers.

    Cage Preparation
    Cultures are self-contained, developing from eggs to adults in the same environment. Place about 1,000 eggs in a gallon jar with a screened lid under a temperature of about 86 deg F (30 deg C). Temperature and food should be kept at optimal levels for best production. A continuous cycle of larvae can be obtained by allowing female moths to lay eggs.

    When larvae begin spinning webs at the top of the jar, remove 30 to 35 and put them in a rectangular plastic box. They will pupate and emerge as adults and then lay eggs.

    The eggs generally will be on the edge of the lid or the rim of the box and can be collected by placing a razor blade gently under one side and lifting. Eggs should come off easily and can be dropped into the jar. If the eggs were laid too recently, they will be messy and not lift off. In that case, wait one more day. It takes about six to seven weeks to complete the life cycle from egg to adult at 30 deg C (86 deg F).

    Don't be too concerned about the fungi that develop in the boxes--you can still use the eggs as long as they do not have fungi on them. At several times of the year (usually spring and fall), the colonies are stressed by bacteria. This usually passes without creating a problem. Simply dispose of the affected jars as soon as possible.

    Jars should be autoclaved, the larvae and associated garbage discarded, and the jars washed and sterilized before reuse. After collecting eggs, put plastic boxes into the freezer for at least 24 hours and then clean for reuse.

    These insects are hardy, odorless and easy to rear. The greater wax moth goes through four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Most people collect larvae from infested honeycombs or obtain them from a biological supply house to start cultures. The life cycle from egg to adult is about six to seven weeks at temperatures of 86°F and a relative humidity of 75 to 85 percent. Larvae pass through seven growth stages (instars) during feeding, with most growth in the last two stages. Mature larvae spin a cocoon and pass into the pupa stage, from which the adult moth later emerges.

    Larvae in nature feed on pollen, honey and beeswax in honeybee combs. In cultures, granular dog meal is effective. Mix seven parts granular dog meal with one part water and then add two parts honey. Mix and allow to stand one day before using. Granules should be soft and not sticky. Once the culture has been established, no daily maintenance is required. Another formula consists of one box Gerber's Mixed Cereal, 100 ml honey and 100 ml glycerine. Mix honey and glycerine in a container and pour into cereal. Mix with a spoon until all cereal is moist.

    Other Factors
    Mature larvae, before pupation, crawl into a crevice or hollow space, spinning a cocoon. Furnish the culture with two wooden boards held apart about 1/4 inch by driving nails through one board. Larvae will crawl into this space and can be collected daily. After counting they can be allowed to crawl into rolls of corrugated cardboard strips for holding. Next, place into a cool area to reduce further developments. At temperatures near 60°F, larvae will not pupate for two to three months. However, a refrigerator is too cold.


    All educational programs conducted by Ohio State University Extension are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, gender, age, disability or Vietnam-era veteran status.

    Keith L. Smith, Associate Vice President for Ag. Adm. and Director, OSU Extension.

    TDD No. 800-589-8292 (Ohio only) or 614-292-1868


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  6. It is simple, I just put the cacoons in the bucket w/ some wax paper and basically forgot about them. Later this week i will make some food and put it in the container. I gave a rough count of 400 eggs.