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  1. #1
    Registered User 55fingers's Avatar
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    What insect to feed?

    My family's beardie usually eats freeze-dried mealworms. However I've heard that mealworms aren't the best staple insect and that they could possibly cause impaction. Dubias sound the best, but I don't think that's do-able for us. Crickets, I've also heard can cause impaction. Right now I'm thinking Crickets, Mealworms, or Phoenix worms (black solider fly larvae). Note that these will probably be freeze-dried. Which is best to go for if I can choose?

  2. #2
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: What insect to feed?

    Quote Originally Posted by 55fingers View Post
    My family's beardie usually eats freeze-dried mealworms. However I've heard that mealworms aren't the best staple insect and that they could possibly cause impaction. Dubias sound the best, but I don't think that's do-able for us. Crickets, I've also heard can cause impaction. Right now I'm thinking Crickets, Mealworms, or Phoenix worms (black solider fly larvae). Note that these will probably be freeze-dried. Which is best to go for if I can choose?
    Mealworms are not ideal for Bearded Dragons because of the amount of "chitin" they have, especially relative to nutritional value.

    Chitin is the shell/armor mealworms have on their body.

    Superworms, a different species, not LARGE mealworms, have less chitin and definitely relative to the size and nutrition the worm provides.

    Phoenix worms are good, but you need to feed a lot to make a difference. They are high in calcium.

    Dubai are probably the best thing you can feed. My leopard geckos eat mealworms and dubai roaches as their staple. Of note, Leopard Geckos are carnivores, not omnivores like Beardies, and they have little trouble digesting mealworms. Still, dubai offer a higher protein content and are easier to digest for them.

    Crickets are okay, and if freeze dried, you are limiting the annoyance factor with them (smell and noise).

    Variety is the key, and also seeing what he/she likes. They always seem to have preferences. I would avoid the mealworms and go with superworms, dubai roaches, phoenix worms, and occasionally, crickets. An occasional butter worm or wax worm will make for a happy bearded dragon (or leopard gecko), but they are Lizard Crack and really junk food for them. Only occasionally with those.

    I believe you can get Superworms freeze dried, but I am not sure about phoenix worms.

    Remember, once an adult, beardies should have protein about 2X a week and be fed veggies (proper veggies for them - rich in nutrients and not just water like most lettuce) daily.

    If you can get your beardie to eat freeze dried protein, that's awesome. My Blue Tongue could care less. In fact he chased a dubai roach once, ate it, and then decided he was never chasing another one ever again. He just eats freeze dried worms and roaches now mixed in with his veggies.

    However, some Beardies like the movement of the bugs.
    Last edited by dakski; 09-02-2018 at 06:48 PM.

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  4. #3
    Registered User Goblin's Avatar
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    The best staple to feed is dubias, or crickets. Good treat food are hornworms, superworms(when the beardie is bigger), waxworms(rarely, because they are fattening. Hope this helps!
    Last edited by Goblin; 09-02-2018 at 06:55 PM.
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  6. #4
    Registered User 55fingers's Avatar
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    Yes I've heared that live is best, and agree, however freeze-dried seems cheaper I think, and if it's possible to avoid taking care of stinky insects that die easily, that would be best.

    I've also heard you can soak the bugs in hot water to give them back their moisture (for the beardies as they don't tend to drink water)

    I'm thinking phoenix worms might be best. I might see if I can get more than 1 kind of insect.

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    Please don't feed only freezedried. No matter how much you 'wet' it, insectivores like beardies, especially desert dwelling animals, get the majority of their water intake from salads and live bugs. They rarely drink standing water, and maybe from droplets on their nose. Most importantly, live insects are gutloaded prior to being fed off. That means what you feed the insect 24 hours prior, will go to your beardie too. Freezedried are great as treats but not a staple.

    Secondly, as the beardie gets older, they can grow pickier with their food. Movement from a live insect triggers their hunting response. Not only that, it gives them some stimulation.

    I am not only referring to crickets or dubias: I feed primarily worms to my beardie, blue tongue skink and leopard gecko. Black soldier fly larvae are a great staple, hornworms are perfect for hydration and as treats, superworms if your beardie is over 10 inch in length, waxworms are a great treat that are good for fattening up ill or skinny lizards, butterworms are good but difficult to find, and meal worms are fed sparingly (If you must, 3-4 a day and wait until it poops before giving it more) to beardies and preferably after it molted. Crickets carry pinworms, they can bite your beardie if they are not eaten, and they are okay in terms of protein. Roaches are great if you can grow your own colony to save $$. They do take some time to grow as most vendors will not sell you the adults, and then it takes time for them to breed, etc. Whatever insect you choose, they must be no bigger than the length between their eyes.

    If you can't get them because of price or access, I order mine from Mulberry Farms. They always have deals and you can refrigerate some type of worms to make them last longer (Mulberry will tell you which ones can be refrigerated). They always have sales, such as 100 BSF larvae for $5.

    Baby beardies need a lot of live insects. Not freezedried. Then as they get older, it is 70-80% salads and the rest are insects. For my 18 month + beardie, which is now a full grown adult, he gets a cup of salad daily plus 25 more or less live insects a week. So if you are fine with feeding less insects, get an adult beardie.

    If it is not the price and simply you don't WANT to or your family don't allow for live insects, then please keep in mind once you get used to them, they are not that bad. I hated live insects. I refused to even touch a freezedried one. Fast forward 2 years later, I am picking waxworms with my fingers. You can always use a hemostat to pick the insect up. I recommend feeding this way as a hungry beardie can bite through skin and it can hurt quite a bit.

    If there is absolutely no way around feeding live, and you must use freezedried, please reconsider a different type of lizard, like a Uromastyx. They are very similar in care, size and space. They are tame, easy to handle, and eats mostly veggies and nuts. They do need a higher basking spot.
    Last edited by Cheesenugget; 09-02-2018 at 08:26 PM.

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  9. #6
    Registered User 55fingers's Avatar
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    Our beardie is an adult. She gets live sometimes but it's not always as convenient or avalible as freeze-dried. She eats them without trouble just as she does live.

    I would love to even breed dubias, but I think my family would draw the line at breeding roaches in the house.. they're okay with mealworms and crickets, though. If phoenix worms didn't turn into flies I'd like to breed them. Do they usually turn into flies if you can't feed them fast enough?

    I'll see what I can do, though.

  10. #7
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    Yes, they turn to flies in about 10-14 day mark depending on what size you order them from. You can feed the flies to your beardie though. The flies are slow, they don't have a mouth so if they escape, they won't live long as they will starve to death. The flies are a little less nutritious as the larvae but just as good to go. When mine turn to flies, I place the container in the freezer, wait 10 min, and they are all dead.

    You can also slow their growth if they are placed in a wine cooler. Do not refrigerate.

    Roaches are easy to care for. A plastic bin, egg crates/toilet paper rolls, water crystals and food. I use fish flakes plus some fruits and veggies. They do best somewhere dark and prefer to be left alone. Room temp works but some people have better success with adding some heat. I don't use any heat for my discoids (Similar care but a tad more challenging to raise than Dubias. Dubias are not allowed in FL if you are from FL).

    That is good with what you are feeding. As long as he gets about 25 live insects per week, that will work.
    Last edited by Cheesenugget; 09-02-2018 at 08:39 PM.

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  12. #8
    Sometimes It Hurts... PitOnTheProwl's Avatar
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    Re: What insect to feed?

    Quote Originally Posted by 55fingers View Post
    they're okay with mealworms and crickets.
    Until they smell the crickets..... They are a pain to keep in every way possible. If you dont keep them super clean and remove they dead ones fast enough, they will all die quickly.

    Dubia roaches are so easy to keep, have almost no oder and make no noise.

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  14. #9
    Telling it like it is! Stewart_Reptiles's Avatar
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    Hands down best feeder as far as protein / ration Dubias, which are also hands down the easiest to keep and cleanest to keep.

    Cricket will die fast and they stink really really bad.

    Any lizard I ever had that fed or is feeding on insect get dubias and I would never go back to crickets.
    Deborah Stewart

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  16. #10
    Registered User 55fingers's Avatar
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    Re: What insect to feed?

    Quote Originally Posted by PitOnTheProwl View Post
    Until they smell the crickets..... They are a pain to keep in every way possible. If you dont keep them super clean and remove they dead ones fast enough, they will all die quickly.

    Dubia roaches are so easy to keep, have almost no oder and make no noise.
    I know, I used to breed crickets and they stunk. Then as soon as they hit adulthood, they'd die. I gave up after that..

    Dubias sound the best, but I don't think my family would like the idea of there being roaches in their house. I'll have to see about it.

    Just wondering, would live superworms be better than freeze dried mealworms?

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