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Waxworms are the larvae of the wax moth. There are two related species, the lesser wax moth (Achroia grisella) and the greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella). They are used extensively as food in the pet industry, mostly due to their high fat content, their ease of breeding, and their ability to survive for weeks at low temperatures. Refrigerated wax worms are also popularly sold as fish bait, especially for members of the sunfish family.

They are medium white caterpillars with black tipped feet and small black heads. In the wild they live as nest parasites in bee colonies and eat cocoons, pollen, and shed skins of bees, and chew through beeswax, thus the name. When used in captivity they can go a long time without eating, particularly if kept refrigerated. Captive wax worms are generally raised on a mixture of cereal grain and honey. Beekeepers consider waxworms to be pests.

Waxworms as live food[]

Waxworms are an ideal food for many insectivorous animals. Although they are high in protein and calcium, they are also relatively fattening and should thus be fed sparingly as treats instead of dietary staples.

Waxworms as bait[]

Waxworms are also used in the United States as fishing bait.[1] Waxworms may be bought or raised by anglers. They are used for catching some varieties of Panfish, among other fish.

Breeding Waxworms[]

Waxworms are incredibly easy to breed. Any plastic or glass container will work. Any size bigger than 2 1/2 gallons will work. The bedding in the container should be a mixture of bran and honey. Calcium powder can also be added for further gut loading. Fresh apples, oranges, and leafy greens can be placed inside the container to further increase nutritional value. Several fresh twigs should be included in the habitat as well. The waxworms will begin to turn into pupa in about 2 weeks, a little sooner if kept at a higher temperature. The lid should a a fine plastic mesh, and fine metal mesh, or cloth secured very well, such as taping. The pupa will hatch as moths. The moths will mate, lay eggs and die. New pupa will be born from the eggs. To produce more, leave some of the pupa in the breeding container. To store as food, place some of the bran/honey mix in a small plastic container in the fridge which will slow down the growth rate.

See also[]


  1. Lee Townsend, "Rearing Waxworms". University of Kentucky, Entomology. Retrieved 24 June, 2007.

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