|The greater wax moth goes through four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. 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.
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 moth larvae should be housed in 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.
Larvae in nature feed on pollen, honey and beeswax in honeybee combs and are, in nature, found within weak honey bee hives, larvae tunnel into honeycombs, leaving a mass of webs, debris and damaged frames. They are considered an insect pest of honeycombs.
William F. Lyon, Rearing Wax Worms, Ohio State University
- 1,200 gm Gerber's high protein baby cereal (one box multi grain)
- 100 ml honey
- 100 ml glycerin u.s.p. (avoid the wood rose type, its poisonous)
- 100 ml boiling water (or filtered water)
- 5 ml liquid vitamin supplement (optional)
- 1.5 gm calcium propionate (optional)
- 3-4 tablespoons of bee pollen (optional)
- 1 table spoon of brewers yeast (optional)
Use a food processor or blender to mix the above ingredients until you have a mixture that has a crumbly, chunky consistency that sticks together when pinched.
Extra mixture can be stored in jars in the refrigerator.
You can use this one after you master the art of raising wax worms using the above recipe
- bran from a feed store
- Glycerin (avoid the wood rose type, its poisonous)
- bee pollen
The container you use is every bit as important as the ingredients in the recipe. As is the temperature you keep the completed colony at ...85 degrees. The glycerin helps to keep the mixture moist and the Gerber mixed grains cereal has just enough preservative in it to keep the mold in check . And the worms will be huge using the baby cereal.
Use 3 gallon jugs (available from Wal-Mart - if no 3 gallons are available use a 1 gallon jug). Cut the lid and apply screen to the lid to allow air exchange (to avoid fungus and mold growth). The screen can be attached with a hot glue gun. Make sure the lid and holes are tight . Wax worm babies are tiny and love to travel. You may also use a cloth (cheesecloth or some other fine woven cotton cloth) inside of the lid as well as the screen to prevent escapees.
Wax paper crumbled into loose balls leaving enough room for the moths to fly inside of the container. The moths will lay the eggs in the wax paper. You can leave them in the original container or take the wax paper out and start a truly new colony after you have seen the moths flying inside the container .
One recipe is just enough to set up two one gallon containers . 5 weeks is about the amount of time you will be waiting for things to get under way. Not every colony survives at first . Don't be discouraged by some bugs dyeing-keep trying!
Once you see the life cycle you will be making so many wax worms you will wondering why anyone buys them .
One more thing. Honey is the main thing ! Wax worms eat honey in the wild. Once you are efficient at raising these insects try dog food as the grain (Old Roy brand Wall-Mart ) it will work .
The amount of production of worms is related to temperature and moisture.
The first recipe is the one everyone learns from it is the one with the largest possibility of success.