Breeding and Raising for Superworms

Superworm

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Raising Superworms

Superworms are a worms that are approximately 2" long. They are very popular feeder for reptiles.

These worms are naturally large and have no growth hormones unlike the giant mealworm. The total life span for a superworm is a little over a year from egg to beetle.

These worms have hard exoskeletons, so as a staple diet, superworms can create impaction concerns in smalelr reptiles. Superworms should only be provided for larger reptiles.

Materials for Breeding Superworms

  • Plastic storage containers
  • Bedding
  • Superworms

Basic Setup for Breeding Superworms

Superworms can be placed in the plastic storage container at least 5" tall, so that they cannot climb out, because they will climb. You must place sufficient bedding in the container before you add the superworms, without sufficient bedding, superworms will chew out of the plastic, which means you cannot use cheap plastic containers.

Like mealworms, the basic setup of superworms, is very simplistic.

As for heating, the best temperatures are in the mid 70s to the low 80s. Temperatures that are too high or too low, will kill them.

DO NOT put superworms in the refrigerator.

As for the diet of a superworm, they will eat about anything. Wheat bran of a highly nutritious gutload should be provided, either as pure bedding or blended in with the bedding. Commercial gutload can be found at Pro Geckos, Cricket Food, and Worm Man. Also, provide fresh vegetables like carrots and potatoes.

The fresh vegetables provide the superworms with a great source of moisture. If you do not provide enough moisture, they will begin to eat each other.

Breeding Superworms

Similar to mealworms, superworms pupate into little "aliens." Some say that superworms need to be placed individually in order to pupate.

The worms become large enough to pupate around 5 months old. Choose the largest worms to pull out. Place these worms, separately, in small, dark containers. Film containers work just fine.

The "aliens" will morph into beetles. Place the beetles together and they will reproduce. You will have baby superworms in no time.

Bearded Dragon Eating Superworms

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Comments 79 comments

Patricia 4 years ago

Hay Whitney05 I got 39 supers right now and this is my first time breeding superworms. 1 question can quaker oats work for them or is it bad for them because they seem pretty fine in it


m.a 4 years ago

what do super worms eat


Dale56 4 years ago

I just love to raise mealworms. it"s so easy to do. what i like about raising mealworms the mos is that they make great fish bait for panfish.


cat 5 years ago

my superworms have turned into aliens but they r not turning into beetles. what is wrong?


tyler 5 years ago

hi my name tyler keppler and i have a dearded dargon name pete thank you


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 5 years ago from Georgia Author

What are you trying to feed? What did you offer the lettuce to? Most geckos do not eat lettuce.


Janina 5 years ago

Hi whitney I just bought a superworm yesterday and he didn't still eat yet and I gave him some leaves it's not a vegetable then it doesn't eat it what should i do should i give him vegetables is it right his getting weak and i only had him for a day please answer


skadey 5 years ago

Why does my bran/oatmean subtrate keep getting moldy?


texaschic 5 years ago

OMGosh... I bought some superworms from a pet store for a little Texas Brown sake I found in my yard. I had NO idea you could do any of this and had even wondered if I needed to take care of them until I fed them to the snake. I wondered how long the would live for.

I just put a little piece of lettuce in the container and they came rusing to the top to EAT! Poor things have been in the container for over a month with nothing to eat.

So COOL!


curtis  5 years ago

hey yall :) i have a problem i need your help!! im breeding mealworms and i have like 50 darkling beetles and i only see 40 eggs i thought each female lay 100 or more eggs? they way i have my colony set up is i have two containers on top of each other and i cut the bottom of the top container and put a screen for the bottom so that the eggs and baby mealworms can fall threw so what seems to be the problem?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Pick out the superworms and replace the bedding. That's how I do it. I'm not sure of an easier way, unless you use a strainer or grate to pour the bedding in and catch the worms as they fall out with the bedding.


bubkiss 6 years ago

how can i get rid of these fellas? :( my son recently had them but there home gotmoldy and some died n some r still alive. can i replace the bedding? and how can i take them out easily? thanks


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

I am quite surprised that the tank is invested. Just dump out all the beetles and worms, and redo the tank. I've not seen them aggressive to reptiles, but if the reptile is still enough, I don't doubt they would try to bite or munch on them, as food.

If you dump them outside, depending on you live, they'll probably just die, especially since it's getting cooler outside.


Kellie 6 years ago

Ok, I have a question. My son has 2 anoles and I bought Super Worms one day thinking they would be good for them. Well, they were WAY too big, so I gave them to a friend with bigger lizard. Well, before giving them away, we put 2 in the tank with our anoles. They then turned into beetles and now it seems the tank is infested with beetles and worms. I took 4 beetles out today and there are still more cruising around, with a ton of worms. They seem to be eating everything in site, even the crickets we put in for the lizards.

We are going to take the tank outside and wash it out to get rid of them since our guys are not eating them. My big question is, can the worms or beetles be aggressive to the lizards? We have 2 anoles and one of them seems to have a bit of sore toe and seems to be favoring that foot by not stepping on it.

Also, can these pose a risk to the garden if I just dump them outside?

I had no idea what I was getting when I got Super Worms.

Thank you!!


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Ooo.. Yes, try putting them in a dark warm place (not hot but a little warmer than where your regular worms are)


Jason 6 years ago

Ive put the worms in separate containers. waiting for them to change should i place the containers in a dark place?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

I'm not sure what you're asking... Do the superworms need to be in the dark?


Jason 6 years ago

When u got the superworms on there own must u put them in a dark area?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

I've never seen a red UV light. I really don't think they make them. All UV lights emit a white light. The red lights are generally for nighttime viewing.

I use bran for my supers.


Franchelle SA 6 years ago

Can you use a red uv-lamp instead or would that harm them? What would you say is the best object/bedding to lay their egg in/on?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

You can purchase a ceramic heat bulb to warn up the bin that the worms are in. These do not produce any light, just heat.


Taropal 6 years ago

hi Whitney05,

I just started breeding the supers. Right now it is toasty around 80's in the house. It seems they are very active at this temperature range. But when winter comes, I am afraid to turn up the heater so often it stay in the 60's. Is there any special winter care needed for them? Should I get a small heat lamp to place on top? Please advise and Thanks for reading...


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

I use larger tubs than necessary. I would recommend at last one that is at last a 10 or 14 gallon.


slidersskiturtle5 6 years ago

Okay.I'll probably buy 500 or something like that.Can you roughly estimate how big a tub I'd need for that many?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

You can give it a shot, but I'd still recommend buying more.


slidersskiturtle5 6 years ago

Since I'll not use them as feeders,100 is okay to breed, right?Can you tell the differentce between male and female?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

If you planned on not using them as both feeders and breeding insects, 100 may be ok, but if you planned on feeding out of those 100, you would need many more. I generally buy 2000-3000 super worms a shipment, and they last me a few months, but within those few months, I get a few pupa and never any beetles.


slidersskiturtle5 6 years ago

oh.That's a biggie.I only thought that you needed 100.Well, may just go out and get a new one.also, I've heard that if you give potatoes to superworms,they stink.Is that true?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

You can't put too many in that size tank. If you plan on breeding them, you'll want to buy several thousand and put them in a large storage tub (no lid). This will give them plenty of room.

Yes, separate the worms and beetles.


slidersskiturtle5 6 years ago

I've just ordered some superworms and I'm wondering some basic stuff. This is the first time I've ever bred superworms, so I've been wondering this: I have an eighteen inch x six inch tank, so how many super worms can realistically fit in there? Also, should I put superworms and darkening beetles in separate tanks?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

You can offer carrots and potatoes, as well as cricket or worm gutload.


gozolloe 6 years ago

What do the beetles eat?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

A feed store, like Tractor Supply.


james McCabe 6 years ago

Where is the best place to find wheat Bran in Bulk Bags? Feedback would be greatly appreciated since Im on the verge of Beardie season. I will have about 1000 Mouths to feed here soon for 4 weeks before I unload them wholesale.Thanks everyone.....


exinco profile image

exinco 6 years ago from Malaysia

normally these worm for reptile pet and for fish also. i have Gourami and he like to eat worm


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Most people separate the beetles from the worms, putting the beetles in a container of bedding by themselves.


redblue 6 years ago

Will the beatles eat the curled up worms. I think that I once read that once they were curled up I could place them into the container with bedding. Some will of course come out of the curled up stage and turn into beatles first. Will these then go and eat the others that have not yet fully morphed?

I have never done this before, so I don't have experience.


crez 6 years ago

heee ive got a good 70 beetles now, they're so fun to watch i even brought some home from work to keep me company while i recover from surgery.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

it shouldn't be a problem. You're putting human emotions to insects. They'll be fine for a few days.


crez 6 years ago

i was thinking over a weekend or so- its at work not home


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

Depending on how long they're in the container, it really shouldn't be a problem.


crez 6 years ago

well not "lonely" but i figured they'd stress being adults in tiny enclosures barely as wide around as they are long. I guess if they are very hungry at that stage ill just add a few more pinches of food just in case. I just got 100 more to top off my 50...and man i had a fun time hunting anything and everything that could be a suitable pupating chamber. im addicted to feeder breeding ; ;.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 6 years ago from Georgia Author

The beetles won't be lonely by any means. You're putting human emotions to beings that don't have them.


crez 6 years ago

Im volenteering for a reptile rescue as the "rat lady" and ive decided to start breeding bugs as well as rodents at the place to save them money. I got a 50 case of kings ( which i latter counted to be like 30..hrmph) and after a few days of segragateing a good half dozen curled up ( they curl up almost completely head to tail) and then after a week i now have 6 white "aliens". Im debateing weather i shuld let the aliens hatch on their own in the bran ( i use bran + wheat germ as its higher in fat/carbs/protein, basically its the sparkplug of life for the seed, with thin carrot slices sparringly as i had a bad mold attack on my mealies from over feeding carrots) or if that would be bad considering the first hatch beetles may eat the slow ones. I'm just worried about not coming in over a weekend and having lonely beetles in their small alien containers.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

The oats and wheat bran are good. I'm not sure about the corn starch though.


mom2twinsplus2 7 years ago

So, I am also just getting going on my superworm breeding project....

I bought wheat bran, oats and corn starch today....I want to try to make sure my worms are healthy and make healthy food for my Beardie and my frog....should I be making a blend like I thought or is the plain wheat bran all on its own the best?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

The amount of worm in the tub will depend on how big the tub is. The worms are supposed to burrow; they're fine. They will eat each other if the housing in inaccurate and if they're not receiving enough moisture from potatoes, carrots, etc. But not too much as the bran will mold.


Sharps 7 years ago

Hello All - I am very new to breeding superworms - just started in fact. Can anyone tell me if the worms prefer to be in the light or the dark. Mine are in a plastic tub with a layer of bran and they seem to be underneath all the time and quite sleepy when I look for them. Also would really like to know how many worms are too many worms in a tub - would hate for them to start eating each other. thanks in advance to all. SharpsSA


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 7 years ago from Georgia Author

Yes, you can and should go ahead and move the beetles to another bucket.


FatboyDaDragon 7 years ago

Great hub whitney05

Got my first colony of superworms statred.

Had the beatles on wheat bran for 5 weeks and was ready to give up.

I feed the beatles mustard green,collards,carrots ,whatever the lazy dragon won't eat.As i was about to give up i was removing the old mustard green leaves from beatle container and there was bunches of baby worms in there.Question is moving beatles to another container will they lay again

thanks in advance for info


Charlene 7 years ago

You were bitten by a beetle? Thants strange, Ive never heard of that. The larvae (worms) are usually the biters. And pupae (aliens) of course are incabable.


thebeastwithinyou 7 years ago

i actually got bitten by a rather large adult superworm the other day, scared me. but they can eat through plastic if there is a spot for them to bite that had holes, so they very much are capable of bitting.


Charlene 7 years ago

Hey, what a great hub! I have a couple things to add...

In my experience, if you have too many worms together, they will cannibalize, regardless of the amount of food available. This is more of an issue with the worms, but same goes for the beetles.

If you feed potatoes at all, the worms will stink. Try carrots instead, and there will be no smell. Beetles will only stink if they are unhappy or feel threatened, it is their only defense, as they dont bite.


dave 8 years ago

It took at least a month until I noticed the substrate moving after putting the beatles in the cage, but they grow quickly after that.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

It will take time. Baby superworms are very small, and it will take a minute for you to be able to notice them.

Be patient. That's the key. It will take more than weeks of watching beetles and days of a light.

Leave the light there for the raised temps, but just be patient.


marksmb 8 years ago

HELP. I have had beetles for weeks now but I have seen no baby worms. I am not sure what I am doing wrong. I assume that beetles eat the baby worms...and this might be part of the problem. But, we have moved the beetles around some...just not weekly. Someone else suggested I put a light over the beetles to increase the temperature just a bit. I have been doing this for a couple of days now.

I also have a small mealworm farm that someone gave me. All was going well for a few month. Now I have mostly beetles and very few worms. And, I am not seeing baby worms. So, I seem to be having the same problem with both the mealworms and the superworms...beetles but no babies.

My little boys are very anxious to get baby superworms...as we have been working at this process for many weeks now.

Thanks, in advance, for any help you can give me.

Mel


titillo 8 years ago

hey there... what's going on... I have a question...for nancy1424, with how many worms or beatles are u going to start to make your own business...?


bobwhitequail profile image

bobwhitequail 8 years ago from ontario canada

finnally have 60 superking beatles.Damn they are big.Does anyone know how long till worms start to show????


garrett 8 years ago

you can eat them


Elise 8 years ago

does anyone know where superworms originally come from?


tiffany 8 years ago

Wow they totally sound so amazing mabye i'll try one onetime l.o.l


bobwhitequail profile image

bobwhitequail 8 years ago from ontario canada

have more super king worms changing so we will see how many change to bettles for me


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

I'm not 10-% on the time frame. It's been a while since I've breed them. But I don't believe it's too long. It's never taken me too long to breed mealworms either.


bobwhitequail profile image

bobwhitequail 8 years ago from ontario canada

damn l thought it was longer but thats okay love the input. l guess l am yoused to raiseing meal worms.thanks whitney05.ps l am in ontario canada where are you from


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

I believe a few weeks. Depends on the temperature. Warmer the better, but don't fry them.


bobwhitequail profile image

bobwhitequail 8 years ago from ontario canada

well l have started breeding superking worms but how long do the beetles live.thanks


jose 8 years ago

wow...the lizard eat like that huh...cool


Nancy1424 profile image

Nancy1424 8 years ago

I have to agree with you Zuzsy about breeding the superworms it is fun and it's a big bonus that they are not slimy and same with the meals. But the most rewarding, i think, is hatching silkworm eggs. It is truly amazing watching the tiny little critters crawling out of the egg and onto the food and boy do they grow fast! Just a coupple of day's of feeding and there is already a size difference. I kinda feel sorry for them knowing they will be feed to my Beardies and Gecko's but of course i will be putting most of them aside to breed. I also have a question concerning the superworm beetles. I make sure they have fresh fruit every day but every so often i will see the eating each other what's up with that? It's nuts how one will just attack another and won't stop until the body is all consumed.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Oh Zuzsy it's not a problem! I do appreciate the help very much. As, I mentioned, I've never bred superworms (or King Worms). I thought about it at one point, but after a few months decided that they smelt bad, so I just fed them all off to my bearded dragons.


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

I've been breeding (we call them King worms around here) for about five years now. The time from when the worm turns into 'aliens' depends on the amount of warmth they get. in the summer they can turn into beetles in just about three weeks. In the winter maybe even 10 days more. When they have turned into aliens they don't move much and don't eat anything. They love even temperature this is when I find the egg-carton to be the best. I check on them every couple of days. Once it gets to be closer to their turning point I open the eggcarton morning and night because once they turn into bugs they like to "walk-about" they are a bright tan-orange color when first turned which will darken to brown and eventually black. soon after they're black they are ready to mate and produce eggs. [Sorry Whitney I know this is your hub hope you don't mind it just looked like you needed a bit of help answering Jamberrys question.]

regards Zsuzsy


Nancy1424 profile image

Nancy1424 8 years ago

This site is awesome! Thanks to all the info about breedind insects i now successfully breed my own crickets, mealworms, superworms and silkworms! And now that i know it can be done, i am opening my own business to sell them as we live in a very small town with a high demand for insects for reptile lovers which can't be found in our local pet store except crickets. Thank's for the great info!


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Yes the "aliens" at the white stage in between worm and beetle. I'm not sure how long it takes superworms to reach about 1 inch. I tend to purchase them as adults, when I do, which is seldom. I've never bred them.


Jamberry profile image

Jamberry 8 years ago from Anchorage, AK

Oooh, I now see that I was confused. "Aliens" are what you guys call the mealworms that are soft and white, their in-between state, I'm assuming? I thought you were refering to the beetles as the "aliens." I should read more carefully.

Whoops.

But that makes sense. I just need to wait until another beetle amerges. How long does it take the superworms to grow, to an inch or so, with adequate food and moisture?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Jamberry- You can leave them without consequences to the worms. But, when I bred mealworms, I set up a separate container of bedding for beetles, and after a month or so put the beetles in a different container to let baby worms grow. I would not leave beetles and "aliens," as you may find the beetles eating the "aliens".


Jamberry profile image

Jamberry 8 years ago from Anchorage, AK

So... I experienced my first "alien" last week, when I opened my superworms tub and saw a small black ELEPHANT, just chilling out. I mean, I understood the second I saw it that mealworms WOULD NATURALLY change into beetles, but I still had a "WTH" expression for a good few minutes.

Next time I get one, I think I'll take the breeding approach. Do the Beasts pose any kind of threat to the superworms, or is it okay to leave them be with the others?

Do you just kind of hangout until you look in the container and see tiny little superworms, then remove the beetles?


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia Author

It shouldn't take any longer than a week or so. The worms will be very, very small, but will grow rapidly.


Nancy 8 years ago

Does anyone know roughly how long it takes after the beetles lay their eggs for them to hatch? Thanks.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 9 years ago from Georgia Author

I think that if you have sufficient bedding the egg cartons are unnecessary.

And, yes... As beetles the EAT and EAT and EAT!


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

Whitney05!

Great HUB!

The time span between the "alien" stage and morphing into brown beatles mainly depends on the temperature. The more even the better. Once the worm become aliens they really don't move much. Placing them in egg-cartons work the best. the change over can take anywhere from 3-4 weeks. At this time they need to be moved into containers with netting covers, otherwise they will 'walk-about'. When first changed into beetles they are hungry, hungry, hungry and a light reddish brown gradually getting darker and finally being totally black at which stage they're ready to 'mate'. They need a bran bedding with chunks of wood or moss to lay their eggs into. Once a week create a new home for the beatles, so that the baby worms have a chance without being eaten. After 5-6 weeks the adult beatles die.

For a continuous worm supply for your draggons or other lizards restart with a few worms in the film containers every week or two.

Breeding these worms is fun. They are quite beautiful shiny but not slimy.

regards Zsuzsy

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