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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As some of you know, I purchased some lesser waxworms from Ed's at NWFF. I got two cultures going (the original and one I made right after getting home), and now it's time to start the second generation. I've used about 1/3rd of the medium I got from Ed's, and decided to try my hand at making my own. My recipe:

1 box of Gerber Mixed Grain dry baby food cereal
Equal parts honey and black molasses
4 ounces of bee pollen granules

The recipe I was going by called for vegetable glycerine, but it's hard to find around here. So I substituted black molasses. As for the bee pollen I had gotten a pound for myself from bulkfoods.com, but decided afterwards that I hated the taste. It's been kicking around the house for months. It's about $8.50 for a pound (less if you buy more). Since I read that waxworms feast upon the combs, honey, and pollen, I decided to add it to the mix. I put the cereal in a mixing bowl, and added the molasses and honey a little at a time, until it looked crumbly. Then I added the pollen and mixed it in. After a minute or two, I transferred the mixture to a gallon freezer bag and used some of it to make up a new culture. I estimate that I should get around 7-8 cultures from this batch.

Baby food cereal: $3
Honey about $5
Molasses about $2
Bee pollen $2

That comes out to about $1.70 per culture. That's a lot compared to FFs, but the waxworm cultures last a lot longer (the one I got from Ed's a month ago is still going). Should start to see results in a few weeks. I'll keep everyone updated.
 

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I have found that they last a super long time! I moved around all of my terrariums about 2 and a half months ago and up until sunday I hadn't used my waxie cultures, I opened them up and only a few worms but quite a few moths. They will last a long time if they have enough food, just make sure you have a good lid on them otherwise they'll chew right through
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yup, that is one of the common names for them. Can be applied to both species, though. Beekeepers generally don't care which ones are tearing up their combs, since they both do pretty much equal damage, so they call both bee moths.
 

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FYI, the ones that ED's sold at NWFF were the Indian Meal Moths (Plodia interpunctella)...

These are different than lesser waxworms (Achroae grisella)... which Matt Mirabello had at his table.


SB
 

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steelcube said:
FYI, the ones that ED's - Erin and Dave sell at NWFF were Indian Meal Moths (Plodia interpunctella)...

These are different than lesser waxworms (Achroae grisella)... which Matt Mirabello had at his table.


SB
Hmmm. This is about the third or fourth time I've heard that some lesser waxworms were actually Indian meal moths. I'm not sure how many know the history of the lesser waxworms in the US hobby but I obtained cultures from an entomology professor friend and they were most definately Achroae grisella. I sold many of these cultures at IAD 2 years ago and to my knowledge this is the only origin of the lessers in the US hobby. I made a mistake with the cultures though because I had been experimenting with substituting corn meal for the wheat bran used in original media. Initial results were good so that is what I used for the cultures sold at IAD and also provided the recipe. Later I found problems with the cornmeal based culture. One was that they dried out too fast and the other is that the media is prone to infestation by mites and other things. I've since switched to a baby cereal based media which works much better. I'm now wondering if some of the cultures have been contaminated with Indian meal moths and over run the waxworms. Matt generously donated a culture to me at NWFF because my original cultures died during a move. These are certainly A. grisella. This would be worth getting to the bottom of.
 

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A way to tell the difference is that Achroae grisella moth has a yellow face. Plodia interpunctella moth has a pointy triangular-shape head which reminds me of a mosquito.


SB
 

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Settle the confusion

Hi,
It seems that some people are confused about lesser wax worms and Indian Meal moths. Well I wanted to shed some light on the subject. Achroia grisella is most often described as the lesser wax worm. Some of the confusion may start right away as this is not a worm at all, but a moth. Plodia interpunctella is the Indian Meal Moth. It is quite true that they are different species, but in my reading these members of lepidoptera are often confused. Keying them out to species is simple enough, but its the common names that they have in common. Both are describes as leser wax worms, honey comb moths, bee moths, wax moths, pantry moths, pantry pests, etc etc etc. The list goes on. And in doing so people are jumbling a multitude of species. The Achrioa grisella is classified further into family Pyralidae, subfamily Galleriidae. While Plodia interpunctella is also classified family Pyralidae, subfamily Phycitinae. Without photos it is hard to show how closely related these species are, but they are different. Steve made a good comparision. They are similar in that they can be cultured the same way. Both are honeycomb pests. And they have almost identical lifecycles. Its the larva that the hobbist wants as a feeder insect. The larva are active, robust, caterpillars. They are not hairy, and both are a nice fatty meal for herps. Now introduce the hungry dart frog. They don't care, and if given a choice between the two, both will die equally glorious deaths. They are indeed a good way to put some weight on a slender frog, and a nice bit of vareity in a frog's diet. I am so sorry if I have confused anyone. It is a common mistake even between entomologists who don't specialize in moths and butterflies.
 

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Dave,

I don't think you are confusing anyone. You even wrote it on your website that they are indian meal moth.

One great thing about meal moth compare to lesser waxworms (I am advertising for Dave here :wink: ) is that meal moth worms often climb out of their medium and spin... so they are easier to collect.

SB
 
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