Raising Superworms

Superworms, (Zophobas morio), are an excellent and easy to keep feeder insect for many reptile, amphibian, and bird species. I use superworms for box turtles and bearded dragons. If fed properly superworms can be kept at room temps for a long time. I have some superworms that I have been keeping for more than 1 year.

superworms.jpg

Superworms are NOT the same as Mealworms or Giant Mealworms (tenebrio molitor) though they are similar in appearance. Superworms need to be kept at room temps and will not turn into to beetles while in group. On the other hand mealworm quickly pupate at room temps and should be refrigerated to keep them in the larval stage. Superworms are in fact more easily digested when compared to mealworms since they have less chitin. Small superworms have even less chitin.

Nutritional Analysis of Superworms:
Moisture: 59%
Protein: 20%
Fat: 16%
Ash: 1%
For information on improving the nutrition of superworms click here
I keep my superworms in Sterlite containers with about a quarter inch of food/bedding. I put some fresh greens over them a few times a week.

When I want small superworms for hatchling box turtles, I take 6 or more superworms and place 1 each in a multi-compartment storage case (available at Lowes or craft stores. ). I put a little bit of greens with the superworms and wait. In about a week the superworms stop moving and curl up.

superworms image

Within a few days it will shed its skin and pupate.

superworms pupae

In 2-3 weeks the pupae will become a beetle. When it first emerges its white...then red and finally black.

superworms beetle

I keep the beetles on damp sphagnum moss and feed them small amounts of greens and my insect diet. In a few weeks you will see movement in the moss. If you wish to continue breeding them, at this point, transfer the beetles to another.



The superworms larvae are very small and almost impossible to see without a magnifying glass. Below is a picture of superworms at 1 week old. They will be full size in 2-3 months.

small superworms


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