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  1. #1
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    Apr 2009
    Louisville Kentucky
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    Default Feeder Insect Diets & Gutload


    This is a list of basic diets for a number of common and less common feeder insects. These diets are designed to be simple, low cost, and provide complete nutrition throughout the insects' life cycle.

    pbv = parts by volume
    pbw = parts by weight (can be oz, g, lbs, anything)

    Crickets and most of the Feeder Roaches
    7 pbv whole wheat flour
    1 pbv corn flour
    1 pbv soy flour
    1 pbv brewer's yeast (Not baker's or active yeast. Nutritional yeast or Diamond V can be used.)

    Serve dry with water crystals on the side or mix 2 parts dry with 8 parts chopped fresh vegetables. (Orangehead and hissing roaches do best with the vegetable mix.)

    9 pbv wheat bran
    1 pbv brewer's yeast (Not baker's or active yeast. Nutritional yeast or Diamond V can be used.)

    Use as bedding, limit portion to what can be consumed in one week or 1 inch in depth. Provide moisture daily with fresh vegetables or water crystals directly on bedding.

    Waxworms and Indian Meal Moths
    Mix meal/superworm diet above with honey, ratio depends greatly on type of honey used. Object is to coat all of the dry ingredients with as little as possible.

    Fruit Flies
    1 pbv sugar
    2 pbv brewer's yeast (Not baker's or active yeast. Nutritional yeast can be used.) or powdered milk
    4 pbv potato flakes

    Mix with equal parts water in a suitable container, 1/3 c for Drosophila melanogaster and 1/2 c for Drosophila hydei.

    Bean Beetles
    Blackeye peas (dry). A one inch layer of in a 32 oz container works well. A toilet paper tube or similar item placed in the breeding container assists removal of the insects.

    Confused Flour Beetles/Rice Flour Beetles
    1 pbv paprika
    2 pbv soy flour
    4 pbv enriched white flour

    Springtails and Isopods
    Cricket and roach diet mixed with enough water to make a dough, make pea-sized balls, offer as much as will be consumed in one week. Reduce portion if it molds when feeding isopods, mold is ok with springtails.

    Grain Weevils
    Whole, not ground: wheat, maize, oats barley, sorghum, buckwheat, or rye. A one inch layer in a 32 oz container works well. A toilet paper tube or similar item placed in the breeding container assists removal of the insects.

    Black Soldier Fly Larva and Common Housefly Larva (Darts)
    8 pbv lab block (rodent chow)
    1 pbv Calf Manna
    1 pbv brewer's yeast (Not baker's or active yeast. Nutritional yeast or Diamond V can be used.)

    Wet the above to form a mush, offer fresh food 3/4 inch deep in shallow trays once every 24 hours within the fly enclosure, flies will lay eggs on the media and larvae will consume the food. Houseflies can be induced to lay more with a small portion of chicken liver placed on the diet surface.

    Milk and sugar mixed to form a paste.

    Silk/Goliath Worms
    Use the dry diet that is available, OR

    Collect and dry your own fresh mulberry leaves, crush and grind to form a powder, to make food mix 2 parts powdered mulberry leaves with 8 parts water by weight, add agar agar as directed on the product container and cook acording to directions to form a firm gel. Cool, slice, serve.

    Hawk Moths (Goliath Worm - Moth form)
    Use powdered hummingbird food, OR

    1 qt water
    1/2 c powdered sugar
    1 tbsp strawberry flavored weight gainer mix (whey protein plus a ton of other ingredients)
    3 drops red food color Bad news to use red food color for hummingbirds!

    Offer in a hummingbird feeder.

    Feed the cricket/roach diet detailed above mixed with freshly rinsed collard greens or mustard greens.

    Most of the ingredients are easy to find at your local grocery except the yeasts I mentioned, mulberry leaves, agar agar, the Calf Manna, and wheat bran. Brewers yeast and agar agar is available at health food outlets or online. Wheat bran and Calf Manna is best sourced at a grain mill or larger feed supply outlet that works with farmers. You need a mulberry tree or a friendly person with one who doesn't mind you stripping it nearly bare for the leaves.

    This pretty much covers the feeders most people will use on a regular basis and represents those I work with for my own critters.

    To safely gutload your feeders you need to do so in a different container. This is because you are going to feed them a diet that is best for the geckos you are feeding and not the feeder insects. It takes about 18 to 24 hours to make a real difference. You need a scale to make a gutload at home because the measurements need to be more exact than the regular diets.

    For the crickets and mealworms, feed them this diet prior to using them as feeders
    24 pbw whole wheat flour (not self rising)
    8 pbw calcium carbonate with vitamin D3 (I like the ZooMed ReptiCalcium)
    4 pbw brewer's yeast (Not baker's yeast. Nutritional yeast will do the trick!)
    3 pbw soy flour (if you can find the defatted kind great)
    1 pbw paprika (this is to provide beta carotene)

    This is a very simple, fairly low cost, good quality gutload that packs in the calcium. Feed it only to the crickets you are using the next day. There are ingredients out there that can be used to make a more palatable gutload, although the cost will be far greater so I will not go into them here.

    In order to get as much of this diet into your crickets and mealworms as possible, I have found that mixing it 50/50 with any vegetable or fruit works well. Most vegetables are in the range of 80% water and do not greatly alter the effect of the gutload. Applesauce is super easy to use. Only feed the insects as much as they will consume in the 18 to 24 hours they will be on the gutload diet. Mealworms will do fine without the normal bedding they live in for this time so long as they can get to the gutload.

    Note: The formula above is about as basic as it gets for a gutload and isn't intended to perform magical transformations in your geckos' health. It corrects the calcium-to-phosphorous ratio of both crickets and mealworms, provides some vitamin D3, and contains a great measure of beta carotene. Other vitamins and minerals are present at levels that are not excessive or lacking. Better yet, more expensive ingredients such as replacing soy flour with lentil flour slightly reduces the need for so much calcium carbonate. Replacing the whole wheat flour with finely ground beet pulp, buckwheat flour, whole wheat flour, and alfalfa has the same effect. A slew of other ingredients can replace or combine with the paprika to modify the quantity and diversity of any number of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

    Feel free to use this information any way you like.

    Maurice Pudlo
    Last edited by Elizabeth Freer; 02-03-2011 at 04:33 AM. Reason: "work in progress"--clarification on yeast recommendations.
    Likes Zux, rachelboory, Graham_s, oli liked this post

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Thanks Maurice!
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