How to Raise Waxworms

By Sarah Terry

Items you will need

  • Escape-proof container with lid

  • Bran or oatmeal

  • Honey

  • Wax paper


  • Don’t let your waxworms escape. Waxworms can climb up the glass or metal sides of the container and the adult moths can fly away, so you must have a tight-fitting, escape-proof lid. Be careful when opening the lid. You can put the container in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before opening to help prevent moths from flying away. Don’t use waxworms as a dietary staple for your reptile. Waxworms are quite fattening, so you should use them only as a treat.


  • Keep the waxworms at room temperature to encourage growth. Conversely, you can place the container in the refrigerator if you want to slow the waxworms’ growth cycle.

Loved by reptiles as a tasty treat and despised by beekeepers, waxworms develop in four stages: egg, larva, pupa and adult. Waxworms are surprisingly easy to raise, for use as reptile treats or as fish bait. Beekeepers abhor waxworms because the larvae invade bee hives and eat through the honeycombs, often destroying the hive.

Purchase your waxworms from a reputable mail-order bait or animal feed supplier or at an exotic pet store. You can usually buy waxworms in refrigerated tubs that contain 25 to 500 worms.

Use an escape-proof metal or glass container to house your waxworms. Waxworms are notorious escape artists, and they can chew through wood and plastic, according to

Make an “artificial honeycomb” to feed the larvae. Mix equal parts of oatmeal or bran with honey, allow the mixture to dry and harden, then break it into small chunks. Line the bottom of your container with approximately 1 inch of the chunks.

Roll wax paper into balls and add them to the container. Place the waxworms inside the container. The waxworms will tunnel into the “artificial honeycomb” chunks, eating as they go.

Watch as the waxworms grow, spin themselves into cocoons and pupate. Emerging as wax moths after two weeks, they will only live long enough to mate and lay eggs – approximately one week. The moths will lay their eggs in the wax paper balls.

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