Waxworms do not need to be refrigerated. They can be kept safely at room temperature without any issue.
The reason why some animal keepers opt to keep their wax worms in the refrigerator is to slow down their lifecycle.
Wax worms will eventually turn into a pupa, at which point they normally lose their appeal to most insect-eating animals. It’s not hard to see why; a wax worm that has pupated stops wriggling around, and it’s this motion that normally attracts attention to them.
So if you only have one or two pets that you are feeding wax worms to then refrigerating them may actually prove to be a good move. It’ll keep them fresher for longer, ensuring they don’t turn into pupae too soon.
That said, some authorities claim that domestic fridges get too cold for wax worms. Far from slowing down their development, the cold temperature in a fridge might actually kill the wax worms. Placing them in a cooler room might therefore be a less extreme alternative to using a refrigerator.
However if you have more pets (so you’ll use more wax worms) or you just dislike the idea of keeping wax worms in your fridge then keeping them at ambient temperatures is absolutely fine.
How Do You Know If Wax Worms Are Alive?
Live wax worms are pretty active. They wriggle and crawl about. I use wax worms to feed some of my lizards. When I pull the individual wax worms out of the container and place them into the food bowl you can see them moving around quite obviously.
The one thing to be aware of here is that wax worms are cold blooded. This means that the colder they are, the slower they move. If your wax worms have been subjected to cold temperatures for a while then they may need to warm up before they start moving around. So don’t just throw out any non-moving wax worms. Instead, warm them up and then decide whether they’re suitable for feeding.
Generally a dead wax worm will change color. They’ll turn a darker color, maybe even turning almost brown. Their soft exoskeleton also means they dry out quite quickly, so they’ll look dry and crispy, and likely won’t have the same “filled out” look of a healthy waxworm.
Can You Feed Wax Worm Pupae To Your Pets?
It is perfectly safe to feed a wax worm pupa to your pets. However, whether your pet will eat the pupa is another matter. Wax worm pupae tend to be crispy rather than juicy, and of course they don’t move around like the larvae.
Most insect-eaters like to see their prey moving. I know my geckos certainly do. A pupae stuck in with them will elicit no interest at all.
I have found, however, that some rodents will happily scoff wax worm pupae if given. So that’s where most of mine end up going.
Will My Pet Eat Wax Worm Moths?
Wax worm moths are safe to eat for most animals. Like the pupae, though, they may not have the same level of appeal for your pet. What’s more, handling live moths isn’t always the most fun job around.
How to Warm Up Wax Worms
Wax worms that have gotten too cold won’t be very active. If you’ve refrigerated your wax worms then you’ll want to give them suitable time to warm up before giving them to your pets.
This is simple enough to do. Simply get them out of the fridge and leave them in a warm room for half an hour or so. You’ll soon see their activity levels increasing, at which point they can be offered to your pet.
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