Superworms are a strong source of nutrition for many lizards and birds, and they are vulnerable to certain environmental elements, making ordering in bulk and caring for a small colony at home almost mandatory, during certain times of the year especially. As an added bonus, this will save you a ton on shipping costs!
In order to help you maintain your dragon’s health by having a healthy protein source readily available year-round, you will find helpful information in forming and maintaining a superworm colony below.
Heat and extreme cold can kill superworms so shipping in the summertime is impossible and should be held at a pickup center rather than left to the elements at your address if there are extreme temperatures in wintertime. If you want to keep your dragon fully-stocked no matter the weather, order small (3/4”) worms in bulk in the fall and spring so that they have the longest life expectancy possible (up to 6 months with proper care and handling as outlined below).
Setting Up For Your Superworm Colony
Box or Container
Depending upon how many dragons you are feeding and how often, you will need a box big enough to ensure comfortable habitation for your colony. Here at the Atomic Lizard Ranch, we use two types of boxes, both plastic and available at Target or Walmart. For a single dragon, a smaller box should be more than sufficient. Our smaller box is 9” x 14” x 6”. * The larger box is 21” x 14” x 6”. *
If you need to cover your superworm colony to keep it safe from children, pets, or other predators, remember to keep it well-ventilated. Here at the Atomic Lizard Ranch, we cut out most of the tops that come with the containers, leaving enough of the original lid to ensure proper clamping to the containers; we then purchase window screening and staple it over the opening with a staple gun.
*Note, both of these boxes are 6” deep – optimally, the box should be 6” or 8” deep and smooth sided to prevent the superworms from escaping.
Bedding, Food and Water Placement
For bedding, put a 1-2” layer of peat moss (available in most garden centers in various sizes of bags up to a bale) down across the entire bottom of the box. 1/3 of this bedding at one end will be reserved for watering with the other 2/3 designated for food. It is important to keep these areas separate and monitor moisture daily to prevent mold, another killer in a superworm colony. Lightly pour 1/2-3/4C of water into the end reserved for watering (use less or more as you monitor the moisture level). The area designated for food will remain dry and the superworms will be able to travel naturally between food and water.
*Note: The container that will be used to transport worms from the colony to the lizard can sit on top of this layer but make sure it is not sitting on the wet end.
Caring For Your Superworm Colony
The superworms will eat the peat moss except for the wood chips and turn it into frass or worm castings, which will will discuss further later on. They also like firm, moisture-rich, meaty vegetables best – shredded carrots, squash, cucumbers, radishes, romain ribs, etc. They do not like and will not do well eathing acidic foods like tomatoes or citrus fruits. Keep these foods away from the water end and monitor them for potential mold as this will kill your colony fast and stinky. If it seems bad, get rid of it.
*Note: This is not a complete list of good/bad food. Keep in mind, if the animal eating these superworms can’t have something, it is not recommended that you give it to your superworms either.
Cleaning Superworm Breeder Box
Once the superworms consume most of the peat moss, you will notice the texture of the bedding has changed and looks more granular, like bread yeast. This means it is time to remove the worms and clean the bedding, replenishing with fresh peat and water.
*Note: I use these worm castings in my garden, lightly sprinkling them with the granules, keeping in mind too much will burn your plants. These castings can also be added to an existing compost, enriching it with proteins some vegetables need to thrive. If you don’t have a garden, sprnkle it lightly on your grass or anywhere you want something to grow better.