Superworms are among the most nutritious feeder insects that individuals feed on and pet owners use to provide food to their reptile pets, such as bearded dragons, lizards, and turtles. Therefore, individuals are more interested in buying and breeding superworms for their diet and pets. This has left many people questioning whether superworms can bite to ensure they are safe for themselves and their pets.
Superworms can bite both humans and pets like bearded dragons. They also have a pin at their tails similar to a scorpion which they use to attack with as well. However, superworms aren’t poisonous and their bites aren’t damaging to humans and pets alike. Use gloves and tongs to avoid their bites.
Can Superworms Bite?
Superworms have a reputation for biting. Superworms can bite humans and pet reptiles. Large superworms pinch human skin, leaving a purplish mark, or they can slowly drain blood from the reptile’s thin skin. Superworm beetles may peck your hand, but they do not appear capable of piercing human or reptile skin.
It is best to be cautious when feeding superworms to small and juvenile reptiles. However, superworms are unlikely to chew through live flesh but have been reported to chew through reptiles’ stomachs making reptiles die before they are digested.
If you want to avoid superworm bites to your reptile pets like leopard geckos, it would be best to crush their head just before feeding them to your pet with the help of soft reptile feeding tongs. However, crushing their head may alter the reptile’s feeding response.
Does a Superworm Bite Hurt?
Superworms bites hurt your reptile pets, making them uncomfortable. However, their bites do not harm humans since it feels like mild discomfort. Overfed superworms will have more painful bites on your pet. They can chew the pin-sized holes in their storage containers, making them large enough to get their way out.
Do Superworms Have Stingers?
Superworms have two tiny stingers. However, if you catch them by their head using tweezers, they are left defenseless, and they won’t bite or sting.
Are Superworms Poisonous to Humans?
Superworms are not poisonous to humans when they bite or are eaten. However, their bites with firm mandibles can cause a significant threat to pets. This can be prevented by crushing their apex.
Can Superworms Hurt My Bearded Dragon?
Superworms can be fed to mature bearded dragons that have entered adulthood. But most suitably, young superworms are safer for your beardie. Mature superworms will attempt to bite the lizard’s eye with its sharp stingers.
Some people believe that superworms will chew the bearded dragon’s stomach if not well crushed. However, this is not true since the stomach acid instantly kills if they are not already dead from your beardie’s chewing. Therefore, you should not worry about this terrifying scenario.
Although superworms tend to be aggressive when fed to bearded dragons, this should not be an issue as you can comfortably supervise your beardie during the feeding time to ensure no major biting from the worms. Alternatively, you can crush the feeder insect’s head before feeding them if you are comfortable with the act, but it’s not essential.
Common Feeder Insects and Whether they Bite
|Insect||Does it bite?|
|Black soldier fly larvae||No|
How to Feed Superworms to Bearded Dragons
Feeding superworms to bearded dragons is just like any other insect. You can comfortably use feeder tongs to place them in the feeding bowl. Alternatively, you can place them a few inches away from the beardie so that they can try chasing them.
It is important to dust and gut-load superworms due to their slick exoskeleton to make them nutritious before feeding your pet. Gut loading involves providing the feeder insect with greens and vegetables 24 hours before feeding them to your pet.
On the other hand, dusting is done just before feeding your pet with the feeder insect by sprinkling a calcium supplement on the insect. This is done to ensure that your pet gets all the required nutrients when feeding.
You can also attract your bearded dragon to eat greens using superworms. Place a live superworm on the vegetables to attract your beardie to eat them. If your beardie is juvenile, it is recommended to feed a superworm after a nutritious meal as a treat, so they do not become too selective to choose the high-fat content superworms as their meal.
Since superworms tend to bite, it would be best to wear gloves or use tweezers when handling them. Also, you should avoid putting them in a loose substrate, as these active worms can quickly burrow into it and cause problems for your beardie if you forget to remove them from their enclosure after feeding.
How to Keep Superworms for Bearded Dragons
Superworms are easy to store. Since they are a treat and not a staple food, you don’t need to worry about long-term storage arrangements. Here are some simple tips for successful superworms storage:
- Store Superworms at Normal Conditions: You should not refrigerate superworms as they will die. Instead, store them in a ventilated container at room temperature (70-80 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Ensure you store them in a spacious container with smooth sides.
- For enhanced hydration, provide potato slices or some pieces of carrot. There is no need to provide food unless you have stored the feeders for over 2 weeks. If you wish to maintain the worms for a more extended period, feed them pieces of vegetables that you would typically compost or discard such as celery stalk ends and bell pepper tops.
- To ensure the worms don’t turn into beetles, they should be stored together with adequate hydration.
- Egg crates or the bottom half of egg cartons can provide an area for the worms to crawl about in.
These ensure a steady flow of superworms for your bearded dragons and other pets. Chameleons also eat superworms and the preparation for the latter is similar to when feeding them to bearded dragons.
Can Bearded Dragons Eat Darkling Beetles?
Mature superworms will turn into darkling beetles when left alone for about 7-9 days. So, you may at times find darkling beetles in your superworms storage containers and be left wondering whether they are a healthy diet for your bearded dragon.
More mature insects like darkling beetles have high fiber and protein and less fat than superworms. Although they do not have nutritional benefits, you can feed your baby, juvenile, or adult bearded dragons with darkling beetles. Typically, bearded dragons do not like the taste of darkling beetles, so that they may end up not eating them. However, they can be an option for your beardie’s menu.
From the information above, superworms can bite humans and your reptile pets but have no harm. Also, superworms do not have any poison. Superworms have nutritional benefits to your bearded dragons, but they should be used as a treat rather than a staple food. You can comfortably feed them to your bearded dragons by handling them using gloves and tweezers.
Now, with this helpful information, you can successfully feed and store superworms to your bearded dragon confidently, without worrying about the harm they can cause.
Carolina Biological Supply Company. Superworms.
The Journal of Experimental Biology. Quantitative analysis of the effect of prey properties on feeding kinematics in two species of lizards.
The Food Insects Newsletter. The Human Use of Insects as Food in Uganda.