Live Insect Care and Instructions



Cricket Care

Remove the crickets from the shipping box as soon as you get them. Keep the egg crates or partitions from within the shipping boxes to use within your own cricket container. These egg crates provide a climbing area for the crickets, allowing them to spread out, de-stress, and enjoy their new home. You can use Songbird Garden's throwaway cardboard tubes to make it easier to catch the crickets for selling. Crickets ½" and larger need to be kept in an 18-20 gallon container that is at least 15" tall. You'll need a container that's slick enough on the inside to prevent the crickets from climbing out. Also, crickets require a good amount of ventilation. If you use plastic tubs or aquariums as a cricket enclosure, don't use a lid. Remove any potato used in the shipping box. Crickets don't need bedding material; using it can actually harm their health and life span.

Ideal Temperature
The ideal temperature range is between 70°-75° F. Avoid temperatures above 80° and below 65° F. The cricket container should never be exposed to high humidity, direct sunlight, or cold drafts. Keep the container dry, and provide plenty of ventilation. Crickets shipped during cold weather might arrive looking dead; just release them into the container and allow them 3-4 hours to warm up. Cold temperatures can cause them to become dormant, but a few hours at room temperature usually perks them right up.

Food and Water
Always make fresh Cricket Power Food and Easy Water available in shallow containers (like our Easy Water Tray). Keep no more than a two-day supply in the container at any time, replacing the supply of food and water every two days. Following this rule will decrease your cricket mortality rate. Never mix the Power Food and Easy Water together. Avoid fruits, vegetables, or a bowl of water, which can cause bacteria growth, increased mortality, and a bad smell.

Keeping the cricket container clean will ensure a longer, healthier life for your crickets, and will allow you to keep them on the sales floor for maximum profit. To clean the container, remove any dead crickets, shed skins, and waste material. Wash the container out with hot water (you can also use a very mild bleach solution) between cricket shipments. Thoroughly rinse the container and allow it to dry before adding a new batch of crickets. Never expose your crickets or cricket container to any kind of pesticides or cleaning solution other than a mild bleach solution.


Fruit Fly Care

Timberline fruit flies can be stored in the plastic tubes they're shipped in. Simply remove the plastic cap and to improve air flow into the vial. You can then remove the foam plugs when you want to dispense flies

Ideal Temperature
Flies should be kept at or near room temperature. Although the temperature is not critical, cool temperatures will slow fly production and warm temperatures will result in bacteria and mold growth in the medium.

Keep at least half of the flies in the vial for reproduction purposes for several days after you receive them. In most cases, several generations of flies will be produced over the five to six weeks that the medium will last. At room temperature, Drosophila melanogaster will complete a life cycle in 12 to 15 days. It takes about 25 days for Hydei sturdivant.


Standard and Giant Mealworm Care
Ideal Temperature, Storage and Maintenance

Mealworms purchased in cups should be stored in the refrigerator (a range of 38°-50° F). Mealworms purchased in bulk require a bit of prep work before they're stored in the refrigerator. Bulk mealworms are shipped in a mesh bag or box containing egg crate and potato slice. The potato slice is there to provide food and moisture for the mealworms while they are in transit. This potato slice should be discarded when you are ready to move your mealworms to their new home. The mealworms need to be transferred into a plastic container (the quantity of worms determines the size of your container). If your container has a lid, it will need several aeration holes. Fill the container with about 3/4" of mealworm bedding, then 3/4" of shredded newspaper or egg crate, add the worms, then layer another 3/4" of bedding on top.  Add a fresh slice of potato or apple on the top layer of the bedding (2-3" or more in length depending on container size).  

Mealworms can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks with very little maintenance, but can last for several weeks if you routinely follow a few simple steps: 

Every 5-7 days the mealworms should be removed from the refrigerator, and a fresh slice of potato/apple or a small amount of Easy Water should be added to the top of the bedding.  This provides food and moisture for the mealworms to survive.  NEVER allow the potato or apple slices to get moldy in the container!  This could spell disaster for your mealworms. Let the mealworm container sit out on the counter at room temperature for about 5-7 hours or so. This will allow the mealworms enough time to "wake up" and become more active so that they can consume food and water.  This is also a good time to remove any mealworms you would like to use to feed wild birds or pets. The mealworm bedding is their food source. The potato or apple slices and Easy Water is there to provide both food and moisture. After you have let the mealworms sit at room temperature for several hours, remove any remaining Easy Water and place the worms back in the refrigerator. Repeat this process on a weekly schedule and your mealworm supply can last for several weeks.

Bedding For Mealworms:  Songbird Garden has mealworm bedding available for purchase.  This is the same grain based bedding material that we use at our production farm.  It is 100% natural and provides mealworms with all the nutrients they need to survive and remain healthy. You can also make your own bedding simply by using corn meal, wheat bran and/or oatmeal and follow the instructions above. 


Superworm Care
Ideal Temperature, Storage and Maintenance

Superworms are tropical insects that require warmer temperatures than standard/giant mealworms. Superworms' ideal temperature range is 70°- 80° F. Cupped superworms can be stored in the cups for up to two weeks. Bulk superworms will be shipped in a box with egg crate. Store your superworms in a plastic container between two layers of mealworm bedding (2" on bottom and 1/2" on top). Good container guidelines for a superworm container include dimensions about twice that of a shoebox, at least six inches tall, without a lid, and of sturdy plastic construction. (Small cat pans usually work well.) Add a small amount of Easy Water every other day to provide moisture for the worms. Depending on the quantity of superworms, fresh bedding should be added every week to two weeks to maintain the 2 ½" layers. Plan on completely replacing the bedding every three to four weeks.


Waxworm Care
Ideal Temperature, Storage and Maintenance

Waxworms can be stored for a couple of weeks if kept at 50-60° F. This is the ideal temperature for waxworms; however, most refrigerators are colder than this. Often, the butter tray on the door of your refrigerator is the best place to find this ideal temperature. It's better to keep waxworms at room temp with low humidity than it is to store them in a refrigerator that is colder than 40° F in its warmest area. Cupped waxworms should be stored in their cup. They have entered a stage in their life cycle where they no longer consume food. They are living off the fat supplies in their bodies. This means you'll see them growing smaller the longer you keep them. Always remove any dead (black) wax worms from the container. It's extremely important that they be stored in low humidity.

Our bulk waxworms are shipped overnight in our standard heavy, ventilated screened boxes without bedding. The bedding material is not necessary in overnight shipping; however, we highly recommend as soon as you receive your bulk shipment that you transfer the waxworms into smaller 100-250 count cups or containers with ventilated lids.  Add a 1"-2" layer of sawdust or wood shavings (aspen or pine shavings) to the bottom of the container then transfer the worms.  Aspen or pine shavings is the same material used to line hamster cages.  You can find this material at any pet supply store.  The bedding material wicks off any moisture that may develop inside trhe container and can help keep your waxworms in storage longer.  If the bedding becomes moist lids should be removed to allow moisture to escape, or replace the bedding.