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 Mealworm Beetles

Hey all,

Ive been feeding my tree frogs large mealworms for a couple of months and whilst doing this some didnt get eaten and remained in the tank, over time they changed into mealworm beetles, my question is.. Are these safe for the frogs to eat? they give off a stink when they are scared (and probably when being eaten) so i just wanted to check if anyone has any info on them.

I figured that they should be ok, since it would be silly them being sold as food and the beetles being dangerous to the frogs. I just redone my tank (doing a new fancy background) so ive taken all of them out just incase. Im probably going to start feeding them in a secure environment from now on since the plants are getting wreaked mealworms/crickets :/

Look forward to your responses,


10/03/07  03:10pm


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  Message To: Chett2001   In reference to Message Id: 1466247

 Mealworm Beetles

Not in high quantities. They lose all nutritional value, although mealworms really don’t have that much, and can cause impaction via their hard exoskeleton. A few should be fine, if accidentally ingested, but I wouldn’t recommend feeding them as a staple.


10/03/07  07:30pm


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  Message To: Chett2001   In reference to Message Id: 1466247

 Mealworm Beetles

can o worms are good though

ive stick fed mine can o crickets and can o worms
and he eats

10/03/07  09:55pm


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  Message To: Mampam   In reference to Message Id: 1466683

 Mealworm Beetles

any mealworm either can or live are not good for WTF......... They are high in fat which isn’t good and the shell can also cause impaction.......... For captive WTF frogs the best food is crickets

10/03/07  10:45pm


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  Message To: Froggy&Gribbit   In reference to Message Id: 1466746

 Mealworm Beetles

Are you sure these are mealworms not king worms or super worms?... I only ask as I have never found any smell with the mealies.... I use them solely for my gecko though.
When do you notice this smell?

Just to be sure..meal worms are the worms under 1 inch basically..the smallest of them all for feeders...

For your frogs you can offer a wax worm, butter worm, pheonix worm......all soft bodied worms are acceptable however many frogs don’t take them as they don’t move quick enough... Best way is to buy one or two and try them...

I use none, only crickets...This is my preference .....


10/04/07  12:37am


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  Message To: Hoppy   In reference to Message Id: 1466873

 Mealworm Beetles

Thanks for the replies but you have all missed the point,

I mean the Beetle form of the very large mealworms called which is indeed known as the superworm, i feed them mostly on crickets, superworms, normal ones and the ocasional pinkie but lets not get into a debate on whats best for feeding the frogs i know and try to keep their diet as varied as possible. My big question is are the superworm beetles safe for frogs to be eating?

Picture of a Superworm Beetle:


10/04/07  05:22am


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  Message To: Chett2001   In reference to Message Id: 1466958

 Mealworm Beetles

I know you don’t want a debate over feeding issues, however superworms in worm or beetle form is risky to feed your frogs.. NO matter the species of frog though I’m presuming yours are Whites?

Many members feed mealies, wax, pheonix, butter, flys, grasshoppers, crickets...even occassional pinkies....

Ants, spiders or most beetle forms....The pincers and hard shells are the issues... The argument being that the worms have the shell too and crickets are not exactly soft...

For consideration though..... What would they naturally eat.....Worms would not be in their diet... Most of these worms the frogs ignore..hence the reason they changed to a beetle.. Worms on a whole stay hidden or below ground or in wood etc...places that frogs generally wouldn’t cross over....

Though the stores sell them for food....consider this... They also sell reptile bark for frogs....frogs in mixed species tanks..... They are in the market to make money....

The choice remains yours as far as feeding housing and overall responsibility..
As a person who studies amphibian health I can tell you that worms eating through the stomach of amphibians is not uncommon even in some geckos with super or king worms. A friend of mine lost his 3 geckos to super worms.... In fact I could get him to post here on this issue if you would like?..

Geckos supposedly bite the food so injure or kill beforehand but super and king worms are still issues if only injured. Even for small geckos like leopards I only say mealies be given....

Frogs digest their food whole...worms are survivors and some even bite vital organs or through them...
The stomach acid does kill most insects eaten but when large quantity is given is when the issues arise mostly...

Mealies has not been proven to chew through the stomach...but impaction on hard shells is an e-mail I constantly get with people needing help on this issue... Stores telling parents of kids that they only need mealies and no crix for the frog they just purchased... a mess...

This is not a debate... Only an education for those wondering what to feed their frogs...

If anyone has questionable consideration of super worms.... Try picking one up and see if the bite is strong enough for you...Most mealies won’t bite where as the supers and kings give a nasty pinch....


10/04/07  08:49am


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  Message To: Hoppy   In reference to Message Id: 1467024

 Mealworm Beetles

My feeding ratio is proberbly something like this:

Crickets 65% (3 different sizes)
Superworms 17%
Waxies 12%
Other 6%

My tank has 8 whites all of which ive had for over a year and a half (all very healthy) and i find that this varied diet is best for them, its slightly irritating that you’ve gone completely off topic here and no ones really given me a straight answer about whether the mealworm beatles are irritant/inedible to them.

I understand this is a debate that SOME people in this forum might need to hear so lets just say you have made your point, as for the examples you have given.. It seems that your over hyping how dangerous these superworms are to large whites, eating through a stomach isnt like biting through a paper bag if ive been feeding them 1-2 at a time every now and then for over a year and a half then how comes all my frogs arnt dead?!

The worms have remained hidden simply because they do burrow as soon as they hit the soil, if they were like crickets and stayed on the surface then im sure they wouldnt have had the chance to turn into beatles its nothing to do with the frogs not wanting them or ignoring them. As for your friends gecko’s i would say that they are MUCH more susceptible to that kind of trouble, since they attack the worms and harm them it will make it a lot more likely for them to start biting around in the stomach because they are in pain, whites dont, meal worms arnt incredibly bright so my guess is they sit in the stomach oblivious to whats going on until the acid kills them. Take a superworm (mine are about 1 and a half inches) put it in your hand and squeze it you will be surprised that it does nothing but try and escape and uses its pincers only as leverage when it cant grab anything with its claws, it is far from as you describe when you said "try picking one up... [they] give a nasty pinch". As for impaction they arnt exactly made of rock, people complaining to you (via forums?) about impaction proberbly have chip bark or small stones in their tank and decided to blame it on the mealworms.

As you said, if shops are recomending that frogs ONLY eat mealworms then they dont deserve your custom, and if your not doing enough research on the pets your buying then you dont deserve to have them. They proberbly only say it because mothers who go with their sons to the local garden center hate the idea of crickets escaping into the house so the sales person just says they can live off mealworms. So in summary your point is made but the scare mongering/wrap your pets up in cotton wool is going over the top.


10/06/07  05:29pm


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  Message To: Chett2001   In reference to Message Id: 1469606

 Mealworm Beetles

I just thought I’d give you my opinion about the question you asked: I have fed my largest white’s tree frog, Crisco, the giant mealworm beetles before, (superworms are different than giant mealies, and so a different, actuallly slightly softer beetle, though a fair comparison with giant mealworm beetles) and she pretty much poo’d most of the beetle out, the hard black elytra(wing part of the beetle) still looked like it did when it was attached to the beetle, and there were lots of little black beetle parts along with that (it was in the water where it was easy to see).
I feed superworms to my larger frogs, also probably about 15% of the time like you do, they also get waxworms and the very occassional pinky, and also the occassional earthworm/nightcrawler (have you ever given yours those? They seem to love them though it does tend to give them a runny poop the next day) Anyways, I figure it isn’t really worth givin ’em the beetles b/c they aren’t very nutritious, it’s just some more variety for them, and they do seem to be much less digestible. I have to assume it would be possible for them to become impacted if they ate a bunch of the beetles, so I’d never give more than one at a time. I know toads eat plenty of beetles in the wild...
I’ve never worried about the myth that worms can eat through a lizard or frogs stomach, after much debate, reading, and more importantly, experience, I consider it to be nonsense and even an urban legend of sorts...

so that’s my opinion, and I just took it from my similar experince, hope that helped answer your question!


10/07/07  09:13pm


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  Message To: Chett2001   In reference to Message Id: 1466247

 Mealworm Beetles

My gosh instead of getting ready for a fight read the info you are given.

No beetles are not good for the frogs...........
The risk of impaction is there.
There is little nutritious value as well and it isn’t a natural food source...........

Man!!!! people think they are so clever introducing variety into an animals diet regardless of whether or not it is a natural food source............
I think that animals know what they heck they were designed to eat............
We stick them in a cage and shove food at them and figure since it eats the only food source that is there then all is well!!!!

10/07/07  09:30pm


Reptile King77
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  Message To: Froggy&Gribbit   In reference to Message Id: 1470892

 Mealworm Beetles

Ok now I’m not going to read anything on here as this is not a regular forum that interests me. By the looks of it there is a lot to read and at this moment I don’t have the time. I was sent a message to tell about this story so if I do not post back in response it is because I forgot I even posted here as I do not come here unless Christine asks me to.

Anyways this is what she wanted me to tell about so here we go. Now this happened about a year ago or more but here is what I can still remember which is most of it.

My best friend Matt had 3 leopard geckos he put king sized meal worms in with them when we went out and when we got back 2 of them had died from internal bleeding and the other lived. It was the mealworms that caused it and about 8 months later the other one died as its heart as was not working right from the attack. Now I don’t remember what all happened as I try to forget that sick sight of what those mealworms did to them but I rarely ever feed any mealworm unless I have to. Even the smaller ones bit at least all the ones in Ontario that I have seen have pincers so there not my favourite to use. I have seen similar cases with frogs but none had anything to do with me so I wouldn’t be able to tell you about it. Christine I hope that is what you were looking for and that that is the right thing to post but I just came here to try and educate you guys on what mealworms can do and I know tree frogs have one of the weakest stomachs.

10/08/07  12:02am


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  Message To: Reptile King77   In reference to Message Id: 1471057

 Mealworm Beetles

hey chett, i

m still new to the whole tree frog scene, but i do have experience with lizards, and i feed mealies and supers as my staple diet, and i see the beetles in the tanks all the time, most of the time my lizards never mess with them so im not too sure about the eating thing, but i doubt it would be too god for them. they are kinda hard. but on the other hand, im sure my lizards have eaten a few and the’re still fine. i usualy just leave the beetles in my tanks...they are kinda fun to watch and they eat the poo in it. as for the smell, ive never experienced that, but im sure it probably isnt good for them either, seeing as how thats probably a defense. well there ya go. see there guys, that did not take all of that argueing and negativity. i answered his question to the best of my ability and never got angry with it. there are too many negative vibes on this site.

10/08/07  12:37am


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  Message To: C-mack   In reference to Message Id: 1471107

 Mealworm Beetles

Another thing to consider, if these worms/beetles do not break down inside the frog it can cause prolapse and then you have another problem to deal with. It may not happen right away, but with in time it could.
Just a thought.

10/08/07  07:42am


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  Message To: Whitie   In reference to Message Id: 1471217

 Mealworm Beetles

Thanks for the on-topic responces finally,

Just to recap my question was if the beetles are ’safe’ to eat, as in are they dangerous (inherently, in terms of poisonous) or iritant (they are certainly irritant to my cat when he sniffs one that has been bothered, he screws his nose up and narrows his eyes :D). As i also said they are all out of my tank, i am NOT actively feeding the beetles to my frogs but if there in the tank i need to check that all possible eventualities are covered.

Maybe some people misconstrued this as a question about diet where it simply wasnt and if i seemed abrasive i apologise but it felt like people were jumping at the chance to lecture me about things that were completely off topic.

10/10/07  09:19am


Reptile King77
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  Message To: Chett2001   In reference to Message Id: 1473684

 Mealworm Beetles

I know for sure that no reptile should have mealworm beetles, some people think yes but the people that are good to there reptiles do NOT feed them to them.

Now when I housed frogs I never fed them mealworm beetles. Are they safe to eat? They are pretty hard shelled for a tree frog. Most tree frogs are pretty small to be eating something that big and hard shelled. I wouldn’t feed them to your frogs. As for them being poisonous no but when they are beetles there is very little good left in them nutrition wise and I don’t think there worth feeding for that more bad then good in these bugs. Now another think that isn’t good is that beetles do bit and can bite the predator that may not eat them right away.

10/10/07  09:08pm


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  Message To: Reptile King77   In reference to Message Id: 1474432

 Mealworm Beetles

There are common names given in Canada and USA for the worms....super in Canada is like king worm in Usa..there is a giant too.... Use latin names to verify for ordering etc or in discussions....

Apparantly you felt I didn’t cover the beetle issue so I thought this may be of interest to you..............

Any larger than the normal one inch mealie should not be fed to frogs in worm or beetle form... Even these should be for occassional if any at all...

A varied diet is an optimal choice.... Feeding a frog foods not associated to their diet is not a wise choice regardless of bodied type insect.

Impaction issues, prolapse, infection, are not imaginary issues. I deal with these on a daily basis...

Whites will eat the kitchen sink if allowed...

When feeding worms if your going to do so try soft bodied...much safer....Never the beetle form.

Its personal preference for sure most worms are a maggot/larvae form.... A soft tissued bodied amphibian to me is a risk with worms...

Many fly maggots can burrow into skin or tissues.... Do you honestly think that all stomach acid kills them?

Interesting Behaviors of darkling beetle (tenebrio or regular meal worm in beetle form)..

When disturbed, some beetles (genus Eleodes)assume a defensive posture in which they stand on their head and release chemicals from a scent gland in the rear that produces noxious odors and turns skin brown. Mealworms prefer darkness and to have their body in contact with an object.

The three informed....................

Three species of mealworm are used to feed a variety of pets and wild birds, and it is easy to breed your own.
Mealworms are not worms at all; they are the larvae of three different species of Darkling Beetle. The one we are most familiar with is Tenbrio molitor the Mealworm Beetle, but mini-mealworms (Tenebrio obscurus) and ‘superworms’ (Zophobas morio) are very similar creatures. The adult (image) is one of about 350,000 described species of beetle, and it is estimated that there may be more than 5 million other species still awaiting classification.


Beetles have always been a favourite of entomologists, second only to the butterflies and moths. Their hard wing-cases makes the dead specimens simple to store and display and their relatively large size makes them easy to see and catch. It is thought that about 40% of all insects are beetles, so there are certainly plenty to collect. Beetles were one of Charles Darwin’s earliest obsessions, and there is a charming story of him strolling around the Pampas of S America and finding two new species of beetle – one for each hand – then finding a third and popping it into his mouth for safe transport back to HMS Beagle!

Mealworms for pets

Mealworms, also known as Golden Worms or Yellow Worms, are used to supplement the diet of insectivorous pets. They are suitable for most reptiles and amphibians, as well as many birds – wild and captive.
Superworms are used for the larger birds, and mini-mealworms are given to young animals or the smaller species of lizard. The smaller worms are also used to feed predatory insects and spiders when these are kept as pets!

Breeding mealworms

Mealworms can be purchased from pet stores, but they are also very easy to breed at home. All you need is a suitable container, food in the form of flour or cereals and, or course, a few mealworms. The RSPB (in the UK) has a good website with detailed instructions about how to breed your own mealworms. There is very little to it – but one word of caution – some people develop an allergic reaction to mealworms if they spend to long in their vicinity. This usually takes the form of an ‘asthma-like’ attack, but can also lead to skin problems. If this happens then get rid of the mealworms immediately!


10/10/07  11:21pm

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