Peanut Beetle Care Sheet

COMMON NAME: Peanut Beetle
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Palembus dermestoides
SIZE: Larvae-  ¾”  Adult beetle-  1/8”
PRIMARY USE:    Larvae are used by tropical fish keepers, bird keepers, and reptile keepers.
VALUE: The full sized larvae are used as a feeder insect to geckos  ranging between 3-6”.  They are easily kept alive and are extremely prolific breeders (200 eggs/female), flightless and cannot crawl up smooth surfaces.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE: Larvae-  55% crude protein, 18% fat.  P. dermestoides is a kind of insect resource with high protein, low fat, diverse amino acids and lots of minerals and trace elements compared with a normal protein resource.
 LIFE CYCLE: @ 82 degrees F-  Egg: 1-2 weeks, Larvae: 2 months.  Pupae: 7 days,  Adults: 20 months
SETUP: Either a small (sandwich box) or a large (storage bin) container can be used depending on your need.   Use an ice pick to add several small holes in the top, or better, screen off a section of the top for ventilation and to keep out other bugs.
Start with a substrate of oats or wheat bran of ½”.  Add about 1” of unsalted peanuts.  The beetles need the amino acids from the peanuts.
TEMPERATURE:                 While the beetles will survive and breed in temperatures between 70-90, they  do best  if kept between 70 and 75 degrees.
FEEDING BEETLES: The beetles will sustain on the substrate and the peanuts but for optimal results, include fruits and vegetables.  Remove when dried out or any mold begins to appear.
HARVESTING: Place a napkin or small piece of paper in the container, then a piece of fruit/vegetable on top.  Leave for a couple hours.  Then, take the paper off, place in another container, and gently scrape the bugs off.  You will find both beetles and larvae in the mix and will need to separate. 
FEEDING: Use a smooth sided (glass or plastic) container- see photo below.  The container should be tall enough to contain the worms but not so tall that the animals cannot get to the worms. Place a small amount of calcium at the bottom.  This will both benefit the animals and will help keep the worms in the container.  Only place enough worms in the container that the animals will eat in a day or so.  Any longer and the worms will start losing nutritional value.
CLEANING: As the culture matures, frass will eventually overtake the culture and demand a cleaning. Use a sieve to separate it from the bugs and substrate.  Put the bugs and substrate in a new setup (new substrate and peanuts).   Put the frass in a plastic bag, freeze it, and then dispose of the bag.   
WARNING: Consumption of the beetles has been noted to cause fatalities in some lizards such as anoles.

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