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The 7 Best Insects & Bugs For Bearded Dragons

Bearded dragons are great pets, but some owners may find it difficult to provide adequate nutrients for their creatures. Many owners of pet dragons believe this is because live insects are the most natural diet for these reptiles in the wild. If the thought of working with real crickets, caterpillars, grasshoppers, and the like makes you feel cold, there's an alternative.  Since BestForPets (bestforpets.org) was curious as to which of the available dried dragon foods would make men most satisfied, we bought them all in bulk. We knew which dragons liked it better, and we tried all of them.  In subsequent reviews, we'll share our results to help you provide the best insects & bugs for bearded dragons for your dragons. Hopefully, this will save you from wasting time and money on items your dragon won't eat.

Retailer's Compendium

Bearded dragons, like many other wild creatures, must find their own food in the outdoors. You, the dragon keeper, have the option of providing your pet with the same diet it would get in the wild, or you may go with a simpler option like freeze-dried or dehydrated food.

You may still give your dragon the complete insects that would make up its natural diet without having to deal with swarms of live insects.

Bearded dragons should be fed dry food.

It’s crucial to understand the advantages and disadvantages of feeding your dragon dry food before you decide on a dried insect diet to try with your dragon.

The Positive Effects of Providing Bearded Dragons with Dried Food

Feeding a bearded dragon live insects can be a major hassle, so many pet owners opt instead for dried insects. Let’s examine why it may be preferable to give your dragon dried food as opposed to live food.

Effortless to Keep On Hand

Keeping a hundred dead crickets is a lot less work than keeping ten alive, so let’s do that. This is due to the fact that maintaining a population of live insects presents a number of challenges.

However, dried insects aren’t alive anymore. They will thrive without any attention from your end. Leave them in the sack until mealtime, at which point they will eagerly consume their food.

You may not have any actual bugs in your house.

In everyday life, if you find an insect in your house, you probably will destroy it. Most of us take great pains to keep bugs out of our houses.

However, keeping a bearded dragon often necessitates the voluntary introduction of bags containing hundreds of these live pests into the home.

If those bugs manage to get away, what will happen? That sounds like it will be a great time. Just picture a dozen insects buzzing over your home. The constant chirping from a dozen different locations will drive you insane.

Unlike live insects, dried ones can’t fly away or make a noise, so they’re much easier to deal with.

Simplified Cleanup

Feeding your dragons live insects is messy for a number of reasons, not the least of which being the possibility of insects escaping into your home.

To provide your lizard with food, you must also maintain a healthy population of insects. It’s important to have access to basic necessities like food, drink, and shelter. Since bugs love to feast on any discarded fruit or food, this may quickly become a major hassle.

However, there is no maintenance for dried insects. Keep them on the shelf until it’s time to feed your dragon.

Their Diets Can Be Easily Modified

Keeping a wide variety of insects alive to offer your dragon a balanced diet can be challenging. However, if you feed your dragon a variety of dried insects, you only need to store one or two bags of bugs at a time.

In this way, you can easily provide them with a variety of foods at each meal and snack time.

Consequences of Feeding Bearded Dragons Dried Food

It’s true that there are pros and cons to everything, and feeding your bearded dragon is no exception. Dried insects may seem like a simple and easy solution when looking for food for your pet, but they come with some serious problems.

However, not all dragons thrive on dry rations.

Your dragon would never be able to discover and, more importantly, eat a freeze-dried or dehydrated bug in the wild. Many dragons might not react well to dry food because it isn’t part of their natural diet.

Not all dragons prefer dried mealworms to fresh ones; some will gladly devour the fresh kind but turn their noses up at the dry variety.

Bearded dragons, like many other species, will have unique preferences that make this an entirely subjective question. The one thing you can count on, though, is that a dragon will devour live insects.

Dried ones are a gamble; you’ll have to try them out on your dragons to find out whether they like them.

Live Food Has More Nutrients

There’s no disputing that freeze-dried and dehydrated foods can’t compare to the nutritional value of their fresh counterparts.

While they may still provide some nutrients for your dragon, the nutritional value of live insects will always be higher.

You can lessen this risk by providing your dragons with a diet that includes both fresh and dried insects. Insects are a necessary part of a dragon’s diet, although they may be a nuisance.

Dragons can be amused by hunting.

Hunting comes easily to bearded dragons. There aren’t many things people can do when they’re imprisoned. On the other hand, hunting may provide them with a terrific opportunity to receive some much-needed physical stimulation and exercise while also maintaining their strong sense of sight and hearing.

Further, most dragons find it to be a pleasurable activity. If you feed them freeze-dried food, they won’t get the chance to perfect their hunting skills.

Reviews

Best All-Around: Fluker’s 5 Star Medley Freeze-Dried Mealworms

For this list, we mostly sampled items that were offered as single insects in bulk. One alternative is Fluker’s 5-Stary Mix Freeze-Dried Mealworms, which combine several of a bearded dragon’s favorite meals into a one bite.

This mix is very nourishing since it contains three different kinds of insects that provide protein: mealworms, grasshoppers, and crickets. Your dragon won’t grow tired of the new and exciting flavors, and it will keep from becoming bored with the same old bug.

The flavor and nutritional value of these insects have been preserved by being freeze-dried and fortified with vitamins. The only issue we have is that the jar is too small. Our dragons appeared to really like this treat, so more of it would be great.

Pros

  • Nutritionally, there is a wide range of options among the many different types of prey found in nature.
  • Supplemental vitamin-rich
  • Nutritionally superior because it was freeze-dried

Cons

  • Packaging is a little jar

Affordable Adult Bearded Dragon Food: Fluker’s Buffet Blend

We recommend Fluker’s Buffet Blend Adult Bearded Dragon Food if you find entire insects, even freeze-dried, too much for your dragon, or if you’re seeking for a tiny healthy snack that you can easily add to the other meals your dragon is already consuming. You can feed your dragon a full and healthy meal for a relatively low price with this option.

The combination of ingredients, including mealworms and crickets, ensures that this diet is rich in all the necessary vitamins and minerals.

With a minimum of 29% crude protein, it’s easy to understand why we think these are some of the best insects and bugs for bearded dragons for the money.

Each dragon will have its own tastes, and some of ours opted not to consume this combination. Granted, they’re among of our pickiest eaters, to begin with.

However, we should mention that this wasn’t the dragons’ favorite diet, even if the majority of them performed well on it.

Pros

  • Affordable to the average person.
  • It’s a well-rounded and nutritious supper.
  • Packed with health-promoting ingredients

Cons

  • There are some dragons that don’t appreciate them.

Mealworms, the Premium Choice for Reptiles, from Zilla

Zilla’s Reptile Munchies Mealworms are an excellent choice if you want to feed your dragon whole insects but don’t want them to wiggle around.

Keep your dragon in tiptop shape with the help of these dried mealworms, which are loaded with protein and other essential elements.

With over four ounces of dried mealworms, this box should last for a long time. Although these mealworms are more expensive than some of the alternatives we tried, they provide good value for the money because you get a bigger number.

Because of their natural composition and the nutritional value they give, we feel good about feeding these worms to our dragons.

They don’t need to be kept cool, so they’re convenient to stockpile. However, not every one of our dragons was eager to chow down on these worms.

Pros

  • Offers the nutritional value of whole mealworms
  • We expect the large bag to be useful for quite some time.
  • Absolutely nothing added, nothing taken away
  • Freezing is not necessary.

Cons

  • Not all dragons cared.

Black soldier fly larvae on TradeKing

It’s true that crickets, mealworms, and grasshoppers are the most often used insects for bearded dragon diets, but it’s far from being an exhaustive list.

In addition to satisfying your dragon’s normal dietary requirements, TradeKing’s Black Soldier Fly Larvae provide it with a tasty and novel treat.

The larvae of the black soldier fly have a greater calcium content than those of other insects. They are a great source of the protein and fiber your dragon need.

If you’re worried that your dragon might not like this new treat, you can rest assured knowing that the manufacturer backs the package with a full refund if he or she doesn’t.

Black soldier fly larvae are more expensive than other feeds for bearded dragons. This one is pricey, but it comes in a big bag that should keep your dragon well-fed for a while.

Dragons would likely begin eating it more frequently if the price were reduced.

Pros

  • Very rich in calcium
  • Assured refunds
  • Presents Itself in Greater Quantities

Cons

  • A higher initial investment compared to similar meals

Try Some Dehydrated Crickets

The Hatortempt Dried Crickets, available in a convenient five-pound bag, will provide your dragon with a steady diet for the foreseeable future if you shop for pet supplies in bulk.

However, it is only available in bulk quantities, so if you need a smaller supply, you’ll need to go elsewhere.

The initial outlay is higher because of the increased amount of these crickets. You may save money in the long run by shopping in bulk because the cost per serving is lower and you won’t have to worry about running out of food.

For the sake of our dragons’ health, we prefer to feed them entire insects, such as Hatortempt Dried Crickets. However, five pounds of crickets will take quite some time to eat through, and they will need to be stored carefully for that duration.

We would buy them more often if they came in smaller quantities of a pound or two. It’s a tad excessive to weigh five pounds.

Pros

  • Available in massive quantities
  • Superb price-to-serving ratio
  • Offers all the advantages of a diet rich in whole bugs

Cons

  • More costly compared to alternate choices
  • Irreducible Minimum Order Quantity

Freeze-Dried Grasshoppers from Sequoia

For larger bearded dragons, grasshoppers might be a good alternative to crickets or mealworms because of their greater size.

Grasshoppers aren’t the best option for younger animals, but they can make feeding adults easier because you won’t need to supply nearly as many of them as you would with other insects.

For convenience, these grasshoppers have been freeze-dried. They are still intact, so your dragon may get all the beneficial elements, such fiber, that a live grasshopper provides.

Naturally, there are cheaper ways to provide your dragon with fiber and other nutrients than by feeding it grasshoppers. It costs extra both to buy the bug food and to feed it to your dragon because of how little you get.

Pros

  • The freeze-drying process makes storage convenient.
  • Benefits of entire grasshoppers are provided.
  • High in fiber and other healthy nutrients

Cons

  • Compared to alternatives, it’s somewhat pricey
  • Compared to other other alternatives, this one has a much higher cost per serving.

Dive for the Crickets

Whole, dried insects from Diig that your dragon will love. They are completely unprocessed and kept fresh in a sealed plastic bag.

They may be securely stored for up to a year, giving your dragon access to every last bit of nourishment that each cricket has to offer.

These dried crickets weren’t as well received as the others we’ve tried. Our dragons clearly didn’t care for them. Those who did not refuse them were in the minority.

After getting a better look, we start to wonder whether the foul stench has something to do with it. These crickets had an unpleasant odor, far more so than the ones we’ve provided to our dragons.

We were also taken aback by how expensive the Diig Dried Crickets were per serving. Bags of these insects cost three times as much as other types of insects we tried, yet you only receive eight ounces.

You can buy them in bulk, but we didn’t find the price to be worthwhile.

Pros

  • Keeps for a year if properly stored.

Cons

  • Overpriced
  • A powerful odor permeates your senses.
  • Not all of our dragons would eat them.

Conclusion

While providing live insects for your bearded dragon is a fun and enjoyable hobby, it can become a nuisance if you have to keep a large number of insects in your home.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) found a variety of the best insects & bugs for bearded dragons that our dragons really liked while we were looking for more convenient options.

Our analysis compared some of the top picks. However, to ensure that our recommendations stay in your mind, we’ll quickly summarize them here. We love them all, but Fluker’s 5-star Freeze-Dried Medley program is our top pick.

The combination of crickets, grasshoppers, and mealworms makes for a delicious treat your dragon won’t get bored of. Fluker’s Buffet Blend Adult Bearded Dragon Food is the most economical choice for feeding your dragons.

This cuisine is reasonably priced and offers a delicious meal full of vitamins and minerals. Our top pick is Zilla Reptile Munchies Mealworms.

This dried worm meal is a convenient alternative to feeding your dragon live insects, as you won’t have to worry about any writhing or jumping insects entering your home.

Author Image

Dr. Barry Buttler

Dr. Barry Buttler, DVM, MS, DACVIM, is an experienced veterinarian who specializes in the care of small animals, specifically dogs. Dr. Barry K. Buttler is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and holds multiple certifications in small animal emergency medicine and geriatric pet health.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Barry Buttler

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