3.2.1. Diet

Both the greater and lesser wax moths feed only in the larval life stage. In nature, the larvae develop in bee colonies and feed on pollen, honey, cast larval skins and other debris incorporated into the wax comb. One method for feeding wax moth larvae is simply to provide them with sections of wax comb. This is useful because it provides the moths with what they ordinarily use. However, the production and use of wax comb can be expensive and unsustainable if a large number of wax moths are desired.

Correspondingly, many variations on a generalized artificial diet have been developed. We include three here. The first two are reported frequently in the literature while the third was provided by a reviewer with experience using the diet.

Diet 1:

1. Blend a mixture of:
   1.1. white honey (150 ml),
   1.2. glycerine (150 ml)
   1.3. tap water (30 ml).
2. Add 420 g pablum (bran).
3. Add 20 g ground brood comb.

The resulting diet has the consistency of damp sawdust (Bronskill, 1961). Coskun et al., (2006) provide an analysis of this diet with several modifications resulting in larval weight gain or loss based on the modifications.

Diet 2 (Jones et al., 2002)

1. Mix 300 ml liquid honey with
2. 400 ml glycerol,
3. Mix with 200 ml milk powder,
4. 200 g whole-meal coarse flour
5. 100 g dried brewer’s yeast,
6. 100 g wheat germ,
7. 400 g bran.

Diet 3:

1. Mix seven parts (by volume) dry dog kibble,
2. One part water,
3. Two parts honey.
4. You can adjust the vitamin A content to produce whitish larvae.