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#115581 - 07/03/06 10:12 PM was there any consensus on aflatoxins?
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hi all! I'll be getting 2 suggies soon and I have been reading some of the archives to increase my sugar glider knowledge. I came across a lot of dated stuff about aflatoxins and I know there was a lot of disagreement in the sugar glider community about what to feed and not to feed to avoid aflatoxin poisoning.

The general consensus I picked up on in terms of insects was that many people avoid crickets, but feeding mealies is OK? If I raise my own mealies, is there anything I should be careful of (in terms of what I feed them or where I buy them) to avoid aflatoxins? <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />

<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thanx.gif" alt="" />

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#115582 - 07/03/06 10:26 PM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Crickets are only a problem if they are fed the corn that is growing an aflatoxin producing fungus. That should not be common, at least when bought from people you know and trust.

As for mealies, they are raised on oats, and wheat, and often given fresh fruit for the water. It is very rare (in fact, we never even heard of it) that somebody would raise mealies on nuts or corn (the common foods containing aflatoxins).

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#115583 - 07/04/06 11:22 AM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Bourbon Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 04/01/99
Posts: 5333
Loc: Bee-Bopping round SnakePit USA
</font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr />
Crickets are only a problem if they are fed the corn that is growing an aflatoxin producing fungus. That should not be common, at least when bought from people you know and trust.

<hr /></blockquote><font class="post">

it isn't that they are being fed the corn, they are generally (very common) bred and raised in the corn bedding, the aflatoxin binds with the crickets dna, and acts as a host for transference.

The common concensus is not to feed crickets at all
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#115584 - 07/05/06 07:43 PM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thanks very much! I think the posts I was reading before were outdated so I just wanted to make sure before I start buying bugs for them to eat.

Less than a week before I get to pick up my first suggie! I'm so excited <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" />

Thanks for the help! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thanx.gif" alt="" />

And Bourbon, PS, I found all of your info about bonding and trust to be VERY helpful while I was doing all my research. I'm glad you put the time into making your site for new owners like me!

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#115585 - 07/06/06 02:05 PM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Ok, here's a "cross-thread question" related to this thread Beetles ok?

This is just for the sake of "understanding" so, if mealworms are ok to feed because they are not raised in corn bedding (instead, they are raised in oats and/or wheat germ) - why, then would it NOT be ok to feed the beetles?

Not that I am planning on feeding any beetles (my mealies never last long enough here to have TIME to turn into beetles, not with my 22 mealie-luvvin' piggy gliders).

Just curious... the beetles come from the mealies, which, if left on their own turn into more beetles - so - where is the risk of aflatoxins?

I'm missing something here...

Anyone?

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#115586 - 07/06/06 02:08 PM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


PS: Sorry, Ellen made a comment to look under SEARCH, but when I do, I get 198 hits, some of which are not related. Anyone got a link to the specific post she was referring to?

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#115587 - 07/06/06 05:23 PM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Ellen Offline
Owner:Emeritus-Mother Hen

Registered: 08/05/99
Posts: 7603
Loc: Virginia Beach, VA.
Go to Health and Hygiene and do a search in that forum. I think it's all there. It may be on the second page not sure.
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#115588 - 07/07/06 07:06 AM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Okay I found this one for you Garnes.....

aflotoxins and crickets

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#115589 - 07/07/06 07:36 AM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I wouldn't think that the beetles would be dangerous for aflatoxins, but they have a hard shell and may scratch little mouths up, and some beetles, once matured, develop a way to discharge an acidic fluid when threatened. Not sure of the darkling beetle, but I don't feed them.
As for the bedding, one thing you may want to do is remove all wheat germ from your bedding. Use only Oat Bran, Old Fashioned Oat Meal or Dry Oatmeal baby cereal, and ONE of these are just fine. The wheat germ has an oil that turns toxic after no refrigeration for 72 hours.
As for the aflatoxins; I posted an interesteing read above but the corn bedding is the key.
You see, most cricket farmers bed their crickets in corn bedding, (which is processed type product) and this bedding is a product that is mostly used from corn that has been sitting about and laying around in or about the sheds that package and ship the product. And all corn bedding is a processed product. While this corn is laying about, the corn is in very moist and wet conditions, excelling the induction of aflatoxin production.
Now, another thought, before anyone says it; The corn kernels that we feed our gliders, that is mostly from frozen, is not laying about like this, pretty much picked and shucked, cleaned up and processed for quick freezing, that's why the corn for cricket bedding is MUCH different from the corn you would find in your freezer section of your local grocery store.
Back to the crickets though, the reason lots of cricket farmers use the corn bedding, is that the crickets will not grow and produce if they don't use the corn. They have had great success with the corn bedding, and the crickets that these farms sell, like the feed stores for other creatures; reptiles, fishing, birds, etc. in all probablilty outweighs the research to find a better bedding for us to be able to feed them to our beloved little Sugar Gliders.

Sorry so long, folks!

<img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" />Edited to add:
Apologies!! AGAIN!! The mealworms shoud be kept in all oat bedding, and then again, you will get mold there if you use too much moisture, and IF that happens, trash that container and start over. It's not worth feeding mold eating mealworms to your glider,.... aflatoxins aren't picky about the product they form in, either.

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#115590 - 07/07/06 08:52 AM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Xfilefan Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 8899
Loc: Jacksonville, FL
Aflatoxins can be a risk from any stored grain (ie. oats, corn, meals, etc.)..or from any bug that is bedded in or eats them, that your glider then eats. It is actually caused by the aspergillis fungus (which was, believe it or not, experimented with as a nerve agent in Nazi Germany-no offense to any Germans, I have that, as well as Native American, in my blood). It can grow on fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts.

Once ingested, the aflatoxin will not leave the body, and will continue to poison it...degrading the liver, particularly, and other organs, until death. Treatments such as charcoal will not remove aflatoxins.

Here's a link that is informative: Aflatoxins in Food-WellVet
_________________________
Jen/Colin :bb: Commander Riker 12 16 02-10 04 12 you will be FOREVER missed :wfb: Sinbad, :wfb: Gabby, :grey: Baby, and :grey: Alley

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#115591 - 07/08/06 07:26 PM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thanks for all the info...is there any place I can buy safer bedding for my mealworms? Right now, I have a small container of mealies in my fridge that are resting in whatever bedding they were in when I bought them from Petsmart, and I don't know what kind of bedding that is...anybody know what is standard from pet stores?

Other quick question: do you guys usually just give the mealies a slice of apple, or do you load them with those fancy sticks of stuff from the petstore? <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thanx.gif" alt="" />

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#115592 - 07/08/06 07:48 PM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Anmaw Offline
Glider Guardian

Registered: 08/03/05
Posts: 659
Loc: Hernando, MS - USA
Just use plain oldfashioned oats (not instant) for the bedding. The only thing I put in with my mealworms is maybe a leaf of lettuce or a damp paper towel and that is only when I take them out of the frig for 12 to 24 hours to feed. When in the frig I don't have anything but the oats in there.
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#115593 - 07/09/06 04:34 AM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Xfilefan Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 8899
Loc: Jacksonville, FL
What the mealies normally come in is oat bran (and yes, it resembles sawdust). I usually sift thru mine when I bring it home and remove any dead worms, black worms, excess shed shells...and leave it there. Sometimes I mix some gutload from the reptile section in, but not often. I've never had a problem, and I put NOTHING wet in the bedding-wet can = mold/fungus. There are no guarantees with ANY bedding-just make sure it's as fresh as you can, if you change it, and from a reputable source (if oatmeal...get the farthest away date you can find). As long as they're not out of the fridge for extended periods, I have little loss of my petco bought mealies, and simply discard the dead ones as I go.

NOTE: NEVER buy worms if the bedding is wet before they come home. This indicates mismanagement either in shipping, or storing by the store--and YES, I open the containers in the store and sift thru them before buying....making sure there are few to no black worms, not a ton of dead ones on top, the worms are live and active, and the bedding isn't wet. If any of those exist...I don't buy them.
_________________________
Jen/Colin :bb: Commander Riker 12 16 02-10 04 12 you will be FOREVER missed :wfb: Sinbad, :wfb: Gabby, :grey: Baby, and :grey: Alley

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#115594 - 07/09/06 09:50 AM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thanks, I am glad I have been asking all these mealie questions. I have some superworms (big giant ugly mealies) that I had been keeping out on my deck because the pet store told me they couldn't be refrigerated. Quite a few of those have kicked the bucket, even with the food I left them in there, perhaps because of the heat (it's been in the 80s and sunny). I think I will hold off on feeding them to my suggie I am getting on Monday and stick with the mealies in my fridge instead.

One last quick question: How often do you guys change the bedding to make it "fresh?"

Sorry I have 2 million questions <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />

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#115595 - 07/09/06 09:57 AM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thanks everyone for these details, and Cycy, thank you for finding the specific link!

Hmm. Someone needs to contact mealie suppliers. When I created my first mealie farm (I no longer do this - just buy them fresh from GrubCo when I need a refill), the instructions were to keep the bedding moist: spray down a solid white paper towel for moisture, then remove a few hours later. Any potato wedges, apples, or whatever, could have been used in place of paper towels, but that was just "nasty" - so, I gave up. I came back from last year's SGGA to find my mealie farm ruined and I threw it all out.

I have kept mine in an airtight container in the fridge with a mixture of rolled oats and wheat germ (again, more advice from a mealie supplier).

Maybe </font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr />
Dry Oatmeal baby cereal

<hr /></blockquote><font class="post"> is the way to go.

Gosh, this is so darned frustrating, and there is a LOT of bad information out there!

Even my local Ohio State University Extension office suggested corn bedding for raising mealies.... (now, it was made clear - for use for raising mealies for fish bait)... but still... the average reader would not have seen the difference if not for posts such as these!

Thanks,GC!

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#115596 - 07/09/06 10:04 AM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Xfilefan, thank you for your link, too! Reading now <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#115597 - 07/09/06 09:17 PM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


OK, ONE LAST QUESTION (promise, last one): Are those zoo-med canned crickets OK, or do you run the same risk with those as with fresh ones?

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#115598 - 07/09/06 09:41 PM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


With feeding any insects, live, frozen or canned you do run some risk as there is no way of knowing if and what bedding they were raised on. It only takes a tiny amount of aflatoxin to be toxic. I think they cook the insects in a can but they can not be sure to remove aflatoxins if present because the intense heat and time needed to kill the toxins would make the food impossible to eat.

If you can trace the life cycle of the insect and know that it has been raised on safe bedding then it should be safe.

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#115599 - 07/09/06 10:54 PM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Xfilefan Offline
Serious Glideritis

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 8899
Loc: Jacksonville, FL
I feed the zoomed canned on occasion. It's the only cricket I feed, and from talking to zoomed, I'm comfortable with them, but that is my own choice/risk.

I also wanted to add...in the link I gave, it has some good info on aflatoxins themselves...but I do NOT recommend the holistic meds that article/site promotes, especially for a glider. Just so that is clear. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />
_________________________
Jen/Colin :bb: Commander Riker 12 16 02-10 04 12 you will be FOREVER missed :wfb: Sinbad, :wfb: Gabby, :grey: Baby, and :grey: Alley

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#115600 - 07/10/06 01:09 AM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thanks everyone for all the info! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thanx.gif" alt="" />

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#115601 - 07/10/06 06:39 AM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Also, wanted to let you all know what I found in a ZooMed Melaworm can, a morphed Beetle, it was about a year and half ago. Now, this was probably an isolated case, but the darkling beetle was still very much ALIVE. So my concern would be that if they are 'cooking them in their own juices', in the can which is what I believe is what the can states, then it can't be at a very high temeperature for a worm to have morphed like that inside the can. From what I understand of "cooking the aflatoxins" out of the insect, the temperature would have to be pretty intense and would probably make the insect inedible. Just not so sure they actually "cook" instead of just "heat" those cans. So IMO, and again, as mentioned, there would be a risk, even with feeding the canned insects.

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#115602 - 07/10/06 10:48 AM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Wow cycy! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/yelclap.gif" alt="" />

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#115603 - 07/10/06 10:02 PM Re: was there any consensus on aflatoxins? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Wow... bottom line, no easy answers! My Sugi just hated... hated canned crickets. When I saw his little eyes, you want me to eat THAT? That was the last time I tried...

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