GliderCENTRAL

aflatoxin question

Posted By: JillMarie

aflatoxin question - 02/22/09 01:50 PM

I know that aflatoxins can be a danger in crickets...but what about mealworms or waxworms? I currently have freezedried mealworms and do I need to worry that aflatoxins will grow over time in them? do they grow that way or is it only in the live worm/cricket? should I store them in the freezer?
Posted By: KarenE

Re: aflatoxin question - 02/22/09 06:15 PM

It is only in the live, and even then not all live. You do not need to worry about freeze dried.

Aflatoxin Summary
Posted By: sugarlope

Re: aflatoxin question - 02/22/09 07:47 PM

Feeding ANY grain eating insect (live, canned, freeze dried, etc.) runs a risk, because grains (nuts, dairy, etc.) can grow types of Aspergillus mold (all of which produce Aflatoxin). When the insect eats the Aflatoxin it binds to their DNA, so it will ALWAYS be in their system, though it cannot be passed down to future generations because Aflatoxin has no DNA of it's own - it only disrupts DNA.

This means that if the insect you are feeding has eaten anything containing Aflatoxin it will pass those Aflatoxins on to your glider. So if the company did not change out the bedding appropriately or left moist food in the substrate too long, there is a chance that insect has come in contact with Aflatoxin. BUT corn is the riskiest grain (as far as growing Aspergillus) so crickets raised on/with corn are at a much greater risk than the average mealworm or waxworm.

Freezing, freeze-drying, cooking - there is NOTHING that can rid an insect of Aflatoxin once it is in it's system, so as I said, all of us who feed ANY type of grain fed insect run a risk and there have been people who have lost their gliders to Aflatoxin poisoned mealworms.

Please understand, that does not mean that I am saying no one should feed grain fed insects. I do, I even feed crickets on occasion. I am just trying to help people make an educated decision, including knowing all of the risks.

I will say that all of the mealworm/Aflatoxin incidents that I am (personally) aware of, the mealworms were homegrown, not from a large wholesaler or involving the canned/freeze-dried worms. (But that doesn't mean it will never happen, either).

Edit: Oh, no - Aspergillus will not grow on the freeze dried mealworms, though if kept for long periods, they could still go bad. It is also important to note that not all mold is Aspergillus (thus Aflatoxin producing). But if you ever find mold in something, you should still throw it out completely as all mold can be damaging to a glider's health.

If you do see mold growing, like in a mealworm farm, do not try to just pick out the part that is molded, but pitch whatever is in the entire container, because the mold spores are throughout, whether you see them or not, and you are running a much greater risk of harming your gliders. (Ok, lesson over tounge ).
Posted By: MatchMakerMagic

Re: aflatoxin question - 02/23/09 01:22 AM

Thank you Gretchen for the good info on aflatoxin!
Posted By: JillMarie

Re: aflatoxin question - 02/23/09 08:14 AM

thanks again Gretchen! by the way....when YOU feed crickets (on occassion) where do you purchase them?
Posted By: sugarlope

Re: aflatoxin question - 02/23/09 10:37 PM

I like http://www.premiumcrickets.com/ , they are not very expensive and good quality from my experience. I have always heard really good things about http://www.ebugco.com/ as well, you have to order by phone from them. I have ordered from Grubco a few times but found their crickets usually came in quite a bit smaller than what I was supposed to get. I also ordered from Flukers for a while, but had two cricket shipments in a row come in that didn't look healthy, so stopped ordering from them. There is a member here (caelainn) that sells crickets that she has raised herself. She does not feed corn products, but uses dry foods she mixes.

Once I get the crickets I do not use a substrate for them (I keep them in large plastic bins with egg crates) and used to feed dry food (I tried to feed food with no corn in it), but have switched to fresh veggies, thus eliminating further risk of introducing Aflatoxins.

If you wanted to raise crickets with NO risk of Aflatoxin, you would only feed fresh fruits or veggies (no corn, nuts, dairy, or other grains), and feed only the offspring that you raised from eggs. Raising crickets is pretty smelly, though, which is why I don't do it (I did it for a while a long time ago). Another fantastic feeder (very healthy and much cleaner than crickets) are feeder roaches, they can be raised easily without using anything that grows Aspergillus, therefore NO Aflatoxin risk also. thumb
Posted By: JillMarie

Re: aflatoxin question - 02/24/09 06:59 PM

feeder roaches?!? ugh! sounds aweful!
Posted By: sugarlope

Re: aflatoxin question - 02/24/09 08:34 PM

They are actually very clean (much cleaner than crickets), don't smell and have more protein than crickets or mealworms. If you feed the younger roaches, they are often easier to digest as well. Many species of feeder roach neither climb smooth surfaces or fly, so they are easy to keep without escaping. smile
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: aflatoxin question - 03/01/09 11:19 AM

Hey Gretchen, The problem with just feeding veggies and fruit is that crickets need protein, especially if they are to be a source of protein for a glider (which is the main reason for feeding them to gliders). Cannibalism goes up if they don't have enough. Feeding fruits and veggies for a short period is probably fine. There's a clip on you tube about crickets swarming and a need for protein and salt that's pretty interesting (if you're a crazy woman selling crickets like me that is lol.) Here's a link for the actual scientific article http://www.pnas.org/content/103/11/4152.full.pdf

And hey, stop calling my little friends stinky! They are thinking of starting an ad campaign similar to Chick-Fil-A. "Eat Mor Roaches."
Posted By: sugarlope

Re: aflatoxin question - 03/01/09 09:35 PM

Kim, you do have to admit they really smell. I used to raise crickets, not a fun experience. shakehead

You are absolutely correct, they do need protein, there are still ways to do so without using a food that contains grains, nuts, or dairy. You can still give them fresh foods to do so, also. There are also dry foods that do not contain any of these things. But many of them smell really bad by themselves, so the combination is...ugh.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: aflatoxin question - 03/02/09 05:05 AM

Oh yea, don't get me started on that smelly stuff. I've dialed it down about a thousand from the salmon based feed I tried. Now THAT was too much to bear. Honestly, I can't imagine what the big cricket breeding places must smell like. In a way the smelliness is actually a good thing. At the end of the day, when I just want sleep, the thought of how smelly they'll get if I don't clean the bins is enough to makes me follow my "keep 'em clean" motto.
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