What would be the food most close to natural food for our insects?

If i am correct then most people who farm insects like crickets or superworms are feeding them lots of carbohydrates.

I am working as a zookeeper for around 10 years and i know from experience that it's best for the most animals to give them food what is most close to their natural food. For insects, it would be the same i think. I've read alot of feeding recipes and most are very carbohydrate rich. Do crickets for example even get that much carbohydrates in the wild? I never heard anyone feeding them hay.

I think we can learn alot of the insects we are farming if we look at the wild living insects.

For mealworms - are they only living as pests for us humans and eat stored grains? Or is there a wild form that eats something else?


  • Hi Carni, - In the insect there are several versions of insulin-like genes & a few of these are found working in the insect's central brain (media neuro-secretory cells of the corpora cardiaca). It seems different forms of these genes become predominant in different instars & this segue is a factor in creating successive increases in larval growth.

    Production of insect insulin from larval brain is apparently mediated by the hemolymph carbohydrate amount. Insulin that gets into the hemolymph reaches tissue cells & there engages insulin reception pathway (PI3Kinase) to stimulate growth. Furthermore, then that impacted cell's own insulin-like genes produce an insulin-like peptide that acts like our mammalian insulin-like growth factor one (IGF1).

    Furthermore, insulin signalling orders the insect fat body's cells accumulation of nutrients. See Britton, et al. (2002) free full text: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S153458070200117X

    Now, not all kinds of insects have the same insulin-like gene expression pattern & some may have different numbers of these genes. The wild insects that eat plants are consuming a high proportion of carbohydrates, so formulating captive insect diets with notable carbohydrate content is using their insulin signalling even though bugs don't have a pancreas.

    As for mealworms - they are omnivores, as discussed elsewhere in the Forum (as is their alternate wild habitats). Old research showed that they do best with a certain minimum % of carbohydrates in their diet.

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