How do you dispose of "feeder" insects?

I am checking in on a friend’s herp while they are on vacation. They had larvae in a tub in the room, & another tub in a fridge. I noticed the ones in the room tub had metamorphasized into live adult beetles. I asked if they were good to feed and was told to dispose of them & use the fridge larvae instead.
My question is: HOW should I dispose of them? I don’t want to just throw the tub in the trash, lest they get loose; I don’t know the exact species to know if they are invasive.

I have put them in the freezer while I figure out what to do, but again, I don’t knkw the exact species, so I don’t know their cold tolerance & am unsure if that is enough to kill them, nor how long to leave them in there to euthanize them. Should I go an extra step and squash them?

What is the “best” way to dispose of feeder insects that can’t be used for feeding?

Assuming this is mealworms: probably freezer? But also why not just, leave the adults and start a culture. A lot of darkling beetles are pretty foolproof to culture, all you need is dirt substrate, oats and fruit/veg for adults and larvae to eat, keep things on the drier side and add springtails as cuc to keep things from getting moldy

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Re: starting a culture

I don’t have the time, space or inclination to farm insects at the moment.

As for the herp owner, they told me to dispose of the beetles, so I presume they aren’t interested in starting one (additionally, they are a K-12 student who may not have the time or parental permission to do so).

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So, kill them in a freezer, there’s little other way, they’re invasive in NA, so if you let them out nothing will change, but not many would approve it either, so kill them and throw away to be eaten.

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Freezer is probably the best method (technically swatting is “better” but it makes a mess and risks escapes)

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Do you have a bird feeder or know someone with chickens? They would probably love a frozen beetle snack! I would make sure they are dead for good though - if they are darkling beetles (aka mealworms), those are considered an agricultural pest and should not be released alive into the environment.

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Yes, freezing them for a few days is the best way. I second @annkatrinrose in suggesting you offer them to chickens. Having worked in lizard labs for years, extra feeder crickets often to go chickens which love them (and they are healthy for the chickens). As a bonus, the person with the chickens may appreciate your insect gifts and offer eggs in return.

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The tub is labeled as “Giant Mealworms”, but from googling I know that cound be either Zophobas atratus or some other darkling beetle sprayed with juvenile hormone (unless the fact that they became adults eliminated that possibility).

That is, of course, assuming the brand labeled the tub correctly when they were packaged, and that the herp owner didn’t recycle/reuse a different container.

I’ll have to try and find a chicken owner.

Yep, this is part if why I want to be sure they are, in the words of the Munchkin Coroner, “not only merely dead, [but] really most sincerely dead”.

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That’s why I was asking if I should do both: freze them first, so they can’t escape being swatted.

Any idea how long to freeze them, @marina_gorbunova ? As mentioned, I don’t know what their cold tolerance is, and I don’t want to assume they are dead, throw them out, and have them later revive & escape.

Ten minutes usually kills insects for sure, but you can leave them there for 30 mins for certainty.

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Carolina Biologicals, which sells them for teaching purposes, recommends freezing for 48 hours to be sure they’re most sincerely dead before disposal.

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Every once and a while I’ll have that happen with my superworms so the beetles go into the freezer and then placed out back in the bird feeder. I’ve seen them get picked up by grackles, jays, and crows. Otherwise like it’s been suggested already, you could try to find someone with chickens. Don’t have any myself but live insects of any kind are always pricey. Can’t imagine the offer would be unappreciated.

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Stick 'em in a blender and reduce them to a fine goo, pour the goo into a degradable container, and then yeet that container into a big fire - Problem solved!! :joy:

But seriously though, that tub in the room must’ve been there a really long time for the larvae inside to metamorphose…

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Yes, I would definitely go for at least 48 hours to be sure. I have had insects come back after shorter trips in the freezer.

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Flushing them is also an option, maybe after freezing. Cleaner than squishing and nobody has to go chicken-hunting.

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No - they will climb out of the water and find a way to emerge.
Flush and forget, is out of sight out of mind. Not an actual solution.

@star3 how does the exotic pet owner dispose of unwanted beetles?

Unwanted exotic pet? Californian king snakes. In Cape Town!
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/35606060
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/35697618

Out of water where? They’re in pipes for good kms ahead.