Why choose Vita-Bugs®?
Currently commercial insect are primarily raised for rapid
growth using the lowest cost ingredients.
As a result insect diets do not contain the same ingredient makeup as
wild insects would naturally forage for. Vita-Bug® insects have had their
diet changed to increase their nutritional content to be more in line with wild
Insect Dusting vs. Insect Gut-Loading
Insect Dusting - A recent study has
shown that a cricket will groom off 50% of any dust applied to it within 90 seconds.
Therefore unless you see the pet animal eat the dusted cricket very quickly you
are not delivering the nutrients from the dust.
Insect Gut Loading -While properly
formulated gut-loading diets can enhance the value of feeder insects many
commercial gut-loading diets do not contain sufficient nutrients, they use the
wrong forms of some nutrients and they are relatively unpalatable meaning the
nutrients don’t get eaten. It is also
important to know that crickets will empty the contents of their stomachs’
After 7 years of research and development the Vita-Bug® process
has been created. Vita-Bugs® are created using a scientifically proven
feeder insect process that reduces dusting and gut-loading complexity.
Vita-Bugs® contain nutrients more like those of wild insects. This changes the internal make-up of the
insects so it is NOT an applied process that quickly “wears off”.
Retinol and Retinal are forms of Vitamin A, and as you can see
the effect of the Vita-Bug® process begins very quickly. The reason the
small cricket contains more vitamin A is because insects store these compounds
in their eyes and smaller crickets have a disproportional body mass size to the
size of their eyes.
Zoos report that the biggest deficiency that they experience is
a Vitamin A deficiency. So as you can see Vita-Bugs® have a comparable
amount of Vitamin A to wild caught insects.
The below image displays the amount of Vitamin E in wild caught,
commercially raised and Vita-Bug® crickets. As you can see commercially
raised insects are very low. This is because Vitamin E is a very expensive
therefore just enough is added to the diet for the insect to grow correctly but
not enough for additional storage. As you can see the Vita-Bug® cricket has
similar levels that in wild caught insects carrying on the theme of making the
nutrient content of commercial insects more like that of wild insects.
In a study conducted in England with red-eye tree frogs (Agalychnis
callidryas) researchers found that when carotenoids were provided to
tadpoles they had a positive influence on development, adult frog coloration and reproduction
(Oglivy et al 2012).
Additionally when Tomato frogs (Dyscophys guineti) were fed crickets that were enhanced with various
carotenoids they had a more natural coloration and improved vitamin A status (Brenes
Soto, A. and E. Dierenfeld, 2012).
What are carotenoids? Carotenoids are naturally
occurring compounds that are responsible for the coloration many of these foods
we are eat. The red in tomatoes is the
result of a carotenoid called lycopene, the yellow in corn is from the
carotenoid lutein and the orange in carrots is from the carotenoid
In addition to their role in enhancing the color of many species
of animals carotenoids also play a role in immune health in many species of
What does all this mean?
For a long time now we have all heard about premium food choices
for dogs and cats, now it’s time for reptiles and amphibians to have the same
It is still important to stress variety when feeding reptiles
and amphibians. For example we can
supplement an insectivore’s diet with more fat by feeding waxworms or mealworms.
Most importantly reptile owners need to understand they still must
supplement their pet’s diet with calcium. Crickets do not accumulate much
calcium so an additional calcium source is needed. So how do we solve this? While dusting
and gut-loading are options we think a better way is to add CalciWorms to their
CalciWorms naturally contain high levels of calcium which is
still needed in the Vita-Bug® diet program. So a staple diet of Vita-Bug®
crickets or Vita-Bug® mealworms can be enhanced with calcium from CalciWorms.
So this means that using a correct combination of Vita-bug® live food and
proper lighting means there is no need for dusting or gut-loading thereby
naturally supplying your reptile with all the nutrients they need.
Eeva T., Helle S., and Salminen J. P. (2010). Carotenoid
composition of invertebrates consumed by two insectivorous bird species. Journal
of Chemical Ecology 36:608-613.
Finke M. D. (2002). Complete nutrient composition of
commercially raised invertebrates used as food for insectivores. Zoo Biology
Finke M. D. (2013). Complete nutrient content of four species of
feeder Insects. Zoo Biology 32:27-36.
Ogilvy V., Preziosi1 R.F. and Fidgett
A.L. (2012). A brighter future for
frogs? The influence of carotenoids on the health, development and reproductive
success of the red-eye tree frog. Animal
Pennino M., Dierenfeld E. S., and Behler J. L. (1991). Retinol,
alpha-tocopherol, and proximate nutrient composition of invertebrates used as
food. International Zoo Yearbook 30: 143-149.
Brenes Soto, A. and E. Dierenfeld. 2012.
Effect of dietary carotenoids on skin pigmentation in tomato frogs
(Dyscophys guineti). European Nutrition
Research Group Proc., Zurich, Switzerland.