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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 insects.

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’ rapidly.

The Solution...Vita-Bugs®

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.

Results you can see

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 beta-carotene.

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 animals.

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 options.

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 diet.

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.

References

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 21: 269-285.

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 Conservation 15:480-488.

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.

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