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Bugger: What to do if your feeder bugs do not arrive in great shape

The winter is hard on insects, and while we continue to innovate ways to reduce the amount of insect shipping casualties, it is, unfortunately, something that still happens. In the event that an order of insects you receive seems dead, there are a few things you can try to determine whether or not they can be revived.

Visual Inspection

  First and foremost, give your insects a thorough look over. While our eyes alone aren’t 100% accurate at determining if all insects are alive or dead, looking for visual clues is an easy way to determine if the insects may be dead or just sluggish from travel. Many insects will curl their legs in on death, leaving them in obviously unnatural positions while their bodies quickly become stiffened and brittle. This is especially apparent in the case of larger dubia roaches and crickets, as legs will look unnatural, and body parts such as antennae or leg segments may start to break off. In superworms, depending on how long the insects have been dead, there may be hollowed bodies of the insects or pieces of the bodies present. Superworms and mealworms also frequently become discolored after death, turning to a dark brown and black. If water or humidity has become an issue, it is possible for insects to grow mold upon death as well, which usually appears white or black.  

Insects That Continuously Produce Food

  Some insects, such as producing fruit flies, bean beetles, and rice flour beetles, may arrive with seemingly no adult insects present. Bean beetles should hatch out within a week, while rice flour beetles may become more visible after a month or so. Producing fruit fly cultures commonly arrive with no adult flies (these tend to perish in shipping), but the culture should produce within 1-3 days. Springtails can take a real beating in transit. Open the lid to allow the culture to breathe and allow it to sit for 24 hours after delivery.


  If the insects you have don’t seem to fit any of the clues above and it’s possible that they are still alive, try putting them in a warmer environment for a while. As insects aren’t able to regulate their own body temperature, the temperature of their immediate environment plays a crucial role in how they behave and or not they can survive. While most of the feeder insects at Josh’s Frogs are capable of surviving temperatures near if not slightly below freezing, temperatures below 40 degrees will cause very little movement from your insects and behavior will be sluggish. Often times, the obvious solution of placing insects in a warmer place will be effective at reversing this, as anything still alive will become more lively and animated. Try allowing your insects to warm up over a few hours to see if movement appears. 

Food and Water

  At the end of the day, insects are still animals and require food and water to survive. If your insects are alive but still seem sluggish and slow despite having warmed up from any cold, make sure that they have at least a small source of food and water . Small pieces of carrots or other vegetables are appropriate for crickets and mealworms, while pieces of fruit or dry food is good for roaches and superworms. Providing a small source of water is important as well, and can be accomplished by simply giving the insect container a misting to provide moisture. (Too much water can drown small insects.)  

Customer Service

 Sometimes insects that arrive will still end up dead despite everyone's best efforts. Our Customer Service team is here to help! If you have received dead insects, please do your best to take some clear and focused photos of what you have received as well as the appropriate packaging. Send this information to our customer service department at [email protected]. Remember, all feeder insects purchased from Josh's Frogs have a Life Insurance Policy - give it a read to learn more!

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