Skip to Content

The Ultimate Mealworms Vs Wax Worm Comparison!

Have you ever wondered about mealworms vs waxworms, and which is the better kind of worm in terms of the nutritional value or its viability as a bait for fishing?

These “worms” (which are actually both beetle larvae) are often sold as reptile food and as bait, and if you’re trying to compare them, you might be feeling unsure about the best option.

More people are familiar with mealworms than waxworms, but both have their place in angling and in reptile care.

It’s important to compare many things when you are deciding which option to buy, and you should look at cost, availability, packaging, and of course the usefulness (depending upon what you will do with the worm).

If you are going to be angling, find out what kind of fish are attracted to each, and which is easier to hook. You might want to buy a few of each to test them out, rather than immediately stocking up on one kind or another.

If you’re looking at the viability in terms of feeding a reptile, make sure you think about your reptile’s specific needs, and any health issues that it has.

The most important thing is to provide good nutrition to your pet, so thoroughly research what it needs and how these two options compare.

Are Waxworms The Same As Mealworms?

Waxworms are not the same as mealworms, although both are frequently used as feeders and as bait.

Waxworms are the larval form of the wax moth, and they are higher in fat than mealworms are, so they can be a good option for your pet if it needs to gain weight after being ill.

They are usually gray, brown, or white, and in the wild, they often live in beehives and are considered a pest species by beekeepers.

Mealworms, by contrast, are usually a reddish brown, and they are the larval form of the mealworm beetle, otherwise known as the darkling beetle.

Like waxworms, they are great for feeding to birds and pets, and they are lower in fat and higher in protein, so they are often a superior option.

They live things like potatoes, grains, and other organic material, and it is relatively easy to farm them in your home if you don’t want to keep purchasing them.

The two kinds of insects are quite different from each other in terms of both size and nutritional value, as mealworms are larger and more nutritionally rich.

Both species are relatively easy to keep, but you need to be careful not to let the waxworm reach its moth stage, as it is then potentially damaging to the ecosystem, whereas the darkling beetle is fairly unproblematic and can be kept to raise the next generation.

Are Mealworms Or Waxworms Better For Reptile Food And Fish Bait?

As a pet owner or an angler, you are probably mostly interested in which is the most useful kind of food, and whether you should be buying waxworms or mealworms for your hobby.

However, it is not so simple as one being better than the other; it will depend on the reptile and its circumstances, or the kind of fishing that you wish to do, as both of these larvae offer different pros and cons.

You may wish to trial both of them in order to determine which suits you (and possibly your pet) better.

Waxworms are a particularly popular kind of bait if you are going ice fishing, and they are good if you are trying to catch trout, perch, catfish, bass, and certain other fish.

However, they can be problematic for trying to hook, because they have soft, fragile bodies, and they will often break; you have to skewer them lengthwise for the best results.

Mealworms don’t break so easily, but they can be pretty challenging to hook as they have hard bodies and they are quite thin, so you may find it hard to get them on the hook.

In terms of feeding to a reptile, the two larvae offer different benefits.

Mealworms are rich in vitamin A and vitamin B and are full of fiber and protein, while waxworms are very fatty and are therefore good for helping your pet to gain weight, but may not offer as much nutritional benefit overall. 

Can You Mix Waxworms And Mealworms?

If you are raising your own mealworms and waxworms, you might be wondering whether you can keep them in the same container to save on space and make things easier.

Unfortunately, the simple answer is that you can’t; doing so will almost always result in the mealworms eating the waxworms very quickly.

This is frustrating because they need quite similar conditions, including temperature and food, so it’s tempting to put them in the same box, but you should avoid doing so.

It’s safe to mix mealworms and waxworms when you are feeding your reptile, but for storage, you should keep them in separate boxes to prevent the mealworms from predating the waxworms.

Keeping the boxes side by side can reduce the amount of work needed, since you can feed them both and control the temperature at the same time.

They should both be kept above 40 degrees F and below 70 degrees F, as they will start to pupate if they are too warm, and will die if they are too cold.

If you aren’t keeping live larvae, there’s no issue with mixing the two together, provided that you want to feed them both to your reptile.

You can put the dried worms in the same container to save space and make things easier, but don’t do this with any live ones, or they will eat each other.

What’s Better For Bearded Dragons, Waxworms Or Mealworms?

Which of these two insects you should feed to your bearded dragon will depend on the circumstances, but in general, waxworms are only used for bearded dragons that need to gain weight, those that are about to enter brumation, or as a supplement to a more comprehensive diet, whereas mealworms can be a staple of the bearded dragon’s diet.

On the other hand, mealworms have a hard exterior (known as chitin), and young bearded dragons cannot digest this easily, so if you are feeding a youngster, waxworms may be the more appropriate option at least temporarily.

Mealworms have a much better balance of protein and fat, and tend to be around twenty percent protein and only thirteen percent fat, whereas waxworms are often about fifteen percent protein and twenty-one percent fat.

It’s crucial to be aware of this if you are feeding mealworms or waxworms to your bearded dragon, because too much fat can be unhealthy, and these reptiles generally need more protein.

It’s best to reserve waxworms for a treat for your bearded dragon, rather than offering them on a regular basis. If it is about to enter brumation, adding waxworms to its diet can be beneficial, because they will help it to gain weight, but they shouldn’t be fed too often.

Mealworms, on the other hand, are fine for your bearded dragon to consume as its main diet, and they don’t need to be saved as treats, provided the dragon is old enough to safely digest them.

What’s Better For Leopard Geckos, Waxworms Or Mealworms?

Once again, you should be feeding mealworms to your leopard gecko, not waxworms, at least for its main diet.

Leopard geckos tend to love waxworms, which might encourage you to feed them to them, but this is unfortunately a major issue with waxworms; the gecko will eat far too many of them.

Like a human eating junk food, this can be dangerous, and may lead to all kinds of health complications, especially if they eat little else that provides nutrition.

Waxworms are surprisingly low in terms of their nutritional content, but there is no doubt that leopard geckos love them, so it is fine to offer them as a treat occasionally, provided you are also giving them plenty of nutritious food to eat.

In general, geckos need to be fed on something like mealworms, silkworms, or crickets, which contain notably more nutritional value and will keep the reptile healthy.

Given that geckos do not eat any fruits or vegetables and their entire diet will come from the insects they eat, it’s really important to make sure the insects are suitable for them.

Overall, therefore, you really shouldn’t be feeding your leopard gecko waxworms except as an occasional treat, even if your gecko is very keen on them. Use them as a reward, and don’t over-feed these fatty worms to your gecko.


If you’re looking at mealworms vs waxworms in terms of reptile food, it’s pretty clear that mealworms tend to be the superior option unless you are trying to feed up a sick reptile or you have a youngster. Waxworms are much fattier, and therefore count as a kind of “junk food,” rather than being a balanced option that you can base your pet’s diet upon. However, if you want to choose between the two for angling, you will find waxworms are generally easier to hook and may work better as bait than mealworms, which have tough exoskeletons that are difficult to pierce.