Bearded dragons make excellent pets, but feeding them can be a bit difficult for some owners. These reptiles generally eat live insects in the wild, and many dragon owners prefer to feed them the same way. But if dealing with live crickets, mealworms, grasshoppers, and other crawly or jumpy insects doesn’t excite you, you need another option.
We wanted to see which of the dry dragon treats was going to keep our beardies the happiest, so we ordered as many as we could find and put them to the test. After trying them all out, we’ve got a great idea of which ones the dragons like.
To help you keep your dragons as happy as possible, we’re going to share our findings with you in the following seven reviews. Hopefully, this will save you the time and money of trying all these yourself and discovering the ones your dragon won’t touch!
A Quick Comparison (updated in 2022)
|Best Overall||Fluker's 5 Star Medley||
|Best Value||Fluker's Buffet Blend Adult||
|Premium Choice||Zilla Reptile Munchies Mealworms||
|TradeKing Black Soldier Fly Larvae||
|Hatortempt Dried Crickets||
The 7 Best Insects for Bearded Dragons
1. Fluker’s 5 Star Medley Freeze-Dried Mealworms – Best Overall
Most of the foods we tried for this list came as a single insect in a large quantity. The Fluker’s 5-Stary medley Freeze-Dried Mealworms takes a different approach, combining several of a bearded dragon’s favorite foods together into one snack that any dragon is sure to love.
Packed with mealworms, grasshoppers, and crickets, this medley packs in a lot of nutrition thanks to its diverse protein sources. It’s also bursting with flavor for your dragon so it won’t get bored eating the same insect every day.
To enhance this product even further, these insects are enriched with vitamins and freeze-dried to preserve their flavor and nutrition. Our only complaint is that the jar is so small! All of our dragons seemed to love this snack, so we wish it was available in much larger quantities.
2. Fluker’s Buffet Blend Adult Bearded Dragon Food – Best Value
If whole insects are just too much for you, even freeze-dried, or if you’re just looking for a small nutritional snack you can easily add to the other foods your dragon is currently eating, we suggest the Fluker’s Buffet Blend Adult Bearded Dragon Food. It’s one of the cheapest dragon foods we’ve seen, but it’s still a complete and balanced meal for your dragon.
Because it’s a blend, this food is loaded with essential vitamins and nutrients from a variety of sources, including mealworms and crickets. With a minimum of 29% crude protein, it’s easy to see why we think these are some of the best insects and bugs for bearded dragons for the money.
Each dragon will have its own preferences, and several of ours preferred not to eat this blend. Granted, they’re some of our pickiest eaters, to begin with. But it’s worth noting that this wasn’t the most popular food with our dragons, though most of them did respond well.
3. Zilla Reptile Munchies Mealworms – Premium Choice
If you want to provide your dragon with whole insects but you don’t want them wriggling around when you do, then the Reptile Munchies Mealworms from Zilla are a great choice. These dehydrated mealworms are packed with protein and other vital nutrients to keep your dragon in peak health.
With just shy of four ounces worth of dried mealworms in a bag, this package is sure to last for quite a while. It costs a bit more than some of the other options we tested, but you also get a larger quantity, so these mealworms offer a good price per serving in the end.
We like that these worms are 100% natural and provide our dragons with the benefits of eating whole insects. They’re also easy to store with no refrigeration required. But not all of our dragons were interested in eating these worms.
- Related Read: Best Worms for Bearded Dragons
4. TradeKing Black Soldier Fly Larvae
Crickets, mealworms, and grasshoppers tend to be some of the most common insects we feed our bearded dragons, but they’re not the only options available. TradeKing’s Black Soldier Fly Larvae is a unique alternative that can offer your dragon something a little bit different while still meeting all of its nutritional needs.
Black soldier fly larvae are higher in calcium than most other insects. They’re also packed with the other vital nutrients your dragon needs, like fiber and protein. This package even comes with a money-back guarantee, which can provide some peace of mind if you’re unsure whether or not your dragon will like this new treat.
Expect to pay a bit more for black soldier fly larvae than other bearded dragon foods. This one is pretty expensive, but it does come in a sizable bag that should feed your dragon for a while. If it were a bit less expensive, then it might start being a more common dragon food.
5. Hatortempt Dried Crickets
If you prefer to purchase your pets’ food in bulk to save time and money, the Hatortempt Dried Crickets come in a five-pound package that should keep your dragon fed for the foreseeable future. But you can only get it in large quantities, for smaller amounts, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
The larger quantity of these crickets comes with an added investment cost upfront. But the benefit of buying in bulk is that you’re spending much less per serving and you won’t need to think about getting more food anytime soon.
We like to feed our dragons whole insects like the Hatortempt Dried Crickets so we know they’re getting the adequate nutritional value from their food. But five pounds of crickets will take a long time to go through, and they must be stored safely for that whole time, which can be a hassle. We’d prefer it if these were available in smaller quantities of a pound or maybe two. Five pounds is just a bit too much.
6. Sequoia Freeze Dried Grasshopper
Grasshoppers are bigger than crickets or mealworms, so they can be a great choice for feeding larger bearded dragons. They’re not optimal for babies or juveniles, but it can simplify feeding adults since you won’t need to provide nearly as many grasshoppers as you would other insects.
These grasshoppers are freeze-dried for easy storage. They’re still whole, so your dragon won’t be missing out on anything that a live grasshopper has to offer, including the essential nutrients like fiber contained by these insects.
Of course, your dragon can get fiber and other nutrients from many different food sources, and these grasshoppers are one of the more expensive choices. You’ll pay more upfront, and considering the small quantity you’ll receive, you’re also paying more per serving than with many of the other insects we’ve fed our dragons.
7. Diig Dried Crickets
These Dried Crickets from Diig are whole insects for your dragon to enjoy. They’re 100% natural and stored in a zip-lock package to keep them fresh. They’ll store safely for up to 12 months, ensuring that your dragon will get the full nutrition available from each cricket.
We’ve tried several different dried crickets, but these ones weren’t a hit. For some reason, our dragons didn’t seem to like them. Only a few would eat them, the rest were adamant about their refusal. After taking a closer look, we wonder if the harsh odor could have something to do with it. These crickets smelled much stronger than others we’ve fed to our dragons, and it wasn’t pleasant.
We were also surprised at the poor price per serving provided by the Diig Dried Crickets. You only get eight ounces in a bag that costs several times what some of the other insects we tried cost. You can purchase them in larger quantities, but for us, the value just wasn’t there.
In the wild, bearded dragons have no choice but to catch their own food, the same as all other wild animals. As a dragon keeper, you can choose to feed your dragons as they would eat in the wild, or you can opt for a method that’s easier for you, like freeze-dried or dehydrated food. This way, you can still feed your dragon the whole insects that would make up its food regimen naturally, but without dealing with swarms of live insects.
Feeding Your Bearded Dragon Dried Food
Before you pick a dried insect food to try with your dragon, it’s important to clarify the benefits and drawbacks of feeding your dragon dried food.
Benefits of Feeding Dried Food to Bearded Dragons
Feeding live insects to a bearded dragon can be quite a hassle, which is why many look to dried alternatives. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages that feeding your dragon dried food offers over live feeding.
Easier to Store
Let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to keep a bag of 100 dead crickets than it is to keep just 10 live ones. This is because live insects pose all sorts of issues, starting with keeping them alive!
But dried insects are already dead. You don’t have to feed them, water them, or do anything. Just let them sit there in the bag and they’ll be waiting when it’s feeding time.
No Live Insects in Your Home!
In normal daily life, if you see an insect in your home, you’re likely going to kill it. Most of us work hard to avoid having insects in our homes. But when caring for a bearded dragon, it’s not uncommon to bring bags full of these living pests into your home voluntarily.
What happens if those insects escape? That’s going to be a lot of fun! Imagine, a dozen crickets spread throughout your house. With chirping emanating from a dozen different places in the middle of the night, you’ll likely be driven crazy!
Dried insects clearly can’t escape and cause a mess or an annoyance, making them a much easier solution.
Insects escaping into your home is one mess, but it’s not the only mess associated with feeding your dragons live insects. You also have to keep those insects alive so they can be fed to your lizard. This requires food, water, and housing. Since insects like to eat fruits and scraps you may have leftover, this can become quite a mess to contend with.
But dried insects require no cleanup and no care. They can just sit on the shelf until you’re ready to feed them to your dragon.
Easy to Vary Their Diet
Keeping several types of insects alive to feed your dragon a varied diet can prove difficult. But with dried insects, you can simply keep several bags of different types of bugs to feed your dragon. This makes it easy to feed them different food sources every meal, or even just as a treat to mix things up.
Drawbacks of Feeding Dried Food to Bearded Dragons
Everything in life has a tradeoff, and feeding your bearded dragon is no different. While it may be convenient and simple to purchase dried insects to provide to your pet, there are some definite drawbacks to doing so.
Not All Dragons Respond Well to Dried Food
In the wild, your dragon would never find, let alone eat a freeze-dried or dehydrated insect. Since it’s not a natural part of their diet, many dragons may not respond well to dried food.
Some dragons will eat a live mealworm with no qualms, but won’t touch a dried one. This is just a matter of preference since bearded dragons, like all other creatures, are going to have likes and dislikes that vary from dragon to dragon. However, you can generally be sure that a dragon will eat live insects. It’s a guessing game whether or not they’ll eat dried ones, so you’ll need to test them on your dragons to see.
Live Food Has More Nutrients
There’s no denying that live food has far more nutrients than any freeze-dried or dehydrated substitute. While these can still offer some nutritional benefits for your dragon, live insects are always going to offer more complete nutrition.
One way to mitigate this is by feeding your dragons a mix of both live insects and dried ones. This will help you avoid always dealing with the hassles of live insects while still providing your dragon with the vital nutrients it needs.
Hunting Can Entertain Your Dragon
Bearded dragons are natural hunters. In captivity, they don’t have many activities to keep them busy. But hunting can offer a great way for them to keep their senses sharp while getting some much-needed exercise and physical stimulation. Plus, it’s just plain enjoyable for most dragons. They love to get a chance to practice their hunting prowess, but feeding freeze-dried foods robs them of this opportunity.
- Related Read: How to Choose the Right Cage Size for Bearded Dragons
While feeding your bearded dragon live insects can be fun and entertaining, it can also be a hassle to keep so many live insects in your home. While looking for easier alternatives, we discovered several freeze-dried and dehydrated insects that our dragons loved. Our reviews compared some of the top choices, but we’re going to quickly summarize our recommendations once more so they’re fresh in your mind.
Our favorite overall was the Fluker’s 5-Star Freeze-Dried Medley. Its blend of crickets, grasshoppers, and mealworms, offers varied and complete nutrition for your dragons in a flavorful snack that they’re unlikely to get bored of.
If you’re looking for the lowest-cost way to keep your dragons full and healthy, we recommend the Fluker’s Buffet Blend Adult Bearded Dragon Food. This food offers a complete and balanced meal that’s loaded with essential vitamins and minerals for an affordable price.
The Zilla Reptile Munchies Mealworms was our premium choice. These dehydrated mealworms offer an easy way to provide your dragon with the nutrition of whole insects without dealing with any wriggling or jumping creatures that can escape into your home.
Featured Image Credit By: Dudley Simpson, shutterstock