BugCo. BugBox: Cricket convenience, or killer death evil bad? An objective review.

I have some pet toads. I like feeding them, but I’ve been travelling a considerable distance for store-bought crickets. I did a search for closer pet supply stores, and found one with an interesting product: BugCo.’s BugBox.

It’s a neat little thing. It was actually stored among the merchandise, but it was a small box of 25-30 crickets with a bit of “wafoo” in the box, which is apparently a proprietary cricket feed that keeps them sustained while in their packaging, and pre-gutloaded, making them ready for consumption by reptiles. Yes, the crickets were live.

I decided to give the product a try. The box of 25-30 only set me back $2.99 plus tax, which was okay considering that I was paying 10 cents a cricket at the other place, and those ones were plainly starved. When I would place the loose crickets in the keeper, they’d go for the Fluker’s feed as though they hadn’t eaten for days. On the other hand, the crickets in the BugBox seemed content. I had placed some of the Fluker’s High Calcium Cricket Diet and Fluker’s Cricket Quencher that I had on hand into the BugBox (I didn’t know what “wafoo” was, so I wanted to be sure they were well-fed). The crickets in the BugBox didn’t seem nearly as hungry.

The BugBox has a perforated pattern on the side designated as a “Pencil Punch Out” and next to it were the simple instructions to “Place in Vivarium”, which suggests to me that once the opening was made, the crickets would dispense themselves. I decided to give it a try.

It didn’t take a couple toads long to find out what was going on, and they went right up to the opening of the box. One of them (named Big Buf) would eat the crickets just as they came out of the container. Another one (named Herbert) was hiding somewhere in the vivarium, so with Big Buf eating them as they were coming out, there was little chance that Herbert would get any. So I opened a side of the box and shaked some crickets out. As crickets often do when dispensed in such a manner, some of them looked for hiding spots, so they’d probably come out again at a later point, effectively dispensing themselves at a time of their choice.

I actually expected to find some dead crickets in the BugBox when I opened it to check after the live ones were out. I had found an exoskeleton, which was apparently the result of shedding, which is something that crickets do. Aside from that, I didn’t see any sign of crickets having died in the packaging.

I decided to try to find out just what “wafoo” was, but after a Google search, I didn’t find an explanation. I’d like to know what it is, considering that what goes into the feeder crickets I take home in turn goes into my toads. If I were to know about it’s nutritional content, that would be okay.

What I found was that not everyone had the same experience with the BugBox that I did. Some complained that crickets were starving and/or eating each other. This was odd, was there wafoo in the box, or not? Some complained that some of the crickets died in the box. Personally, I think this may be a sign of carelessness on the part of the retailer rather than a fault with the product itself, which some reviewers apparently could have likened to some sort of buggy-Auschwitz. Sometimes, in spite of efforts to ensure otherwise, feeder crickets do die. This is true whether they come in the BugBox or are purchased in bulk. Yes, crickets can die in the BugBox, and it’s much more likely to occur when sitting on a store shelf for a while.

As far as the dichotomy mentioned in the title is concerned, the BugBox is certainly a cricket convenience. I’d think that pet supply clerks would prefer it, considering how time-consuming and poorly-rewarding it would be to spend a significant amount of time counting crickets into small plastic bags with bits of egg carton. I know that if I had a degree in English, Psychology or Philosophy, I’d want to do something different for a living. With the BugBox, the clerk can spend more time with the kittens and puppies, and I can pick up some crickets without worrying about whether the shipment of fresh crickets actually didn’t come in, or the clerk is just making an excuse because she doesn’t want to count them again.

That is, when the BugBox is in stock.

Score: 8/10

I wouldn’t mind giving the BugBox a score of 9/10, but there is something that bothers me about it just a little. I still don’t know what exactly wafoo is, or what it’s nutritional value may be. Other than that, it’s an excellent product, but I’d be a little concerned about buying it from pet supply stores that aren’t so negligent.

Pros:

  • Seriously convenient
  • Crickets are already fed
  • A bargain at $3 for 25-30 crickets, though the price may vary
  • In-box design gives crickets plenty of room without standing on each other, and there’s a plastic window to view them.

Cons:

  • Wafoo is still a mystery substance
  • Careless retailers may result in dead crickets, though to be fair, it does still happen.

12 thoughts on “BugCo. BugBox: Cricket convenience, or killer death evil bad? An objective review.

  1. David Lenig

    well this is what i found about “wafoo” this is an excerpt from an interview with someone associated with the bugbox company…

    Haukom: We’ve developed a product called WaFoo, which is a combination of water and food that is placed inside the cricket box to extend the life and vitality of everything in the box. It’s a long-term feeding system. WaFoo gives the cricket essential nutrients, extends the shelf life up to two weeks, separates wet from dry and lowers microbial counts.

    What we are trying to do with pre-packs is to get quality nutrients into crickets–continual access to a high-quality food and water source without gaps in freight or at retail. That’s why pre-packs will grow; they are a better nutritious feeder. It’s better for reptiles.
    – See more at: http://petbusiness.com/articles/2009-08-01/Bug-Bites#sthash.nuOhKM5v.dpuf

    Reply
  2. jedimunky

    I am not sure if I’d buy this again. I got it for my baby bearded dragon and almost every cricket that was inside the box came out of the little door opening. Now I have like 20 crickets in my tank that my dragon can’t eat. That is not safe for my baby dragon. Now to figure out how to get them back in the box….

    Reply
    1. Tammy

      I love these things. Our beardie figured things out pretty quickly and sits by the door and nabs the crickets as they crawl out. When he loses interest, we seal up the door with a small piece of duct tape and take the container out of the tank. Now, if they could just breed silent crickets, the world would be perfect. 🙂 The chirping drives my dogs (and husband) nuts.

      Reply
  3. Andrew

    However convenient this may seem, it can come with serious consequences with other cricket eating pats. I keep various species of mantids and within two days, some of these crickets had given a few of my mantids a bad bacterial infection. It killed two of them, both females or tropical species. All vomited constantly, however these bacteria are only deadly to inverts, so your reptiles should be safe.

    Reply
  4. Jared Klena

    OK..so..I purchased the cricket box today. Cool idea! I thought the little “wafoo” things were water sponges and added some water to them and came back half hour later to more than half of my crickets dead or dying. Hmmm…the “wafoo” turned to a gluish substance but not dure what it was that killed off the crickets . It was very strange…Do Not Add Water to mystery wafoo. It was like a bug bomb.

    Reply
    1. Raizen Post author

      Hi Jared,
      Thanks for sharing your experience. While I don’t know for sure what killed your crickets, one thing I learned from experience is that crickets can drown very easily, even with just a little moisture. If one were to water their crickets by placing a small dish with water in their keeper, one can come back later to find that some have drowned in it (like most insects, crickets breathe through their skin, so even partial submersion or even a quick spraying with water can drown them quickly).

      While Wafoo might not be ideal cricket food, it typically keeps them fed and watered by itself. If you wish to feed them well (and in so doing pass that wellness on to your reptiles), orange slices work great. Some pet supply stores stock a Fluker’s product that resembles mashed-up jello that is made for watering crickets without drowning them.

      Reply
      1. Kenny

        The problem with Fluker’s cricket quencher, is that it’s made of Polyacrylamide Copolymer. It’s the same stuff landscapers use to plant new shrubs and trees because it holds up to 300 times its weight in water. The crickets don’t drink, they eat this stuff to get their moisture. It does not break down in the gut, so when your pet eats the cricket, they are eating the polymer as well. No thanks, I’ll pass. And thanks to BugCo for not using it!!

        Reply
  5. CRYSTAL

    Can anyone tell me what the purpose of the yellow thing that comes in the box, is it harmful if my beardie ate a piece of it.

    Reply
    1. Raizen Post author

      Hello Crystal,

      It’s likely that the yellow thing is a bit of Wafoo that got loose. It’s intended for nutrition for crickets, and is likely completely harmless to your reptile if accidentally ingested. If it ate some and you’re concerned, keep a close eye on it. I’m not a reptile professional (nor am I a reptile at all, for that matter), so my advice on this matter doesn’t really carry much weight. But be ready for a trip to the vet if something goes wrong.

      Reply
  6. LRG

    Anyone else find that the BugBox! doesn’t contain nearly the number of crickets claimed on the box? My regular pet store was out of crickets and I found the BugBox! at a pet store I don’t usually go to. Had a hard time finding a box where I could even see any crickets in it. Finally found one, but once home just out of curiosity opened the box into my larger cricket keeper. Rather than the 50-60 sm/med advertised on the box, there were 26 (plus or minus 2) sm/med crickets. No dead ones either. This makes BugBox! crickets about double what I pay at my regular pet store. Unless you cut the box open and count them seems like it might be hard to tell if you got the advertised amount, which could lead to some pretty hungry herps and a pretty nice profit for the BugBox! company.

    Reply
    1. GLENN TROESTER

      50-60??! I shelter very small wild snakes — that were born or hatched very late in the season — late Oct. to mid november — over the winter so they don’t starve or freeze here in the Colorado Rockies. I use a lot of Bug Box and I have never found one that had more than 25-30 small or medium crickets. And it says so right on the box.

      Reply

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