Homemade Beetle Jelly: An Easy How-To Recipe

Beetle Jelly is the ultimate treat for many fruit eating bug pets or feeding insects. Although it is developed primarily for beetles, it is a treat for many others. Nowadays there is a large variety of different tastes and colours. It is almost sold the same way as dog treats. And it is not cheap too. But, do our crawlers actually need this jelly? And maybe more important: Can you make beetle jelly yourself?

You can easily make your own beetle jelly by adding fruits or vegetables to a mixture of water, sugar, honey and agar-agar powder. Although bug pets do not strictly need beetle jelly, this food source has many advantages. The biggest advantage is that it is easy food to provide when you are away for a couple of days.

You wouldn’t read this article if you were not wondering if beetle jelly works and why you feed it in the first place. Well, you probably know already that beetles and many other bug pets love it. So let’s dive more into why beetle jelly works and how you can make nutritious beetle jelly yourself.

Why feed beetle jelly in the first place?

Let’s get right to it: Do our crawling pets actually need beetle jelly? This question can be answered very briefly with a clear NO. But you would not read this article if you know that there is more to come, don’t you? And yes, there is more to it. Although it is not strictly necessary to feed and your pets can survive just fine without it, there are some major advantages to beetle jelly.

6 advantages of using beetle jelly

Beetle jelly has many perks compared to other food sources. What is the advantage of using beetle jelly?

  • It is easy to store (also in larger quantities) and doesn’t go to waste in a short time.
  • It is easy to feed and easy to refresh the food. You only have to remove the cup without searching for any leftovers in the enclosure. If you clean the cup, you can reuse it for the next portion.
  • It can be kept in terrariums for several days without fermenting. That way, it won’t cause a bad smell and will not attract fruit flies that quickly compared to feeding conventional fruit.
  • It is an easy food source for many bug species when you are away for a few days. Your bugs still have access to a nutritious food source.
  • If someone is ‘bug’ sitting when you are away, it is very easy for them to feed your bug species without much knowledge and room for error. You can make some beetle jelly in advance, and they only have to feed a cup every couple of days.
  • In contrast, as the name suggests, beetle jelly can be fed to more bugs than beetles alone: Millipedes, snails, fruit-eating ants, and many different feeder insects. It makes it easy for you and for someone that takes care of all your animals when you are away.

The downside of beetle jelly

That sounds probably very appealing to use only beetle jelly from now on. But there are some downsides to mention. First, you need to provide some variation in beetle jelly flavours; otherwise, there is a probability that your pets will get nutritional deficiencies. It is the same with only feeding them bananas. After a while, they require other food items as well.

Also, when you feed beetle jelly, they can become fixated on this food source. Sometimes they like beetle jelly so much that they only want that and may refuse other food items. Be careful not to overfeed them with only beetle jelly and keep them fed with different other food items.

Commercially available beetle jelly is rather expensive and on the package is not much information on what truly is in that mixture. But when you can store it for three years, it may give you some question marks if the content is really that healthy for your animals. But that’s why we wrote this article. When you make your own beetle jelly, you know exactly what is in it, and you still can store it for at least 2 months in the fridge.

Homemade beetle jelly: An easy recipe

In this recipe, we make a beetle jelly that has proven to be liked by all my beetles and other animals. You can make any flavour with the use of fruits or vegetables of your choice. The best would be to choose just one flavour and try another flavour the next time. This recipe will give you approximately 550ml of beetle jelly, enough to fill around 20 cups. You can store the beetle jelly in the fridge for several months.

Total preparation time :

15

Minutes

Average cost (per litre):

$4

What kitchen tools?

– Pan
– Measuring cup 
– Blender or mixing bowl
– Plastic sauce deli cups
– Whisk

What ingredients do you need?

– 120 grams of fruits & vegetables
– 350 grams of water
– 250 grams of sugar (preferably brown)
– 8 grams of Agar-Agar powder
– 1 tea spoon of honey

Steps to make the beetle jelly:

Step 1

Prepare ingredients. Cut 120 grams of fruit or vegetable into smaller pieces.

Step 2

Mixing the ingredients. Add the cut fruit or vegetable to the blender or mixing bowl, together with half the amount of water and honey, and mix it into a consistent sauce. If you do not have a blender, you can use a mixing bowl with a whisk and make a puree of it.

Step 3

Boil the mix. Empty the remaining water together with the mixed sauce into the pan, and add the sugar to the mix. While heating, stir up the mix so the sugar dissolves and it becomes one consistent mixture.

Step 4

Add Agar-Agar and cook. When the mixture starts almost cooking, add the Agar-Agar powder to the mixture and cook it for around 2 minutes until it becomes consistent and sticking.

Step 5

Let the mixture cool down. Take off the pan from the heat and let it cool down for about a minute while stirring the mixture.

Step 6

Pour mixture in cups or jar. The mixture is not ready to pour into the deli cups or in a glass jar (both should need to be closed off). Once all deli cups or glass jar are filled, you can let the mixture cool off entirely so that the mixture will firm up.

Step 7

Store beetle jelly in the fridge. When the mixture is cooled off completely, you can seal every deli cup or glass jar airtight, and you can place your beetle jelly in the fridge. You can store the beetle jelly for at least 2 months. Make sure you write the date on the deli cup before you store it.

Beetle jelly cup holders

Now you have your beetle jelly cups filled with delicious food. Now, you may wonder what the best way is to feed the beetle jelly? There are several ways how best you feed beetle jelly.

The easiest way is just to place the cup with beetle jelly on the substrate and carefully push it a bit in the substrate. That way, it won’t tilt when too many animals crawl on the cup from only one side.

But another way is to provide a cup holder to place your beetle jelly cup into. You don’t have to be afraid the cup will fall over with a cup holder and creates easy access for your animals to reach the beetle jelly. Although there are many cup holders available at pet shops that sell exotic animals (and often sell beetle jelly too), you can also easily make your own cup holder.

Just find a nice piece of wood (a thick branch or log cut in half) and drill some holes in it with a spade/paddle bit drill. You can make a beautiful natural looking design that matches perfectly in your enclosure.

Some additional notes about beetle jelly

  • It is best to let the beetle jelly warm up to room temperature before feeding it to your animals. Because it is normally stored in the fridge, it can cool down your animals when you provide it directly from the fridge.
  • You can play with your beetle jelly’s consistency by adding more or less Agar-Agar powder to your mixture. If you put less powder in it, it will be more fluid. If you add more powder to the mixture, it will be stiffing up more. However, not all animals like to have such firm beetle jelly.
  • Try to make some new flavours once in a while by adding other fruit or vegetables to your mixture.

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