Dear insect friends, people looking for feeder animals, web crawlers and the clueless!
This website particularly caters to people that are already familiar with our products through their hobby or job. However, we are of course also happy to cater to visitors that simply would like to learn more about insects or who would like to be amused and entertained for a while. There is a lot of image and text material available on this site that will allow you to enjoy an entertaining and fun-filled visit on our site! Simply click through the many different menu items that interest you.
What is BUGS-international?
BUGS-International is an officially approved business operation that also is a producer of primary foodstuff products. Naturally, the company is also officially registered as a feedstuffs producing business. It goes without saying that both areas fulfil all applicable EU requirements.
What does „BUGS“ mean in the company name?
„Bugs“ is an English terms used to refer mainly to beetles and other insects. In Germany, the term is rarely used – apart from in the IT sector where it refers to a glitch or programme error. In the area of breeding and the sale of living insects it has become a keyword synonymous with BUGS-International GmbH and therefore it has been trademark protected as a corporate keyword.
What does BUGS-international do?
BUGS-International breeds insects.
Most of our „products“ are used for feeding all types of animals, such as reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish and mammals.
Our high breeding standards also enable us to supply insects to the human food industry, the restaurant industry as well as various cooking courses including „show cooking events“. The focal point of our homepage is however mainly geared towards feeder insects.
From the ground up, BUGS-International is a family-owned and operated company. Throughout the years, the company has evolved from a small, private basement breeding ground to the largest insect breeding company in the world! (At least at this point in time we do not have any information about any other similarly sized or even larger business)
A more detailed company history can be found under the „THE HISTORY OF BUGS“ section.
What does BUGS-international supply?
BUGS-International offers a large selection of the most widely available types of feeder animals and insects. From the fruit fly to crickets and locust to so called „frozen rodents“. In addition, we can also supply our business customers with so-called „insects for exhibition purposes“ and other arthropods, e.g. tarantulas and scorpions or phasmids (ghost insects) and beetles.
BUGS-International breeds most of the offered feeder animals and insects itself, but to be honest, we do purchase some of the animal (e.g. mealworms and rodents) from third parties. Due to the expenses in terms of the sales volume and the expected sales price, in particular in relation to the required cost of energy and labour costs, production in Germany is not profitable.
Whom does BUGS-international supply?
BUGS-International only delivers from a certain minimum order volume. Usually, the company only supplies wholesale businesses and resellers. However, our customers also include zoos, federal institutions, universities, rescue and breeding centres, wholesale breeders and certain segments of the restaurant industry.
Generally speaking, BUGS-International only supplies customers who put a high value in the quality of the feeder insects and animals as well as in the reliability of supply, rather than just the price.
As an end consumer looking to buy good feeder insects for hungry mammals kept at home, you may purchase our insects from the zoo speciality shop located in your local DIY centre.
For the „consumer“, the bottom line is: You can take some time to peruse through this site, gain insight and even have a laugh or two – but you cannot purchase anything!
We wish you a wonderful visit to our site and hope that you will enjoy reading the abundance of informative material. And maybe you will chuckle at some of the cute or evil caricatures. We highly recommend reading the background information about the insects – it‘s definitely worth a read!
It would be our pleasure if we are able to provide you with a few amusing hours of entertainment.
The BUGS-international team
The most important thing is the well-being of the animals and insects.
That is the most basic statement in our corporate philosophy. Everything else is based on this fundamental basis. If the animals are fine, then so are we. Of course, this particularly applies to our insects and the other animals with which we maintain our breeding operations as well as for those with whom we surround ourselves at home.
Our insects should be motivated to „peak performance“ in the most natural way possible. In other words, we want the insects to breed and to be supplied with all required nutrients – without adding any synthetic growth promoters, performance-enhancing substances, hormones or prophylactic medication supplements such as sulphonamides and antibiotics.
At BUGS-International, we are able to achieve this by keeping the environmental conditions as optimal as possible. Based on our many years of experience, we know exactly what animal species are best suited for what temperatures and what specific diet keeps each species the most vital. This also applies to other environmental and climatic factors. Of course, a rigid and reliable control of the feed is an absolute must, since chemical traces of spray or other agricultural poisons are absolutely not permitted. Another pillar of our philosophy is constituted by
Cleanliness and Hygiene,
upon which we place significant value. These fundamental principles form the basis of the housing conditions in which the animals and insects feel so at home that the optimal conditions enable them to be in top physical condition.
You always end up paying more for buying „cheaper“
In its production, BUGS-International ALWAYS strives for excellent quality – in all areas of the company. It begins with the selection of the best feed and permeates every corner of the company – the use of the breeding and materials and, in addition, for all required machines.
We offer our customers the opportunity to get a personal impression of our production process by taking a guided tour of our facilities
The beginnings of BUGS-International took place at the end of the 1980s, when the terrarium industry was about as exotic as the animals and insects kept in them. Looking back, those years were laid-back and easy-going, with few constraints related to the housing of exotic animals. Of course, back then we had a lot less know-how and sources of information regarding the housing of many species.
During this period of time, a very enthusiastic friend of reptiles and amphibians – Georg Reitmaier – was living in the south of Germany and was so involved in his hobby that he was practically living in a home and zoo at the same time. It‘s what enthusiastic herpers do.
Back then, the majority of the well-tended animals were not a product of breeding, but were mainly caught in the wild and were therefore very sensitive creatures. The equipment such as basins, terrariums, decorations and technology was largely self-made and collected and often objects were „misused“ since the offer of equipment for sale was not comparable with what is available today. And, of course, the diversity, regularity and volume of live feeder animals available for sale was not nearly as opulent as bugs lovers have come to know today.
During this time, Georg Reitmaier shared his home with about 60 species of amphibians and reptiles. The keeping and breeding success that he was intent on achieving – and that came with time – was however often interrupted and dampened by regularly occurring failures and setbacks. Finding out what had led to these failures was intense and required lots of dedication, but it was often all for naught. (For general recollection: back then, nobody knew what the „Internet“ was)
But life has a funny way of working: Just as he wanted to give up, he met Professor Dr. Hoffmann from the University of Munich‘s School of Veterinary Medicine. This man was interested in the existing issues and introduced the theory that the source of that the constantly recurring disasters was possibly due to diet. After the corresponding analyses were performed, this hunch was actually confirmed: the feeder insects served were literally covered with germs!
This discovery proved to reignite the ambition. However, it was quickly clear that the situation was „un-favour-able“ due to additional adversities:
the possibility existed to purchase feeder animals or even to subscribe to a service, but often deliveries would not arrive due to unfavourable weather conditions or simply due to breeding problems.
At this point in time, Georg Reitmaier made a momentous decision in his life: to breed his own feeder animals! To him, it appeared to be the only prudent decision in order to offer his mammals regular, opulent and healthy meals and therefore to also be able to continue properly pursuing his „animalistic“ hobby.
From today‘s point of view it does not appear that difficult to breed a few feeder insects, but this is deceiving, since – even despite all of the available knowledge – it remains a challenging task in order to operate a both successful and permanent breeding. Today as then, breeding insects remains a science in itself. This was certainly more relevant back in the day than it is now, since today we have access to much more information. And of course, just like at the beginning of any project, many, many other problems arose for which a solution had to be found. However, at some point things started getting better.
Georg Reitmaier was able to feed his animals in the terrarium with his own feeder insects and – wouldn‘t you know it – the first changes due to the altered diet were quickly visible. The keeping and breeding success increased exponentially! Initially, the first customers were friends and acquaintances, but the reproduction rate of the frogs, lizards and snakes was so high that the local zoo specialist shop could be regularly supplied. The feedback was so good that the question arose how come the insect offspring were so robust and agile. This quickly led to discussions about the breeding of feeder animals, which led to the receipt of the first small orders for feeder insects.
Career-wise, Georg Reitmaier wanted to take some time off, and since the offspring business for reptiles and amphibians was doing so well, he was very content on earning his money in a more stress-free manner than had been possible in his previous profession.
Fundamentally, the idea itself was not wrong. However, at that moment of serenity he apparently forgot his ambition and, in particular, his proverbial perfectionism. Demand for his product increased dramatically and of course this demand had to be met. The success was contagious and business grew.
Bringing home the bacon was neither an easy nor a comfortable undertaking; in the years of the company‘s rapid growth, there were absolutely no free days, despite all of the optimistic forecasts. In addition, the daily workload often resulted in 12-hour days. And, of course, the dreaded „problem-solving“ days often meant 20-hour workdays in order to keep the breeding of feeder animals from collapsing and to keep the business going. Essentially the company was dealing with „live products“ that always had to be well provided for, that continuously reproduced (in a best case scenario), and that could never be left alone. In other words: „Looking after a bag full of fleas“ ... but instead of fleas, stirred-up crickets and more than just one bag full. (For the native English-speakers: A German phrase tells „It is easier to guard a sack of fleas than..“ - for example - „...watch your kids“)
After a short period of time, the basement turned out to be far too cramped. Furthermore, what began as a hobby had suddenly become a commercial enterprise. Soon thereafter a 400 m2 facility was leased.
Within the course of just a few years, the demand for the products grew exceptionally so that even the new facility proved to be too small. In 2003, the company decided to build a 2,000 m2 facility in a local business park.
A significant advantage in doing this was the ability to plan the architecture of the building, and therefore being able to take special requirements for insect breeding into consideration.
Georg Reitmaier drew on all of his previous expertise and know-how in order to create a plan for his new building. The planning also enabled him to set up a large-scale locust breeding facility that was both stable and continuous. (A note for laymen: the ongoing locust breeding is one of the supreme disciplines in this industry!)
Although the production area and therefore the number of insects had now increased fivefold, the demand remained so strong that from May 2006 through December 2007 the facility was expanded and enlarged. When all was said and done, the facility had an area of 10,000 m2.
It must also be mentioned that the outdoor area is not included in this number. The outdoor area also includes a large field from which BUGS-international can harvest fresh greens during the summer months – greens that are guaranteed to be free of pesticides! In the winter months, the required feeding plants grow in our own, specially constructed climate-controlled halls.
During this entire development and throughout the years, the original idea and the priorities of the company that had now grown into the „BUGS-international Group“ have never changed: to provide the best conditions and food for the feeder animals in the most natural way possible. (Also see the section: „BUGSosophy“). The reasonable approach as to why one would even breed these feeder insects themselves remains the same now as it was during the company‘s early years.
And there you have it in a nutshell – the story of how a little „screwball“ went down into the basement to breed a few fruit flies and came back upstairs as a business owner!
A „one-man show“ developed into a corporation. Today, BUGS-international employs about 130 people. The board of management has been newly segmented; from the original breeding of fruit flies in a private basement, the BUGS-international Group was born.
From highly qualified professional experts to unskilled workers – over the course of the company‘s growth and expansion, anyone who wanted to find a good job found one here. BUGS-International currently employs approx. 130 people.
BUGS-international is happy to support its customers in any way possible. For example, if a zoo speciality shop wants to do more in order to help optimise the welfare of the delivered feeder animals. If there are problems that cannot be solved over the phone, BUGS-International will also make an on-site visit in order to assess the issues. Even if regulatory problems should arise in terms of our feeder animals, we will gladly help to remedy these.
Within the scope of its ongoing training and education measures, BUGS-international has held training seminars on its premises for the qualified personnel working in zoological departments within larger retail stores. With a total number of no more than 15 participants per training seminar, an amusing and informative event was put together. During the seminar, the specialist zoo personnel learned a lot about the production of feeder insects and their handling „on the shelf“ as well as with the end customer – the finest form of infotainment! The participants were able to apply this newly acquired knowledge in a test and win an original BUGS participant certificate!
We do not only offer tours to our existing customers. Other interested groups such as those from DGHT (German Society for Herpetology and Herpetoculture) and other terraria associations have also visited our premises. However, even for „non-industry“ groups, such as rod and gun clubs, music clubs and athletic associations or even special needs groups, school groups and kindergarten groups that have interest in visiting our breeding facilities are more than welcome to visit and tour our grounds.
We should also take a moment to mention the teams of reporters who have previously visited our premises. Due to the subject matter and the environment in which we work, from the very first day the reports as well as the articles and interviews always turn out to be very entertaining.
It has often occurred that within the scope of these events, the head of the company cooks for his guests. Of course, the meal always includes various delicious insect „side dishes“ from our very own production!
The social commitment of BUGS-international is not only limited to its own production and the industry, but is also reflected in projects and campaigns throughout the local community. This way, BUGS-international also supports kindergartens, schools, sheltered workshops and other social organisations