How To Make Your Own Dried Mealworms?

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Dried mealworms are nowadays being widely used to feed chicken, reptiles, fish, rodents and other pet animals. If you have some pets in your home, it is crucial for you to make your own dried mealworms as buying them can be expensive in the long run.

You just set up your own structure to garden worms. It is less expensive compared to buying dried mealworms from the shop.

The following is the procedure for making your own dried mealworms:

Setup

1. First gather the supplies

  • Dry oatmeal, or cornmeal.
  • Three containers with air-holes drilled in the tops.
  • An organic source of moisture that does not mold quickly. Carrots work best for this, but other fruits and vegetables such as sliced or chopped potatoes or apples are also good.
  • Mealworms, also best known as a darkling beetle larva. You can begin with anywhere from 500 to 1000.
  • Several bits of cardboard or used toilet paper rolls.

2. Pour one-inch layer of oats or cornmeal into the bottom of each plastic that you had collected. This will serve as the bedding and food for the growing mealworms.

3. Put some vegetable slices into each of the bin. You may use any type of fruit or vegetable for this case. You can use celery, lettuce, apples or even potatoes. Carrots are normally considered the best as they take longer before they develop molds and rot. If you decide to use sources of moisture, you need to make sure that you replace them more often.

4. You then put the live mealworms into one of the containers. Some farmers add slices of bread to the mix. There are also those who use ground up cereal and dry dog food.

5. Put a few pieces of cardboard or toilet rolls on top of the oats. This is because developing mealworms normally enjoy staying in the darkness.

6. Label all the containers clearly. One of the containers will be for the mealworms at the larva stage the other one for the pupa and the last one for the adult beetles.

7. You then cover all the containers and place them in a dark area with warm. The reason for this is that warmth fastens up the process of the life cycle of mealworms and so will pupate faster if they are placed in a warm place. Developing mealworms also prefer staying in the darkness than in the light. Therefore, you need to place them in the darkness so that they develop comfortably.

Upkeep

1. Maintain the containers from time to time. Some farmers like to check the progress of the mealworms on a daily basis. There are also those who check them only once per week.

  • When checking them, you need to make sure that you remove any rotting material, clumps of mold from the oatmeal. You also need to remove dead insects from the container.
  • You also need to make sure that you add vegetables and oatmeal substrate as required. you also make sure that you turn the beddings to prevent molds from growing.

2. Check the pupa in the mealworm habitat. Depending on the temperature you put your mealworms, and the age of the mealworms when you bought them, the process of transformation from the larva stage to the pupa stage takes approximately one week to a couple of months.

  • The maturity of the mealworm is shown by the gradual darkening of the color in every stage of the life cycle.
  • Pupa usually starts off with extreme pale white color and more so look like curled up beetles than the normal segmented worms.
  • When monitoring them, you will notice that mealworms shed of their skin many times before becoming pupa. You need not to worry about this as it is normal for the mealworm to molt.

3.    Separate the pupa as soon as you see them. If it becomes hard for you to separate them, you are advised to use tweezers.

  • Pupa normally does not move around and also do not require food. Also, moisture does not hurt them. But when you give them food, you need to ensure that you place the food away from the moisture as pupa do not eat food which is in moisture.
  • Larva are separated from the adults because the larva can be eaten easily by the adults and therefore, denied the chance to survive.
  • Pupa stage normally takes about one to several weeks depending on the temperature you put your mealworms. When they are ready to hatch, you will know that as they at that time begin to darken in color.

4.    Continue monitoring the two containers for advances in the life cycle

Monitoring is important as you will be having more insects at various stages of the development of the mealworm.

5.    Immediately remove adults from the pupa container. This is because the adult beetles will start feeding on the mealworms at the pupa stage if they are not removed immediately.

  • You need to place the adult beetles into a separate container with the same the same set up as the mealworms. You can even add more oatmeal for them to have more room to nest.

6.    Regularly check the adult beetles for eggs. Adult beetles will more often bear eggs and you, therefore, need to check them from time to time.

  • Ensure that you remove the eggs. More of eggs normally serve as an indication that there will be more larva soon.
  • Adult females normally bear about 500 eggs at a time.
  • The eggs will hatch within 4-19 days depending on the temperature of the place where they are in.

7.    Remove the mealworms from the adult beetle container and into the mealworm container upon hatching. Actually, you will have a lot of things to do as females lays so many eggs at once.

8.    Maintain the habitat regularly. This includes changing the food and the moisture sources, ensuring that the insects are separated accordingly, removing the dead insects from the container and also regularly turning the bedding.

9.    Dry the mealworms

There are various means to dry the mealworms. You can use either of the following ways;

  • Gas or electric oven
  • Freeze-drying equipment
  • Dehydrator
  • Powdered calcium supplement or any other mineral supplement or vitamin
  • If you notice that you are producing more mealworms than you need, you can freeze some and eat them yourself. You should never release them to the wild. You can also use some pupae to feed the adult beetles or even place extra mealworms into the bird feeder in your yard.

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