What you may be asking yourself right now probably is ‘’
what are mealworms’’ you might actually be surprised when you realize that
mealworms aren’t worms. Mealworms are just larvae of the darkling beetle.
Just like the way a caterpillar turns into a butterfly
during its life stages, darkling beetles also changes into mealworms after
which it changes into pupa and finally into darkling mealworm larvae. Dried
mealworms are just but mealworms that have been dried through various means
like heating or freeze-drying.
Mealworms are normally used as food for a wide variety of animals including birds, poultry, hedgehogs and fish. And so many other pet animals. Most people now days use mealworms to attract birds.
The good thing with mealworms is that they are the best food to feed any bird or pet at your home. But why are mealworms loved by many people that some have even opted to make garden worms in their homes?
Mealworms are 100% natural
The basic diet of mealworms is normally vegetables, cereals
and grain. Though the composition of each batch of mealworm can vary. Most of
them are 100% natural. What makes the natural composition of mealworms to vary
is normally the age at which the mealworms were dried, the type of drying
process that was used and also the size of the mealworm.
Usually, a typical mealworm contains 5% moisture, 6% fiber, 28 % fat and 53% protein. The primary diet of mealworm being vegetable, cereals, and grain, it is, therefore, natural and good for animals and that is the reason why it is loved by so many people.
They are easily available in bulk
The packaging of mealworms available varies from 11 billion
bags to multiple pallet loads. Dried mealworms packages normally vary from 11
bags and above. Whether you are buying mealworms for birds, fish or turtles,
the dried ones will be the best one for you.
Listings information for mealworm packages are normally
available online. Normally, it is 11lb, 22lb, 33lb, 44lb and even up to 66lbs.
Packaging is normally done in multiples of 11. You can even get more packages
than the ones above and take advantage of bulk discounts when buying mealworms.
They are easy to dry
If you decide to produce mealworms in your home, you may find that you produce more than you can use. In this case, you may be forced to preserve them for future use. Drying will help to reduce the storage space.
Dried mealworms can stay good without the need for refrigeration for up to one year. Its proteins are also better preserved when they bare dried. The best method to dry them normally is roasting though you can also use the freeze-dry method.
They are excellent with the poultry
Mealworms may look terrible to us but to chicken, they are
appealing at all. To the poultry, they are tasty as a home cooked meal cooked
by the one who loved you. To them, they have a sweet taste that they can even
drive your animals wild with the lust for more. Actually, mealworm is good for
the chicken because of the following reasons;
goes a long way. You do not have to use a lot of mealworms to make the entire
chicken meal. You just use a little, and there you have your chicken meal.
They give chicken proteins to improve their
They help chicken go through the molting season.
They ensure that chicken develops its feathers within the shortest time
Rich protein value of the mealworms makes the
chicken lay eggs rich in protein.
Mealworms reduce the stress of turning the
bedding as they will do it themselves.
It is just exciting to see how eggs scramble and
Your chicken will fall in love with you
It is easy to care for the mealworms
Caring for the mealworm
Caring for the mealworms is easy. First of all, mealworms
are not complicated in their choice of food. In fact, the food they eat is the
bedding that they lie on. You just put cereals or grain in their home.
You are not supposed to put water in their beddings to keep
them dehydrated. You only give them food with water to keep them
dehydrated. You give them food like
potatoes and carrots. You also need to change their vegetable after five to
When it comes to shelter, mealworms need to be housed in a container which is 8 cm deep. The material of the container should be smooth like plastic, metal or even glass. The reason for that is that mealworms can easily escape from the container and therefore, anything that can help them escape should be avoided.
You are also not supposed to put the lid on the container as they cannot fly. You can only use the lid to avoid spilling over of the mealworms. But when you do that, you need to make sure that you make holes for ventilation.
Caring for the life stages
When caring for the life stages, you need only to make sure that you don’t keep the stages close together. The reason for this is that as the metamorphosis progresses, the larvae and the mature beetle may end up eating the defenseless and the immobile pupa.
The pupa should, therefore, be stored in a different container which should be lined with a paper towel. Mealworms at this stage do not require any food. It is normally good to store mealworms at different stages at their ideal conditions, but that could be cumbersome.
To collect the poops from the mealworms which are normally in sandy form is easy. You just place a sieve, and the poop will fall through together with the eggs as they are very small.
You can decide to make a colony by storing the poop separately with food and vegetable up to the point when larvae are big enough to pick out.
When harvesting them, you just need to separate them from the beddings by sieving them. You can also allow them to climb a scree type material because they like that and then you can pick them out from there.
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:
1. First gather the
Dry oatmeal, or cornmeal.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
9. Dry the
There are various means to dry the mealworms. You can use
either of the following ways;
Gas or electric oven
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.