How To Farm Your Own Mealies And Supers

Raising mealworms may not be the dream hobby that you want to pursue but it can be very rewarding not only for your pets but for your pocket too.

(Please note that I have only gathered this from online sources as we don't have any mealworms in our area)

What you will need:

Plastic container (height should be around 4-5 inches)
200 to 500 grams wheat bran or chick crumbles or old style oatmeal (This would serve as your bedding)
50-100 mealworm larvae (size of larvae must be large)

Procedure:

Fill the plastic container with your chosen bedding. The bedding should be around 1 to 1.5 inches thick. Place all the mealworms into the bedding and cover the container with a screen lid. Wait for a couple of weeks for the larvae to pupate and hatch into beetles. Once there's an appearance of beetles, start putting some source of moisture into your cultured beetles. The moisture could be in the form of apples, carrots, chayote, potato or banana peels. This is necessary since beetles wil not only die but they will also cannibalize each other if they don't have enough moisture to drink.

At around two-three weeks, transfer all your beetles into an another bedding filled container. You should do this since the beetles might have started laying eggs and there's a large possibility that they will cannibalize their own young. Continue to put some moisture into the beetle and worm container. In just a few more weeks, you can already start seeing small worms crawling up in the bedding and eating moisture foods. Just continue adding some wheat bran or oatmeal or crumble in your culture.

In 6 months to 1 year, change the bedding of your beetle and worm colony as frass/worm poop (this is a black dusty substance that you will find in the bedding) will build up and this would make your worm culture smelly.

Below is your mealworm cycle:

mealcycle11.jpg

Tips:

When selecting a moisture food, pick a fruit or vegetable that does not have a lot of water. Something too soggy sitting on top will promote mold. I also do not like to use a sealing top as it will trap moisture and again, promote mold growth in the crumbles.

Adult beetles can fly. To keep them from leaving the culture, use a screen top.

While I have no evidence that the antibiotics are transferable from feed to the worms, why take the chance. Use a poultry feed that does not contain antibiotics commonly used in many chick starters.

The growth rate of the worms is dependent on the temperature. Warmer weather results in a faster growth rate. Cooler weather retards their growth.

Rotate several colonies at different stages of development and you'll have a steady supply of worms

You'll usually find plenty of worms under the moisture food on the top of the crumbles.

Birds often find the freshly molted worms (white color) easier to eat since they do not yet have a hard exterior.

Some birds also like the pupae and they have the advantage of not being able to crawl away.

If you already have a plenty of supply of mealworms and you're afraid that they might pupate, you can place them in ziplock bags and freeze it. The worms won't die and they would just go into a semi dormant stage. Once you'll thaw them out, they should be alive and squirming ready for your pet's mouth.

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