<< Back to or Shop Mealworms WHAT YOU NEED:
<< Back to or Shop Mealworms
WHAT YOU NEED:
- Storage Container -a large, shallow, smooth sidedcontainer that is about the size of a shoe box or larger.Mealworms thrive in a large container because providing more space will help dissipate heat and prevent overheating, which improves survival rate. Too many mealworms, stored in too small of a container, will cause the worms to suffocate, get crushed, or simply overheat and die.It is recommended to use a plastic or glass container, rather than a wood or cardboard, because mealworms can climb up or chew through wood. A clear container is best because it will let you see how much frass (waste) has accumulated.
- Bedding - we recommend 2-3” ofMealworm Keeperto be placed at the bottom of the container. Otherwise, any form of a substrate with the word "meal" in it will be fine (cornmeal, oatmeal, bran meal). The substrate should be ground to a fine powder to make it easier to pick out the mealworms when you need to move them.Mealworm Keeperis a bedding that separates the mealworms, but also acts as food. Therefore, you will need to replace it every once in a while after it gets eaten, keep it 2-3" high.
- Feed - add about ½ cup of fresh vegetables to the container. Cut raw potatoes and raw carrots into 1" x 3” pieces and spread throughout the container for the mealworms. The mealworms may pull the food under the bedding to eat it, which is completely normal.
- Moisture -Some moisture is necessary for the mealworms to drink. While the raw vegetables contain some moisture, it is best to add more by usingThirsty Cricket(gel water source). Add itto a low container (a 1/2" tall jar lid will work well) then place on the top of the bedding. Do not add a dish of regular water, the mealworms can drown.Thirsty Cricketis also calcium-fortified, which helps prevent calciumdeficiency in your pet sincefeeder insects are deficient in calcium, and contain excess amounts of phosphorus.
- Nutrients -Mealworm Chowis a highly nutritional food source for mealworms, it is 16% protein and contains added calcium and vitamins that then transfers over to your pet upon consumption. If your feeder mealworms are chock full of good vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, your pet will be too.
DELIVERY OF LIVE MEALWORMS:
Upon delivery, remove mealworms from the cloth bag and transfer to a storage containerthat has 2-3” ofMealworm Keeperin it. Otherwise, any form of a substrate with the word "meal" in it will be fine (cornmeal, oatmeal, bran meal). The substrate should be ground to a fine powder to make it easier to pick out the mealworms when you need to move them. Mealworm Keeperis a bedding that separates the mealworms, but also acts as food. Therefore, you will need to replace it every once in a while after it gets eaten.Shake off the mealworms from the newspapers, into the storage container, then discard the newspapers.As long as the mealworms are >1" below the top of the container, they can't get out.
If the mealworms don’t have enough to eat or drink, then they can easily die in their container. Before putting the container in the refrigerator (explained in further paragraphs), add about ½ cup of fresh vegetables to the container. Cut raw potatoes and raw carrots into 1" x 3” pieces and spread throughout the container for the mealworms. The mealworms may pull the food under the bedding to eat it, which is completely normal. Some moisture is necessary for the mealworms to drink. While the raw vegetables contain some moisture, it is best to add more by usingThirsty Cricket(gel water source). AddThirsty Cricketto a low container (a 1/2" tall jar lid will work well). Do not add a dish of regular water, the mealworms can drown. Let the mealworms sit in their container with their food and water, at room temperature for 24 hours.This will give them adequate nutrition and hydration to stay healthy while dormant.
Even though you will be feeding the mealworms vegetables, naturally they will lose some nutritional value after staying mostly dormant for multiple weeks. We recommend you gutload them to offer your pet maximum nutrition, instead of offering an empty vessel. Gutloading is the process of feeding insects a diet high in vital nutrients prior to feeding those insects to other animals. To gutload, mixMealworm Chowin with theMealworm Keeperat a 1:9 ratio (1/3 cup of Chow per 3 cups Keeper).Mealworm Chowis a highly nutritional food source for mealworms, it is 16% protein and contains added calcium and vitamins that then transfers over to your pet upon consumption. Thirsty Cricketis also calcium-fortified, which helps prevent calciumdeficiency in your pet sincefeeder insects are deficient in calcium, and contain excess amounts of phosphorus.If your feeder mealworms are chock full of good vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, your pet will be too.
After 24 hours, remove any leftover vegetables andThirsty Cricketto prevent mold growth. Then,place the container in the refrigerator for long term storage (continue reading for explanation).
If breeding, stop reading and see ourInstructions on Raising Mealwormsor Mealworm Breeder Kit.If not breeding, continue reading.
LONG TERM LIVE MEALWORM STORAGE FOR FEEDING TO PETS:
Mealworms are technically the larvae of darkling beetles (species Tenebrio molitor). To keep the insects in this stage of the life cycle (mealworm-form) for feeding to pets, you need to store them in low temperature to cease their metamorphosis. In other words, they need to go dormant. The cooler temperatures will delay the process ofmetamorphosis, which stops them from continuing their life cycle and turning into beetles.Therefore, store your container of mealwormsin your refrigerator (at 45-50 degrees F), this will cause them to go into a dormant state and be usable for feeding for 6-10 weeks. If you do not refrigerate the mealworms, and they remain at room temperature, they will only be usable for feeding for about 3 weeks, because after that point they willmetamorphosis into pupa (white, pre-beetle form). Or they will just completely die if they are not in the correct conditions tometamorphosis.
We suggest that you remove the mealworms from the refrigerator once per week for 24 hours, and repeat the steps you did during arrival.Allow the mealworms to feed for 24 hours at room temperature, then remove any uneaten food, and place them back into the refrigerator again. Repeat this process weekly.
FEEDING LIVE MEALWORMS TO PETS:
When it comes times to feed your pets, there are a few tips that will ensure you are feeding a mealworm full of nutrients, leading to an overall healthier pet. As discussed earlier, offeringMealworm ChowandThirsty Cricketto the mealworms will bulk them up for your pet. Offer your pet the mealwormson the day or day after gutloading them, to reap the benefits.
Make sure you remove the mealworms you are feeding from the storage container in the fridge, and allow them to “warm up” at room temperature for an hour in a dish. This way they will no longer be dormant, and be wiggling around, enticing your pet to hunt.If you will not be feeding your pet by hand (or tweezers), we recommend a dish that is smooth enough and deep enough that the mealworms would not crawl out,Ceramic DishesandMealworm Dishes work well. We advise owners to sprinkle the feeder insects with multivitamins or calcium supplementsbefore feeding to your pets, to help prevent calciumdeficiency in your pet, sincefeeder insects are deficient in calcium, and contain excess amounts of phosphorus.
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Please Note: Exotic Nutrition is not in a position to provide specific health and care guidelines on an individual basis. Please visit our animal info tabs or consider purchasing a care guide book for additional information. If you have a health or pet emergency issue, please notify your veterinarian or a specialized technician.
How long can you keep live mealworms? ›
Mealworms can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks with very little maintenance. After two weeks, the mealworms should be removed from the refrigerator, and a small amount of Easy Water should be added to the top of the bedding. Allow the mealworms to stay at room temperature for about 24 hours.What can I feed mealworms to keep them alive? ›
Fresh vegetables are the best source to offer them. A fresh cut potato or some fresh carrots will give the worms their needed water and nutrients. Because the mealworms can last up to a full year before transitioning into the pupa stage, this will give them plenty of time to eat and grow.How long can you keep mealworms before they turn into beetles? ›
Two or three weeks after the mealworm has pupated, a mealworm beetle will emerge. This is known as a darkling beetle. The egg stage typically lasts 7-14 days but low temperatures and humidity can lengthen double this incubation time.How long do mealworms live in captivity? ›
Initially white and orange, the pests turn black or yellowish in a few days. Mealworm beetles are slow moving, but their ability to fly allows them to easily travel and infest new areas. Adults live between 3 and 12 months.Why do my mealworms keep dying? ›
Overcrowding and excessively deep substrate can cause the bugs to suffocate, overheat, or get crushed. A rectangular tupperware container or a plastic shoebox will work well. Be sure to add ventilation holes at the top! 2" to 4" of bedding is sufficient for keeping mealworms alive and well.Do mealworms spoil? ›
Some examples of bird species that eat mealworms are: chickadees, cardinals, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and the occasional bluebird or American Robin. Dried mealworms do not spoil.Can you feed mealworms everyday? ›
You may feed the mealworms as much as you like – more food means more mealworms. Just be sure to feed them at least every few weeks to maintain a depth of around three inches.Are dried mealworms as good as live? ›
Mealworms for feeding birds
Live mealworms are obviously the living form, while dried mealworms are simply mealworms that have been dried-out via heating or freeze-drying. Dried mealworms aren't as beneficial to birds as live mealworms but are ok to feed and are convenient, easy to store and easy to feed.
It's also important to note that mealworms do not provide complete nutrition and should only be used as a supplemental food source, offered on a limited basis. Overfeeding can cause health issues for adults and young!Can dead mealworms turn into beetles? ›
Remember that any mealworms left in the container will mature and become pupae, then beetles.
How many mealworms do I need to start a colony? ›
Not only do you need a significant amount to start a healthy, sustainable breeding colony — I recommend 2,500 at the very least to start off — but mealworms are often less expensive when bought in larger amounts. It's important to keep the mealworm colony container relatively clean.Do mealworms carry parasites? ›
Mealworms effectively degrade biological waste and polystyrene foam . The most common mealworm parasites include Gregarine spp., Hymenolepis diminuta and mites of the family Acaridae.What conditions do mealworms need to survive? ›
Habitat: Where Do Mealworms Live? Their normal habitat is dark, cool and moist locations where there is suitable food and sheltered areas such as under rocks, logs, in animal waste accumulations and in moist, stored grain storage areas.Do mealworms need oxygen to survive? ›
Mealworm cells need oxygen, but mealworms don't have hearts or lungs. How can they get oxygen to their cells? Although mealworms have mouths (to eat with), they do not breathe through lungs like mammals, reptiles, or birds.Why are my mealworms turning black and dying? ›
When pupae die and turn black, it's usually because the worms weren't given enough moisture with carrots or potatoes at the end of the larval stage. They need to store the moisture to last through pupation and will dehydrate and die if they didn't get enough. They are also very heat sensitive.Can dried mealworms come back to life? ›
To rehydrate them, we've found the best method is a long soak in cold water for 4 to 8 hours (or overnight). You can also use hot or boiling water for a much faster 30-minute soak, but the hot water tends to break them up a bit more. Put the mealworms in a container, add water and stir them will to separate them.What temperature kills mealworms? ›
Keep the temperature of the container above 62 degrees (F).
But, temperatures lower than 40 degrees (F) may cause the worms to die.
Light: Consistent with the name darkling beetle, they prefer the dark. Keep the container out of direct sunlight. However, one source indicated that if mealworms develop faster when provided with light.Can mealworms survive without water? ›
Mealworms are able to absorb water from the air through their skin and they make metabolic water as they digest their food, but mealworms do much better if supplied a water source. Some common water sources used are carrots, apples, and potatoes.Do you need to rehydrate mealworms? ›
Do I Have To Rehydrate Dried Mealworms First? You don't have to soak your dried mealworms in water before you use them. However, soaking them in warm water for 30 minutes before you offer them out is a brilliant way to give your garden birds some extra hydration.
What can mealworms not eat? ›
Mealworms eat a variety of food, including vegetables, fruits, plants and grains, but they largely avoid onions and fruits from the citrus family.How do you fatten up mealworms? ›
High-protein meals don't tend to produce any better mealworms than a container of quick oats do. If you want to save some money, you can just opt for a cheap container of quick oats. But high-protein meals do help your worms to fatten up quicker, which means you can generate more worms in the same amount of time.What is the best bedding for mealworms? ›
Wheat bran is a common choice for mealworm farm substrate. You can usually find 50-pound bags of wheat bran at the feed store (or they can order it for you). Wheat bran is lightweight and does not compact, so it is easy for the mealworms and beetles to move around in it.Why can't I feed my chickens dried mealworms? ›
To put it simply most mealworms are imported and may have come into contact with, or been fed, animal protein which could then potentially pass on disease.Do squirrels like mealworms? ›
You might be surprised to learn that squirrels do eat mealworms, In fact, they absolutely love them because they're high source of protein especially for breeding squirrels. And, the squirrels aren't too fussy if the mealworms are live or if they're dried.Do mice like dried mealworms? ›
There's a list below of fruit and veg that's safe for mice to eat. Healthy treats such as boiled or scrambled egg, mealworms, lean meat, beans, peas, chickpeas and other pulses.Can mealworms eat coffee grounds? ›
– Composting Friend – Feed your mealworms rolled oats and peelings, coffee grounds and salad. Both you and your mealworms will be happy subsisting on a similar diet.How fast do mealworms multiply? ›
Yellow mealworms (Tenebrio molitor)
This food mixture will produce about 350 adult mealworms in 200 days from 10 females (with 10 males). However, each female can lay about 100 eggs. Incubation: 10-11 days at 20°C; 4-6 days at 30°C; larval period, from about 114 days (10-14 larval instars).
Burrowing and eating are a top priority when it comes to being a mealworm, and they will eat just about anything. They will eat grains, vegetables, any organic material, fresh or decaying. This plays a huge role in the ecosystem. Mealworms aid in the decomposition of any spoiled organic material.What diseases do mealworms carry? ›
Lesser mealworms readily feed on dead and dying birds. They can become contaminated with pathogens such as Salmonella, Escherichia coli, or infectious bursal disease virus.
What kills mealworms? ›
Those bothered by mealworms should remember never to discard infested food without first killing the insects. This is best done by placing the infested food in a container and heating it in an oven at 130° F to 150 °F for 30 minutes.How do you store live mealworms? ›
The cooler temperatures will delay the process of metamorphosis, which stops them from continuing their life cycle and turning into beetles. Therefore, store your container of mealworms in your refrigerator (at 45-50 degrees F), this will cause them to go into a dormant state and be usable for feeding for 6-10 weeks.Is mealworm poop good for plants? ›
Mealworm frass naturally contains chitin which triggers a immune responses in plant cell walls making the plant stronger and able to help fight off disease, fungal issues and damage from pest.What is the lifespan of a darkling beetle? ›
Darkling beetles are active both during the day and at night. With simple care, they can live from three months to over a year.Can you keep a darkling beetle as a pet? ›
Darkling beetles are considered an agricultural pest and should not be released under any circumstances. We strongly recommend giving any unwanted organisms to another individual if you do not wish to keep them. As a last resort, place unwanted organisms in a sealed container and freeze for 48 hours.How often do you change mealworm bedding? ›
Mealworms will need at least a couple inches of bedding but it does not have to be deep. After your colony is established you will want to change the bedding out when needed. I change mine about every 3 months, but you may find the need to change it more or less often.How much money can you make selling mealworms? ›
The return on investment (ROI) for mealworms is very high, with farmers typically seeing a return of over 2000% or more on their initial investment.How do you keep mealworms alive in the fridge? ›
Upon arrival, immediately place the insects inside a plastic container with air holes and cover them with a two-inch layer of wheat middling or oatmeal to provide bedding and a food source. Then transfer the container to a refrigerator set at 45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.Do mealworms turn into bugs? ›
Once they hatch, mealworms molt repeatedly over the course of several months until they are about 1.37 of an inch long and are ready to pupate. They remain as pupae for about one to three weeks before emerging as adult darkling beetles, ready to eat and reproduce.Can meal worms live in fridge? ›
Caring for mealworms:
Once purchased, it is important that you don't continue to store them in the refrigerator as this can lead to mould forming in the substrate.
How do you store live mealworms for birds? ›
How to Store Mealworms Safely. Once you buy a live batch, place them in a shallow plastic container with a 2- to 5-gallon capacity. Cover with a screen or perforated lid for air circulation.How do you wake up mealworms? ›
Make sure you remove the mealworms you are feeding from the storage container in the fridge, and allow them to “warm up” at room temperature for an hour in a dish. This way they will no longer be dormant, and be wiggling around, enticing your pet to hunt.What temperature is too hot for mealworms? ›
Note: The ideal temperature to grow mealworms in is between 77 – 81 degrees Fahrenheit. Mealworms do reproduce in temperatures ranging from 65 – 100 degrees Fahrenheit, but temperatures above 86 degrees and below 62 degrees may negatively impact growth.How long can you store live worms? ›
A 32-ounce container with about 1-2 dozen worms and filled with moist compost should keep the worms healthy and active for about three weeks. Store them out of direct sunlight at a temperature between 50 and 85 degrees.