You may ask why one may wish to breed mealworms. There are several reasons I can think about why some might NOT be interested in breeding mealworms: They are worms! They’re smelly, slimy, icky, squirmy, worms! They can get out and infest my home! Or people that have a bit of experience using these insects might suggest they can be easily purchase them from a local pet store or even cheaper in big amounts off the internet.
First, let me dispel the assumptions- they are certainly not smelly, slimy, squirmy, and that i don’t think they may be icky. Their climbing skills are restricted to non slick objects. They are slow moving so when you do drop one, you can easily capture it.
Yes, you can order mealworms from the pet store. The Web also sells worms for less than $12 a thousand! So why would I want to go through the need for breeding them basically if i can purchase them so easily and inexpensive? Great question.
Should you raise small reptiles like I actually do, or have very small hatchlings like viper geckos, pictus geckos, or even chameleons, you should increase your own mealworms! You will see that breeding mealworms provides a great range of sizes perfect for these small reptiles. Young reptiles eat often! You need to have a reliable availability of food just the right size for these young animals to enable them to grow at a healthy rate. By raising your own, you will have several sizes designed for your animals.
To begin raising your very own mealworms begin with about 100 – 200 adult worms. Again, these can be bought in a local pet store or even from an online company. A note that regular mealworms will metamorphoses to your pupa and after that to the Darkling beetle.
Prepare the bedding employed to keep your worms healthy using a generic make of oats and a dry baby cereal. The cheaper the better. I use the oats as being a base for that medium. I like to include the cereal as being an additional food source for that young mealworms.
Mix the two together – 2/3 oats to around 1/3 cereal. You will need to mix enough to get about an inch or two in the bottom of your own container. This can become the base food in the worms. Additional foods including potatoes, carrots, apples, kale, along with other greens can be offered to provide moisture towards the worms. The container can become a plastic shoebox, sweater box, or any other setup I’ll discuss later.
Once the oats & cereal is mixed together, add the mealworms. Add an egg carton top and bottom and you are all set. The worms make use of this egg carton to crawl around on and under. Although mealworms will never climb the plastic walls, I position the cartons away from the edges in the box.
Keeping the mealworms at a constant high 70’s low 80’s and you will soon start to see pupa developing. We have found with the medium mix described above as well as other foods offered that the worms will never bother the pupa. Some pupa may turn brown and die but many should turn into beetles. If you wish to maximize the output, you can certainly separate the pupa from your worms.
After a couple of weeks of being a pupa, you will start to visit a few Darkling beetles appearing beneath the egg cartons. Again, I have not noticed any predation inside my groups, even of the softer pupa from the beetles if they are feed well. The beetles are ultimately what you really are striving for in a healthy mealworm colony. They lay the eggs to generate new mealworms. The eggs are quite small which is likely you may never discover their whereabouts since they are sticky and can adhere to the bedding.
Eventually the container will be a mixture of substrate, egg cartons, mealworms of numerous sizes, maybe some pupa, and certainly beetles. From this slurry of activity you can selectively harvest how big mealworm you desire.
The above mentioned technique works well if you need to feed just a couple of animals. In case you have over a handful of animals, the easiest method to go about setting up a non-stop mealworm factory is to apply one of those plastic filing system found in your krlgof mall. Setup each bin using a culture and you may be pulling all sizes of mealworms-a lot more than you can ever use.
In this setup, I actually have 6 drawers of mealworms going (the middle bin is used for vermiculite). I don’t utilize all the worms this unit produces. I let several bins mature to generate pupa, beetles, and ultimately more mini-mealworms.
I am hoping you try this neat way to provide your animals additional foods. Be considered a bit patient as it does take some time to view those first micro mealworms.