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