You may ask why one may wish to breed mealworms. There are numerous reasons I can think about 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 expertise with these insects might suggest they can be easily purchase them from a local pet store or even cheaper in bulk 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 limited to non slick objects. These are slow moving if you do drop one, you can easily capture it.
Yes, you can order mealworms from a pet shop. The Internet also sells worms for as low as $12 one thousand! So why would I wish to glance at the hassle of breeding them if I can purchase them so easily and cheap? Great question.
If you raise small reptiles like I really do, or have really small hatchlings including viper geckos, pictus geckos, or even chameleons, you should raise the own mealworms! You will see that breeding mealworms offers 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 with a healthy rate. By raising your own, you will possess several sizes available for your animals.
To begin with raising your own mealworms start with about 100 – 200 adult worms. Again, these can be bought in a local pet store or even from an Internet company. A note that regular mealworms will metamorphoses to a pupa and then to the Darkling beetle.
Prepare the bedding used to keep the worms healthy using a generic brand of oats and a dry baby cereal. The cheaper the better. I use the oats as a base for that medium. I like to add the cereal as being an additional food source for that young mealworms.
Mix both together – 2/3 oats to about 1/3 cereal. You will want to mix enough to possess about an inch or two in the bottom of your container. This may become the base food of the worms. Additional foods like potatoes, carrots, apples, kale, as well as other greens can be provided to provide moisture to the worms. The container can be a plastic shoebox, sweater box, or any other setup I’ll discuss later.
When the oats & cereal is mixed together, add the mealworms. Add an egg carton top and bottom and you are ready to go. The worms utilize this egg carton to crawl around on and under. Although mealworms will not climb the plastic walls, I position the cartons out of the edges of the box.
Keeping the mealworms in a constant high 70’s low 80’s and you will soon start seeing pupa developing. I actually have found using the medium mix described above and other foods offered that this worms will not bother the pupa. Some pupa may turn brown and die but most should develop into beetles. If you wish to maximize the output, you can certainly separate the pupa from your worms.
After a couple of weeks for being a pupa, you will start to see a few Darkling beetles appearing beneath the egg cartons. Again, I actually have not noticed any predation within my groups, even from the softer pupa through 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 produce new mealworms. The eggs are very small which is likely you may never discover their whereabouts because they are sticky and will adhere to the bedding.
Eventually the container is a mixture of substrate, egg cartons, mealworms of various sizes, maybe some pupa, and certainly beetles. Out of this slurry of activity you can selectively harvest how big mealworm you desire.
The above mentioned technique works well if you wish to feed just several animals. In case you have more than a couple of animals, the simplest way to go about starting a non-stop mealworm factory is by using one of those particular plastic filing system found at the krlgof mall. Setup each bin using a culture and you may be pulling all sizes of mealworms-greater than you can ever use.
Within this setup, We have 6 drawers of mealworms going (the middle bin is utilized for vermiculite). I don’t utilize all the worms this unit produces. I let several bins mature to produce pupa, beetles, and in the end more mini-mealworms.
I am hoping you are trying this neat approach to provide your animals additional foods. Be considered a bit patient as it does take some time to see those first micro mealworms.