WHY would someone want to have a mealworm farm?
Gliders love mealworms
Mealworms can get costly
When you grow your own you know what
they are being fed
START-UP & MAINTAINING FARM INSTRUCTIONS by Cycy
Order your mealies from Grubco: http://grubco.netstorekeeper.com/index.cfm?Product_ID=1
or Superworm farm: http://www.superwormfarm.com/index.cfm
or Wormman: http://www.wormman.com/
Get yourself five (5) containers to start, I use the zip lock or glad
containers that you can easily place holes on the sides at the top
portion all around, but it’s your choice as to what kind you use.
1. The First container will be your feeder container - place what
mealworms you will not be farming in this container in the fridge for
cool storage, you may use the same mixture of bedding in this container
listed below (Which is what I do).
2. The Second container will be for Mealworms or Larvae
3. The Third container will be for Aliens or Pupae
4. The Fourth container will be for Beetles
5. The Fifth container is for your second Beetle container.
Container: You will need to take this container out of
the fridge once or twice a week for your feeder mealworms to hydrate
and eat for a few hours, only. You can place oat bran and rolled oats
in your feeder container and all your farm containers with your
worms/pupae/beetles or you can choose to use the mixture listed below
(what I use). Get you something to store this in too, (I use a jug that
had another type of pet food in it, ... good sized), you won't be using
the bedding all at once. Here's the mix recipe:
4 cups dry baby oatmeal cereal
4 cups oat bran (all crushed up)
2 cups rolled oats (Old fashioned, not instant)
Now you’re ready to start your farm:
Place you about 100 to 200 mealies in your Mealworm container,
(depending on how many suggies you need to feed, I have 7 right now).
Out of your 200 mealies that morph into beetles, you will have
gazillions of mealie eggs. I would say that up to 10% will end up dying
before turning to beetles, which is actually still quite a bit of
beetles. Female beetles can lay up to 275 eggs each..... THAT’s A LOT
OF MEALWORMS!! So start out with how many you like, but know that you
will need to add some fresh bedding every so often to all those babies
that hatch, they have a huge appetite!!
Your first container should be filled with about 1 to 1-1/2 inches of
your mix. You won't need the rest until you see your alien morphs
(Pupae). They will be pupae’s for a week to two weeks, then they will
turn to beetles. After you start seeing the mealworms turn to pupae’s,
you will need to re-furbish the mealworms, simply place about ten in a
week to your mealworm container. Also, know that you will have to order
more mealworms from Grubco, mealworm farm or wormman, until your
mealies start going good. But you'll save money in the long run to grow
your own, plus you will know exactly what your mealworms are eating.
You will need a container for your pupae's but you won't need a lot of
mix in it, about 1/2 inch of your bedding mix, just enough for them to
eat when they change to beetles until you transfer them to the beetle
container. Simply use tweezers to carefully transfer the pupae’s to the
pupae container. Some people don't separate them at all, but I have
experimented with both processes and found that you will have more
mealies if you separate all stages. The beetles and the mealworms will
eat the pupae and the beetles will eat the mealworm babies, pretty
gross, but they will seek moisture from other mealworms and pupae.
Once you see beetles in your pupae container, use tweezers to carefully
transfer them to the beetle container. Place about 2 inches of your
bedding mix in this container and lay egg carton pieces or pieces of
cardboard over the top for them to lay eggs in and on. When feeding
your beetles, place a folded piece of paper towel over the bedding and
simply lay your veggie right on top. Try not to allow the food to touch
the bedding to eliminate any mold issues. I never use fruit, I use
carrots or celery or romaine lettuce leaves instead. This is just my
preference. Fruits will mold easily and I used to use them but after
throwing out one or two of my farms, due to moldy fruit, I opted to use
only veggies instead. Mealworms are actually really proficient at
extracting moisture, so be careful not to put too much moisture in your
containers, you will get mold. Place a paper towel or two over the
entire top section of your other farm containers, and lay your veggies
on top of that. Again, Veggies or if you do use Fruits, you use should
never come in contact with your mixture, to avoid any mold issues. If
you do get mold, you will need to trash the entire farm container,
mealworms included, just in case they have ingested the moldy bedding.
Aflatoxins are not anything you want your suggies to eat.
When you start seeing the beetles dying off, transfer all the living
beetles to the Fifth container with a fresh new mixture. Do not throw
away the first beetle container. This is where your baby mealworms are.
They will be very tiny and you probably won't see them for a month or
so after you place your beetles in the second beetle container, you
will see the mix moving before you see them. It will take about 4
months to get your farm going good. This Beetle container now becomes
your baby mealie container, the 1st generation mealies of your farm. I
wait until about three to four weeks at a time to change the beetles to
a new container and the mealie babies are massive!!!
Also, some mealie farmers mist the top of the paper towel with a light
water spritz, I do not. My mealies are huge by just feeding them veggie
leaves about two to three times a week. Mealworm farming is really
easy. It farms itself basically, and if you get to where you have too
many mealies, you can freeze them, which does happen from time to time.
Just NEVER USE ANY CORN PRODUCTS !
Life Cycle of your Darkling Beetle:
Egg: 7-14 days
Larvae: 30-90 days
Pupae: 10-20 days
Beetle Adult: 5-10 days
I have found through my experience with mealworm farming, that this
cycle depends on the conditions of the environment and is a general
rule, but not etched in stone……
You will have to check on your farms every two to three days, but if
you forget until four or five days to a week, it's no big deal if you
choose the method that I use. You will need to sort them, juggle the
aliens (Pupae) and beetles around, but after you get used to doing
that, there’s really nothing to it. Like I said, it is extremely easy
to raise mealworms. I don't place mine in any certain spot, just make
sure they have ventilation, and in somewhat of a warmer temperature in
your house, not cool, and your holes should be sized where the beetles
cannot escape. Although they do not bite, do not fly... and are
ultimately harmless, you don't want them escaping and not laying their
eggs in the mix.
Another helpful hint: When placing your holes in the top sides of your
containers, you can just use a power drill, it’s a much easier way and
less time consuming.