Right from a young age, I have had some of the other pets at home!
Over a period, my home zoo has grown on to have many birds, reptiles, fish, apart from chickens and hens roaming around! I am always ready to take on more but find that feeding all these animals is not a very budget-friendly matter!
They are all tiny creatures but eat a lot and need proper nutrition to thrive! Mealworms are a part of their diet every single day, and I need to spend a lot of money on it! One day I came to know that it is possible to raise your mealworms and do it in an effortless way!
If you also have many such pets and would like to grow mealworms for your pets or even to sell it to others, then let me tell you that it is not difficult!
Mealworms are widely used as feeder insects to birds, reptiles, and chickens. You can set up your mealworm farm in a short time, and it will save you a lot of money. Read on to find you can do this. I have explained in simple steps.
Things You Will Need
- Sturdy plastic container with holes for light.
- Oats and bran for the substrate
- Cardboard to ensure darkness
- Potatoes and other vegetables
- Water in a small shallow dish
- Get a plastic box. Poke holes on top to allow light and air to go in. It should be tight enough for the worms to stay in.
- Place bran, oats, or a mixture of the two in the bottom of the box. Spread it around to a thickness of about 1 to inches. The mealworms can use it as a bed and even eat it!
- This is the substrate, and there is no way it should come out of the box.
- Place half a potato on this base layer directly or in a shallow dish. This is food for mealworms.
- Purchase about one and a half to 2 dozen mealworms from any pet store. This is your investment.
- Place the mealworms in the container. It has to be warm. If it is very cold, you can use a heating pad under the box to keep it at the right temperature.
- Replace the potato every few days. It should not get moldy. Mealworms need to eat and drink fresh food and water for healthy growth.
- Mealworms will start to pupate in about three weeks. After another two weeks, you will notice mealworm beetles emerging out.
- The beetles lay tiny eggs that are difficult to see. Once the eggs hatch and larvae come out, they are also small.
- While the larvae grow, the mealworm beetles will die. This life cycle gets repeated again and again.
- After one or two life cycles, you will notice that the colony is well established. Now you can start using them to feed your pets.
- You can add vegetables and fruits like carrots, oranges, and leafy greens to add more nutritional value to the mealworms when they become meals.
- Maintain the substrate well. Clean and change when necessary, but only the colony is well established. Otherwise, you may lose eggs and larvae while cleaning the substrate.
- If you have too many mealworms, all you have to do is place the whole container in the refrigerator to stop them from multiplying. Take it out and keep at room temperature when you need to continue with their reproduction.
Some people like to keep three different containers for different stages and use them one by one. The main principle is the same, but the technique is different. Here you need three containers, and you need to put in some more work in the whole process.
- Separate the pupa as soon as they form. Remove them by hand or use tweezers.
- There is a chance of them becoming food for other worms.
- The pupa stage may last for a few weeks and will depend on the weather and temperature.
- Keep a close eye on all the boxes because the insects will be in various stages of development.
- Once you see adult beetles, remove them, and separate them from the pupa.
- Place them in another container with the same setup.
- Check the box regularly for eggs. Females can lay up to 500 eggs at one time.
- Once the eggs hatch, move the mealworms out and put them in the mealworm container.
- This cycle with three containers will ensure that you always have a fresh batch of mealworms.
Can Humans Consume Mealworms?
Eating insects may seem strange to many people, but in many parts of the world, it is common and even considered a delicacy! Mealworms are nutritious and are very high in protein and fat. People eat them both raw as well as cooked. You can roast or fry them. Some people dry them and use them in powder form. They are getting popular as a healthy snack option!
Mealworms and Environment
Plastic and Styrofoam have clogged our rivers and seas and are causing huge environmental disasters! Researchers have found that mealworms can not only digest polystyrene but can survive on an exclusive plastic diet! There is a lot of research going on about this that can be used to clean up the environment.
If you are planning to start raising your mealworms, then our recommendation would be to start slowly with just one box and a small number of mealworms. Though it all seems easy, some people find it difficult to do all the work required.
Some people don’t realize how slimy and gross it can get with worms! Just take your time and read up on this topic as much as you can. Take advice from people who are already doing it. Once you decide to do it, then go ahead and start your mealworm farm and reap the benefits. You will have healthier pets and save money as well!