Making Your Own Mealworm Farm 101 - The Happy Chicken Coop (2023)

If your chickens are anything like ours, then they love to eat mealworms.

Mealworms are a healthy, nutritious snack full of protein that helps your hens lay lots of eggs.

We’ve previously discussed our favorite healthy chicken treats and mealworms were in the top 3 of that list!

There is one catch, though. Feeding your chickens mealworms all day can get expensive… very expensive.

Fortunately, you can grow your own live mealworms for a fraction of the cost and provide your girls with healthy snacks all year round.

Today, we’re going to look at what exactly mealworms are and how you can make your own mealworm farm.

Making Your Own Mealworm Farm. But First, What Are Mealworms?

Mealworms (also known as Tenebrio Molitor) are, in fact, insects.

They are scavengers that can be found in grain stores, feed sacks, and occasionally household items such as cereal and flour.

They like dark, dry places that store grain or other edibles such as flour or chicken feed.

You can extract all the nutrition and water they need for surviving and thriving from the grain which they have infested.

Note: An adult mealworm is known as the Darkling beetle.

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Nutritional Benefits of Mealworms for Chickens

Mealworms aren’t just fun to feed your chickens. Who doesn’t love the chaos that comes from tossing your chooks some delectable treats?

But mealworms are also very good chicken food…in moderation, of course.

Chickens need protein, and more of it when they are sick, growing, molting, or laying eggs. Mealworms and black soldier fly larva pack a protein punch for chickens who need it.

Stressed-out chickens (due to moving, molting, or the addition of a new flockmate) need a little extra protein to get through the low points and emerge on the other side, happy and healthy.

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The Lifespan of a Mealworm

A female beetle will lay up to five hundred eggs during her short lifetime of a couple of months.

After a couple of weeks, the eggs will hatch and become larvae – which we know as a mealworm. Its’ proper title is the yellow mealworm.

Mealworms molt their exo-skeleton several times before they reach the pupa stage after approximately 3 months.

The pupa basically looks like a dead mealworm, but it is busy transforming itself into a Darkling beetle.

The only movement you will see is an occasional twitch if the pupa is disturbed. It does not eat or take nutrition during this period.

It will remain a pupa for about 2-3 weeks before hatching into a brown beetle that over a period of days will turn a black color. The complete lifecycle can be done in as little as 5-6 months in ideal circumstances.

Why Grow Your Own Mealworms?

There are many reasons to start breeding mealworms. While it may seem like an added responsibility at first, you’d be able to reap the benefits in the long run.

Mealworms are an excellent source of high protein. You can use live mealworms to train your chickens effectively.

Known to have high nutritional value, mealworms don’t only act as treats for your chickens, but they’d be a great bait for fishing. They also serve as supplementary treats for lizards and hedgehogs.

Also, breeding mealworms is an easy task that requires minimal materials and low maintenance. It wouldn’t feel like a heavy chore if you partner it with raising chickens.

(Video) Making Your Own Mealworm Farm 101

It would be convenient for farmers to have a constant source of mealworms right in their barn rather than purchasing them. Also, you can save a lot if you’re breeding mealworms yourself.

Benefits Of Feeding Mealworm To Chickens

Now that you know the impact of breeding mealworms yourself, here are a few ways it can benefit your chickens and the way you’re raising them:

Healthy Treats for Chickens

As mentioned a couple of times in this blog, mealworms are high-protein treats for your chickens. They are highly recommended especially when your poultry is molting.

Just make sure it doesn’t go beyond 10% of its regular diet. The best thing about feeding your own mealworms is that you know what you’re giving them and doing away with pesticides or the like.

Train Chickens

You can give meal worms as a way to reward your chickens for staying in the coop for the night or for behaving within the flock.

Because it’s so tasty and your chicken’s favorite, you can effectively implement proper training and a reward system with it.

Keep Chickens Busy and Reduce Bullying

Live mealworms keep chickens active and busy. They’d love picking out these treats from the ground.

Your birds will have fun searching for these worms, digging the ground, and turning several stones. With that, they’d be too busy to bully other chickens.

Cheap Treats for Chickens

If you look for mealworms in the online market, you will see that they are sold for $17 for every 5 lb. That’s around $3.50 per pound.

However, if you start breeding mealworms on your own, it would cost only cents per pound.

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How to Make a Mealworm Farm

It is possible to buy mealworm farm kits online, but it’s much cheaper and more fun to make your own! So here we go – have some fun and become a mealworm farmer.

This is an excellent project for the kids – it’s easy, doesn’t require any high maintenance, and isn’t labor-intensive. It’s also a natural, self-replicating food source for your flock.

Step 1: Find a Container

Before you start your mealworm farm, you will need to find a container that you will use to grow them in.

For the container itself, any of the following will do an old aquarium, plastic storage tote, or similar item. If you use a fish tank or glass-sided container, you can watch your insects at work!

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It is oddly fascinating watching them go about their business. Between beetle watching and chicken watching, I can waste hours each day!

Whichever container you choose, make sure it is approximately: 12 inches x 24 inches and 12 inches deep.

The chosen container will also need a lid or screen mesh to put over the top. The lid needs to allow for some air circulation through the container.

I use an aquarium so that I can see what’s going on inside and get a feel for how quickly they are developing.

Step 2: Prepare Your Container

Now you have found an ideal container. You need to make sure it is thoroughly clean and dry.

At this point, you also need to find an ideal location for your container.

My mealworms are kept upstairs in the barn, which is dark and gloomy.

Any location you do choose needs to be warm (the ideal temperature is 80F), low light/ dark environment. If you aren’t squeamish, the closet would be fine.

You can use wire mesh or aluminum foil (mealworms’ legs cannot stick to foil) with holes poked in at the top to serve as a lid.

As winter nears, I will be investing in a heat mat specifically made for reptiles. It has a programmable thermostat and comes pre-wired.

This will keep my mealworm farm at 80F all winter long!

If you are lucky enough to live in a warm climate year-round, you probably would not need this. However, do remember to keep them in the dark place.

(Video) How to Start Your Own Meal Worm Farm to Feed Your Chickens (Part 1)

Step 3: Add Your Substrate

Once you have your container and it’s in an ideal location, you need to fill it up with feed (substrate) for the mealworms.

The exact amount you will need depends on the size of your container; it needs to be about 2-3 inches deep.

For the feed, you want to use wheat bran. If you can’t use wheat bran, then rolled oats, chicken mash, or cereal crumbs will also work.

The same rule applies to oats, you’ll use a 3-inch layer of dry oats.

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Note: If you use chicken feed, make sure it doesn’t contain diatomaceous earth, as this will kill the mealworms.

You should be able to buy the wheat bran for less than $1 per lb.

Whichever feed you decide to use, make sure you sterilize it prior to using- this will ensure that no pests are present. To sterilize, spread it out on a cookie tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 130-150F.

After you have sterilized your feed, put 3 inches of it into your container.

Note: Don’t get your substrate (bran etc.) wet; you don’t want a moldy environment.

Step 4: Add Mealworms to Your Farm

You now need to add mealworms into your container. The more, the better! You should aim to start with at least 500.

Several bait shops or a local feed store will carry mealworms.

If you really want to go to the source, you can look up for nearby time bug farmers, or insect farmers. They have an entire business around selling insects as commodities.

It is important to know what the mealworms have been fed since they can indirectly impact your chickens’ health and, by extension – yours.

Also, the possibility of zoonotic diseases such as salmonella cannot be ruled out since the exact diet of the insect is unknown, and the conditions in which the beetles are kept may be less than clean.

So, for this reason, I would only buy my mealworms from a reputable local source that I trust. Don’t import them cheap online- you don’t know what they’ve been fed.

Note: Do not buy giant mealworms. It is possible they have been treated with a growth hormone that will inhibit pupation and produce sterile beetles.

Once you have purchased your mealworms, gently pour them out into your container and apply your cover to the container – the cover is to keep things out rather than the insects in.

Mealworms are a favorite food of reptiles and amphibians, so you really don’t want your pet iguana eating all your worms!

Step 5: Feed Them and Let Them Grow

You now just need to keep your mealworms fed and let them grow and multiply.

You can feed them as much as you like, remember: more food means the more they multiply.

I have heard, not from personal experience that kiwi skin with a little meat leftover makes them grow bigger. You can also toss some slices of potato.

If you want a hands-off approach, just make sure you feed them every couple of weeks to maintain the feed depth of around 3 inches.

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Now you just need to wait and let them flourish!

Step 6: Collect Your Mealworms

Depending on the conditions you have provided for your insects, it will take a few months before you can start feeding the larvae to your hens.

You should only feed the worms to your hens. The pupae and beetles should be left on the farm to reproduce.

Don’t worry about removing dead beetles. The larvae will do that for you.

(Video) Update on the Mealworm Farm we started to Feed our Chickens (Part2)

Do, however, remove any bits of moldy food and discard them.

I find the easiest way to collect the worms is to add new food to the farm.

You can use a vegetable such as a carrot and place it into your container and leave it for 5 minutes or so.

The worms (larvae) will latch onto the carrot, pull the carrot out and shake it over another empty container and you will have lots of mealworms to feed your chickens with!

If you are lucky and happen to suffer from an overabundance of mealworms, they can be stored in the freezer in plastic bags.

Note: Remember to use gloves to handle the mealworm farm, and a few people use masks when working with the tank because of the dust. Some people become allergic to the fine dust created by the beetles, so if you already have a medical issue with your breathing, please err on the side of caution and wear a mask or respirator.

Common Problems When Breeding Mealworms

Breeding mealworms is generally simple, and you may not be running into problems as much. Still, some challenges will exist and it’s best you get a heads up about the common ones such as:

Changing the Bedding

You will need to change the bedding once the mealworms start to smell. This task can be tedious since you have to sieve out the larvae and beetles. I should also note that putting in cardboard or something like an egg carton isn’t a bad idea either.

Your little mealworm farm loves hiding under these things.

It becomes more challenging when your beetles start laying eggs. Otherwise, you can easily move the beetles in normal circumstances.

Taking Time to Hatch

It takes a long time for the larvae to hatch. In this case, you might need to increase the temperature.

Live mealworms thrive at temperatures of 75 to 80 °F with a humidity of around 70%. They would still develop in cooler temperatures but it takes longer.

Watch Out for Mold

If there is too much humidity on your mealworm farm, then mold will start to form. Still, moisture is important for your worms to thrive.

You can add slices of carrots or potatoes to keep moisture. However, if molds start to appear, you may remove these slices instead.

Mealworm Farm Growing Overview

Step 1: Find a Container

An old aquarium, plastic bin or tub or similar item will do. Make sure it is approximately: 12 inches x 24 inches and 12 inches deep.

Step 2: Prepare Your Container

Mealworms can be tricky so you’ll want to close the top off while allowing ventilation with fine wire mesh. You can just use duct tape to stick the mesh over the top of the container.

You can find these two by looking up local hardware stores near you.

Thoroughly clean and dry your container. I use an aquarium so that I can see what’s going on inside. Also, make sure to keep your farm in a warm, low light/ dark environment.

Step 3: Add Your Substrate

Add your substrate – wheat bran rolled oats, whatever you have chosen. Spread to a depth of 2-3 inches.

Step 4: Add Mealworms to Your Far

Add mealworms, and dump them in gently. You can buy mealworms either online or at a local pet store.

Step 5: Feed Them and Let Them Grow

The substrate will need to be topped up once in a while to maintain a depth of 2-3 inches. Don’t worry about removing dead beetles. The larvae will do that for you.

Step 6: Collect Your Mealworms

Now it’s time to reap the rewards. Collect your mealworms and feed your chickens!

Enjoy your project! The satisfaction of raising your own chicken treats will add to the satisfaction of saving money and knowing where your hens’ treats come from!

FAQs About Making Your Own Mealworm Farm

Just like any first-timer in breeding mealworms, you probably have many questions in mind. Don’t worry.

We have a list of frequently asked questions that people usually ponder when they first start raising live mealworms. Here’s what you need to know:

How Long Does It Take To Farm Mealworms?

It takes 3 to 4 months for live mealworms to be fully grown. If you want to speed up their growth, you can increase the temperature accordingly.

(Video) How to Start Your Own Meal Worm Farm // After 6 MONTHS // LIVING OFF THE LAND (Part 3)

You can also have a constant supply of mealworms by having two or more worm trays. This way, you can grow mealworms in intervals and be able to harvest them regularly.

What Is The Best Food to Feed Mealworms?

Live mealworms feed on a mixture of cereals, wheat bran, and flour. You can also add a variety of grains.

Bird seeds also work well for your mealworm’s staple diet. The good thing is that their feeds are cheap and easily accessible.

What Kind of Bedding is Best for Mealworms?

You can spread wheat bran, rolled oats, or cornmeal in a two-inch layer at the bottom of the plastic container. Later on, you can put the mealworms on top of this bedding.

It’s recommended to use materials with fine textures to make harvesting meal worms easier.

How Do You Stop Mealworms From Turning Into Beetles?

Keep your meal worms refrigerated. These bugs tend to thrive in a warm environment.

If you keep them at around 70 °F, live mealworms will consume more and transition into a beetle. However, by keeping the temperatures cool, you can slow down their growth and retain their worm forms.

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Make Your Own Mealworm Farm – Final Thoughts

Breeding mealworms may seem a lot to take in for now. However, you would be amazed by the long-term benefits of making your own mealworm farm.

Fortunately, mealworms are not difficult to raise. They only need minimal requirements, and live mealworms have very accessible and cheap needs.

By making your own mealworm farm, you have one less thing to worry about when raising chickens. You would have a constant supply of meal worms which is every chicken’s favorite treat.

READ NEXT: Dried Mealworms: Should Your Chickens Eat Them?

(Video) How To Breed & Raise Crickets - The Critter Depot

Are you going to try and grow your own mealworm farm? Let us know how you get on in the comments below.

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FAQs

Can mealworms climb plastic? ›

Keep the mealworms in a plastic, glass, metal, and wax-coated container. You need to make sure they cannot get a grip on the sides of the container you keep them in, as they can probably climb out. Containers with smooth, slippery sides and surfaces are great to keep the mealworms inside.

How do you breed mealworms fast? ›

How to culture mealworms
  1. Punch small holes in the lid for ventilation, place a layer of old hessian sacking in the bottom and sprinkle fairly thickly with bran. ...
  2. Introduce two or three hundred mealworms into the prepared tin. ...
  3. The beetles will lay eggs which hatch into mealworms and so on.

How many mealworms should I feed my chickens? ›

How many mealworms should chickens eat? Feed your adult chicken 10-12 mealworms each day as a healthy protein-supplement. You can double their mealworm intake in extremes of hot or cold weather, during breeding or showing, and when moulting. This will help your hens to deal with stress.

What temp kills mealworms? ›

Keep the temperature of the container above 62 degrees (F).

But, temperatures lower than 40 degrees (F) may cause the worms to die.

Do mealworms like wet or dry? ›

Moisture and Relative Humidity: Mealworms do require moisture. Too little moisture slows growth and reduces size. Too much can produce mold. If larvae are provided with dry food, they can survive and produce one generation a year.

How long do meal worms live? ›

Mealworm beetles are slow moving, but their ability to fly allows them to easily travel and infest new areas. Adults live between 3 and 12 months.

Why are my mealworms not moving? ›

When mealworms curl up into a 'C' and don't move much they are about to pupate and then turn into beetles.

What to feed mealworms to make them bigger? ›

Fresh vegetables are the best source to offer them. A fresh cut potato or some fresh carrots will give the worms their needed water and nutrients. Because the mealworms can last up to a full year before transitioning into the pupa stage, this will give them plenty of time to eat and grow.

Why are my mealworms turning black? ›

When pupae die and turn black, it's usually because the worms weren't given enough moisture with carrots or potatoes at the end of the larval stage. They need to store the moisture to last through pupation and will dehydrate and die if they didn't get enough. They are also very heat sensitive.

How do you make mealworms more active? ›

Allow the mealworms to stay at room temperature for about 24 hours. This will allow them enough time to “wake up” and become more active so that they can consume food and water. The mealworm bedding is their food source.

What happens if chickens eat too many mealworms? ›

They are a high-protein snack that chickens love, but too many can cause kidney disease and gout because they are high in protein. A small amount is ok- but remember, mealworms are about 50% protein, and a laying hen needs only 20 grams of protein per day.

Can you give chickens mealworms everyday? ›

As for how many dried mealworms you can feed them and how often… Treats should make up no more than 10% of your hen's daily food intake. So a beakful or two of dried in a day is more than enough. However you should make sure to switch up the treats, so only give them mealworms twice a week maximum.

Can you overfeed birds mealworms? ›

Expect to go through about 100 mealworms per day once birds know where to find them. It's also important to note that mealworms do not provide complete nutrition and should only be used as a supplemental food source, offered on a limited basis. Overfeeding can cause health issues for adults and young!

What do mealworms not eat? ›

Mealworms eat a variety of food, including vegetables, fruits, plants and grains, but they largely avoid onions and fruits from the citrus family.

Can mealworms eat rotten food? ›

They will eat grains, vegetables, any organic material, fresh or decaying. This plays a huge role in the ecosystem. Mealworms aid in the decomposition of any spoiled organic material.

Can mealworms bite? ›

Do Mealworms Bite? No. Like superworms, mealworms do have mandibles, but they seem to be too small and weak to be noticed by humans or reptiles if biting is attempted. Mealworm beetles also do not seem inclined or able to bite.

Do mealworms eat banana peels? ›

Once your mealies are set with their home base, you can go ahead and begin feeding them your food waste in the form of fruits & vegetables. There's no complex formula to this, because mealworms enjoy lettuce, potato peels, apples, banana peels, celery, even dragon fruit!

Do mealworms prefer salt or sugar? ›

Experiment # 5 - Salt or Sugar? As seen through our other experiments, members of our mealworm family have preferred sugary foods over saltier ones.

Do mealworms prefer sweet or salty? ›

In our second experiment, we tested whether the meal worms preferred sweet or salty. Our data concluded that the meal worms preferred the sweeter side over the salty.

How do I get rid of grain mites without killing mealworms? ›

When you get your bran or grain for your colony, you can bake it in the oven at 175° F for about 20 minutes to kill the mites. Let it cool completely before adding worms to it. The mites thrive in moist, warm conditions; so it's a good idea to leave your bins open and not put lids on them.

How do I keep ants from eating mealworms? ›

The bedding should be no more than 2" deep (we keep ours at 1.5") so that heat and moisture can escape through the bedding and not be 'trapped'. The heat, moisture, and castings are the perfect combination for bacteria or fungus to develop on your bedding material causing a bad odor - and attracting ants.

What is the best thing to keep mealworms in? ›

It is recommended to use a plastic or glass container, rather than a wood or cardboard, because mealworms can climb up or chew through wood. A clear container is best because it will let you see how much frass (waste) has accumulated.

Do meal worms need air holes? ›

Punch holes in the lid, as mealworms require lots of air. Every 2-3 weeks, take the mealworms out of the refrigerator for 24 hours and during that time, put something in with them for moisture, such as carrots or lettuce.

Why are my mealworms turning white? ›

Mealworms must molt in order to grow. The skin of the mealworm splits down the back and the mealworm slides out. When this happens, the mealworm is white. This is a sure sign that the mealworm has molted recently.

Can dried mealworms come back to life? ›

To rehydrate them, we've found the best method is a long soak in cold water for 4 to 8 hours (or overnight). You can also use hot or boiling water for a much faster 30-minute soak, but the hot water tends to break them up a bit more. Put the mealworms in a container, add water and stir them will to separate them.

Why is my mealworms curl up? ›

Pupa (Stage 3)

The mealworm larvae will appear to curl up and harden. You would be forgiven for mistaking them for dead but fear not, this is all part of their lifecycle. They will be pretty inactive at this stage, but when you pick them up they should wriggle.

Do mealworms need to be gut loaded? ›

For best results, gut-load your mealworms for at least 24 hours before feeding them to your pet.

What makes mealworms grow faster? ›

It takes 3 to 4 months for live mealworms to be fully grown. If you want to speed up their growth, you can increase the temperature accordingly. You can also have a constant supply of mealworms by having two or more worm trays. This way, you can grow mealworms in intervals and be able to harvest them regularly.

Can mealworms eat orange peels? ›

Mealworms posses a mighty appetite, and prefer to not be limited to the blandness of wheat bran. Go ahead and get a little wild, throw in some thrilling potatoes or some outrageous orange rinds, and check on them a few days later. Be amazed at the herbivorous power of the voracious mealworms!

What do giant mealworms turn into? ›

They have four stages of life: egg, larvae, pupa and adult beetle. Giant Mealworms eat and grow until they have stored sufficient energy to transform into a pupa ….. and then into a beetle.

Why won't my mealworms turn into beetles? ›

Any colder than 70° they will have slow metabolisms and it will take many, many weeks. Any warmer than 85° and they will become too warm, not allowing their metabolisms to slow enough for them to enter pupation.

Can mealworms carry parasites? ›

Mealworms effectively degrade biological waste and polystyrene foam [9]. The most common mealworm parasites include Gregarine spp., Hymenolepis diminuta and mites of the family Acaridae.

What are the white bugs in my mealworms? ›

One of the worst things that can happen to a mealworm farm is an infestation of grain mites. These tiny white creatures will be obvious when they swarm by the millions up and out of your worm trays.

How often do mealworms need water? ›

It's important to know that when storing the insects for an extended period of time, you should provide a water source every two weeks by removing them from the refrigerator, allowing them to warm up for an hour, and then placing thin slices of potatoes or carrots on top of the bedding for consumption.

Do mealworms prefer light or dark experiment? ›

Conclusion: Based on the results, it can be seen that the Mealworms prefer darker areas. This can be seen in the trends evident in the line graphs across the trials as well as in the end results.

Are mealworms more active at night? ›

Mealworms, Tenebrio molitor, are ectothermic creatures who are more active at night due to their nocturnal behaviors.

Can mealworms eat eggshells? ›

Sure you can save your egg shells, then you can sterilize the egg shells, then you can crush the egg shells and them to bird food, suet or mealworms.

Why shouldn't you feed chickens dried mealworms? ›

It is illegal to feed mealworms to chickens because they are a health risk to both the birds and the people consuming the meat and eggs produced by insect fed chickens. Mealworms may be contaminated with bacteria, viruses, fungi, pesticides, heavy metals and toxins.

Do mealworms make chickens lay more eggs? ›

You need to fortify your chickens' diet with enough protein if you want them to be healthy and produce more eggs. One of such proteinous foods is mealworms. Not only do mealworms boost your chickens' immunity and provide them with enough protein for increased egg production, but chickens also love eating them.

Do dried mealworms go bad? ›

Some examples of bird species that eat mealworms are: chickadees, cardinals, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and the occasional bluebird or American Robin. Dried mealworms do not spoil.

Why do chickens like mealworms so much? ›

Hens will love a mealworm here and there, as it increases the quality of their eggs. During molting, chickens need all the protein and fat they can get to regrow their feathers faster. Similarly, baby chicks can eat twice as many mealworms. They need the vitamins and nutrients in the worms for their development.

Do chickens need greens every day? ›

Providing a selection of fresh green foods will keep your hens in better condition. It will also improve the quality and vitamin content of the eggs. Those back garden keepers who also grow their own should have no problem in providing a dietary supplement in the form of a green salad each day.

Should you soak mealworms before feeding to birds? ›

You don't have to soak your dried mealworms in water before you use them. However, soaking them in warm water for 30 minutes before you offer them out is a brilliant way to give your garden birds some extra hydration.

Can you throw away live mealworms? ›

Never release feeder insects outdoors. To dispose of unwanted feeder insects, freeze the organisms (and all materials exposed to the organisms, such as bedding) for 3 days, then dispose of them in the trash.

How often should mealworms be fed? ›

You may feed the mealworms as much as you like – more food means more mealworms. Just be sure to feed them at least every few weeks to maintain a depth of around three inches.

What surface do mealworms prefer? ›

In conclusion, mealworms prefer cold, dry, low elevated environments.

What container is best for mealworms? ›

It is recommended to use a plastic or glass container, rather than a wood or cardboard, because mealworms can climb up or chew through wood. A clear container is best because it will let you see how much frass (waste) has accumulated.

Can mealworms escape a dish? ›

Live mealworms (just how your reptile likes them) wriggle around a lot, and in a normal feeding dish which is shallow and with no pronounced lip around the edge, mealworms are likely to be able to escape.

Can worms eat plastic? ›

What you need to know. Waxworms are the caterpillars of the greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella. These insects are common pests of apiaries and feed voraciously on honeycomb. Interestingly, they also voluntarily feed on polyethylene, a type of plastic commonly used in shopping bags.

What color do mealworms prefer? ›

We found that the preference color of mealworms was mostly blue. The percentage was 49% blue, 23% Green, 22% Yellow, and 13% Red.

Do mealworms prefer hot or cold? ›

The mealworms prefer temperatures around 70 degrees, but you don't. At 70 degrees, this encourages the mealworms to consume rapidly, which then causes them to transition into the darkling beetle. But, if you can refrigerate them, then that will cause them and their hormones to go dormant, ceasing their metamorphosis.

Do mealworms need air holes? ›

Punch holes in the lid, as mealworms require lots of air. Every 2-3 weeks, take the mealworms out of the refrigerator for 24 hours and during that time, put something in with them for moisture, such as carrots or lettuce.

Why can't chickens eat mealworms? ›

It is illegal to feed mealworms to chickens because they are a health risk to both the birds and the people consuming the meat and eggs produced by insect fed chickens. Mealworms may be contaminated with bacteria, viruses, fungi, pesticides, heavy metals and toxins.

Can you bring dried mealworms back to life? ›

To rehydrate them, we've found the best method is a long soak in cold water for 4 to 8 hours (or overnight). You can also use hot or boiling water for a much faster 30-minute soak, but the hot water tends to break them up a bit more. Put the mealworms in a container, add water and stir them will to separate them.

Can you overfeed mealworms? ›

It's also important to note that mealworms do not provide complete nutrition and should only be used as a supplemental food source, offered on a limited basis. Overfeeding can cause health issues for adults and young!

What should you never feed worms? ›

Avoid feeding the worms large quantities of meat, citrus, onions and dairy foods. Some processed food also contains preservatives, which discourage the worms from eating it. These foods won't harm your worms, but they will avoid them and those scraps will break down and rot in the bin.

What foods are toxic to worms? ›

What To Not Feed Worms
  • Meats, bones, fat and anything oily or greasy.
  • Dairy products including butter, sour cream, milk, whole eggs (egg shells are ok) and cheese.
  • Canned sauces, peanut butter and other processed food.
  • Citrus foods like lemons, limes and oranges.
  • Onions and garlic.
  • Spicy foods such as hot peppers.
25 Jun 2013

Do worms like cheese? ›

Worms can't digest meat proteins or lactose, so no dairy products either, like milk or cheese. While worms do like egg shells, the egg cannot go in the bin. Citrus and salt can actually harm the skin of the worms.

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