Mealworms are a highly popular source of live food for those inhabitants that are large enough to eat them and require a more protein based diet. Raising these mealworms is not hard at all yet will provide a rich meaty diet that is fully disease free.
In order to start growing mealworms in your own setup you may need to have two clean, unused containers that is about 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) or more deep, tight fitting lid for both containers that has plenty of ventilation such as a screen, mealworm culture, a food source such as chicken, a water source such as a wet sponge or a fruit, and some chicken laying crumbles.
- Place a 1-2 inches (2.54-5.08 centimeters) deep layer of the chicken laying crumbles on the bottom of the container to serve as not only a bedding, but also to serve as their initial food source. If you are unable to find any chicken laying crumbles, you can use other things such as small wood chips, or other common beddings for small animals. However, their food source would then have to be either a meat source, or anything that is decaying such as fruits, vegetables, cereals, and grains.
- Place the wet sponge (or if you used another type of water source) in a small, shallow bowl that they can access easily.
- Add the mealworm culture into the container, making sure to place to lid on top firmly such that any other bugs cannot get in to either eat them, or enjoy their environment and grow with them.
- Once the mealworms have reached a size that is smaller than your inhabitant’s mouth, but also not too big so that they may ignore them, start to harvest them. Make sure that if you are looking to keep this culture going to separate any beetles into the second container, treating them the same as the mealworms before their reached their harvesting size.
Feeding and Care
In order for them to grow up to their full size, we must feed them a proper diet so that they can be a rich diet for when you feed them to our inhabitants.
- When the chicken layer crumbles start to turn into a fine, powdered debris make sure to get as much of the old out before replacing it with a new layer. Check through the fine powdered debris that there are no mealworms hidden inside before throwing it away.
- If the wet sponge (or water source) is not moist to the touch anymore, replenish it with a new source of the same type.
- If you start to smell a strong odor of ammonia from any of the containers, it is time to fully clean them out (making sure to save the mealworms and check before throwing out all of the debris).
An easy way for you to save mealworms when doing a full container cleanup would be to place them all through a mesh screen of small enough size to catch the mealworms, but to allow for the fine powdered debris to pass through. Although this is not the best way to save all of the mealworms, it does involve little to no work and will still allow for you to save your culture for future harvests.