All beetles, no mealworms. WHY?

mountaintopchicken

Songster
12 Years
May 23, 2007
353
9
141
I started a mealworm farm at the end of last summer with 2000 meal worms. They are on wheat bran in a rubber made tub with occasional carrots or potatoes for moisture.

I have consistently seen beetles active at the top, but hardly ever a meal worm - only one or two. I know this is impossible, because the beetles must be coming from meal worms, they obviously aren't the ones I started with, but I don't see the worms at all. And by now I thought the bin would have thousands of them for my birds.

What is going on here?
 

redhen

Kiss My Grits...
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
May 19, 2008
35,106
190
458
Western MA
You just have to wait the cycle out....
the beetles will lay the eggs and baby mealworms will be born....
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HEChicken

Crowing
11 Years
Aug 12, 2009
7,552
208
356
BuCo, KS
My Coop
My Coop
That does seem odd. I only started mine this winter with 50 mealworms - a slightly smaller operation than yours
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I was happy to see pupae within about 10 days of getting the mealies, and shortly after that, saw my first beetle. I went for awhile where there didn't seem to be any new mealworms, but it turned out they were so small I just wasn't seeing them. Yesterday I went to remove some of the older dried out pieces of potato only to find the undersides covered in little baby mealworms. I bet you have them in there - you're just not seeing them.

I'm not sure how long the beetles live, but I am surprised by how many I still have - and mine are from the originals because none of the babies is big enough yet....
 

redhen

Kiss My Grits...
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
May 19, 2008
35,106
190
458
Western MA
yes..DONT toss out the beetle bedding..it is boud to be FULL of eggs and teeny tiny worms.... it takes a while for the worms to grow big enough for you to see them...
 

mountaintopchicken

Songster
12 Years
May 23, 2007
353
9
141
I wonder if temperature is a factor - it's been in a cooler room for the winter so that it would be out of the way. I am hoping the bedding is chock full of little mealies. Maybe the development has just been really really slow? Seems as though August to March would be time enough to get mealies galore...
 

HEChicken

Crowing
11 Years
Aug 12, 2009
7,552
208
356
BuCo, KS
My Coop
My Coop
Good point. I keep my house pretty cool so I actually took the mealies to DH's office, where they keep it warm - sometimes too warm for us but perfect for the bugs. DH wouldn't admit it, but he's been really interested in observing them and checking on them every day. He even positioned his webcam to show me what they were up to one day....
 

redhen

Kiss My Grits...
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
May 19, 2008
35,106
190
458
Western MA
yes, temps matter..they go kinda dormant in cold weather..
i just moved mine by my heater..and i have a TON of pupa now...
 

cluckcluck42

Songster
10 Years
Oct 4, 2009
1,635
8
151
Quebec
Hey we just bought 100 mealworms today on a whim, I was thinking of using a large margarine container with chicken feed and wheat flour as bedding for them. Would this be okay? I've read so many conflicting instructions on the internet as to what will work. How do you know when to remove the adults to another container?
 

Siler

Songster
9 Years
Jan 25, 2010
298
2
121
Central Indiana
Please forgive me but is there a link somewhere on how to do the mealworm breeding process? I'd like to try this. Where would I get the wheat bran? Thanks in advance.
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OrpingtonManor

Building the Castle
11 Years
Nov 15, 2008
2,890
14
201
Martinez, CA
there was a fantastic thread on here about cultivating mealworms. I think it was by Nifty. I'll see if I can dig it up.
eta- I can't find it. The search doesn't go back far enough, so I'm not sure where it went. Maybe got swept up in the spring cleaning. Nifty? Nifty?
 
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