any mealworm breeding cycle experts out there?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Sep 21, 2009
I did a little research online this morning and couldn't find a good answer to this.

How long does it take for a mealworm beetle after emerging to mate and/or lay it's eggs?

Does a beetle continue to lay eggs or is it a one shot deal?

I have heard that the mature beetles will start to eat the eggs so i was hoping to figure out when to remove them (and feed them to the chickens of course!)

Thanks for any help.
I grow my own (mostly for bluebirds) and I believe the beetle life cycle is 2 weeks. I don't know if they lay continually or not, but I leave them in there. Rarely do I give the beetles to the chickens. Guess I could do that!
I have two small rubbermade clear bins, possibly called shoeboxes??
Anyways.. I have a good 3inch layer of coconut fiber, about 1inch of bran buds and layered a few pieces of thick bark on top. I put in apple cores, pepper peices and any other veggies or fruit, they eat most of it. I originaly bought approx 50worms, then added about 15 to 20 more when the beetles starting laying. Just add the worms in, no need to cover them unless the soils are too close to the top. You will see them mount each other. I dont seperate them, but occasional switch over the bark so their is a mixing of bloods going on. I just pick out the worms when they are big. I have had them breeding to feed our gecko for over a year, and havnt added new worms since one month in... and still have tons of worms, beetle and the inbetweeners... keep them near heat too, that makes everything grow faster
hope this helps. once you get started and get things going it is pretty simple. takes a bit to get started, but with patience you will be a pro
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I bought 5000 mealworms last year to start my own colony to feed to my chickens as an extra nutrient treat source. I have a huge tub that I put chicken crumble, ground up oatmeal, grits, wheatgerm, and I mix it up sometimes and add different other items with extra nutrients. I use my egg shells to make an added source of calcuim for my girls as well, I add this to the mix also as well as ground up shredded wheat and so many different items to the feed. The worms eventually turn to the pupae stage and then turn into the beetles. I did take the pupae out and put them into a separate container so that way that the worms won't eat the pupae (because they are immobile until they morph into the beetle.) I then in take our the beetles from the pupae container because they to will eat the pupae (and then you will get no new worms) I will be quite honest that I have not actually kept up with the length of the stages of the worms life, but I have gone through a whole cycle of worm, pupae, beetle cycle ( and I got my worms in like August of 2009). From the 2nd set of beetles I have new worms. I have 2 smaller tubs that I have beetles in and they both have baby worms in them. I do not separate the beetles from the eggs, because frankly I have 3 tubs already and I use my kids bathroom for storage of my mealworms. I have read that beetles lay on average of 500 eggs in their lifetime (and their life is not that long) but that is alot of eggs if you have thousand of worms that eventually turn into beetles. It doesn't seem to take long for them to mate, because even though you can't see the eggs, if you have beetles then you have eggs and therefore they will turn into the worm. It is actually quite fun to raise them. I have to get ready to clean out the one tub and move everyone into the new tub, but it is a process and at first I kinda didn't want to give them to my chickens (but I got over that pretty quick) they actually love them and will jump off the ground to grab them out of my hands. And they are good for the chickens also as long as you are making their subtrate out of good nutrient stuff. Oh and I also use potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, and any other type of food that is good for them. (and that is for moisture and the worms will dig in and eat whatever you put out for them).

Hope this helps you at least a little! I did a lot of reading and still do to keep me up to date on what I can do to improve the quality of the treat for my girls.

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