Anyone raise mealworms? I have a problem!!


the bird is the word
11 Years
Sep 14, 2008
Adair Co., KY
I checked my worm bins today, and one of them has MOLD!!
I know I've read that I shouldn't feed the worms to the chickens, cause it can kill them, and that the mold can kill the bugs? I changed the substrate, and was going to trash the 'bad' batch, but there are tons of teeny tiny worm babies!

Do I have to toss it, or can I wait till the worms are big enough to get out of it? I took out the bigger parts that had mold, but I'm sure there are more smaller areas in there that I didn't get.

I would really hate to toss them, since my other bin doesn't have any babies that I can tell. I'm mostly at all-bugs right now, except for these babies.
I would take out as much moldy stuff as you can and put in fresh. I would think by the time the worms are grown the mold they ingested would of passed through them.
I had a carrot get mold I just scraped out that area and tossed it.
Shelly, do you have a very fine strainer? dump the bedding with the babies in there and strain out the babies and put them in new fresh bedding. they should be fine! as long as you get rid of the bedding.
That's too bad about your mold problem!
I doubt you're going to get rid of it just by picking or sifting out the moldly substrate. You could try that, but I think it's unlikely to be successful. If I were you, I would by hand or with tongs pick the beetles from that box and put them in fresh substrate. Then at least the eggs they lay and your future worms would most likely be mold free in that new box.

You're going to also want to look at what went wrong to cause the mold in the first place. Do you have adequate vents on your container? How deep and what kind of substrate are you using? What is your moisture source? Is it really humid where you live now?

That sounds frustrating, especially since you were just getting baby mealies! You can take some consolation in the fact that at worst you'll have more baby mealies in 3 or 4 more weeks. Good luck.
In the first post I said that I already took the beetles and the few 'big enough to see' worms out and changed the substrate. But in the process of digging the bugs out, I noticed that there were small worms in there, about the width of 2 or 3 hairs. I was going to just dump the whole lot of substrate until I noticed the babies, so now I'm wondering if it's okay to keep the babies in the 'old' bedding until they are big enough to get out

The container has about 15 1/4" holes in the top, and it's a shoebox container, so I'm sure it has plenty of ventilation. The problem was that I was using potatoes for their 'food' and I decided to put the potato in there cut-side down instead of peel-side down like I had been doing. Plus I live in Kentucky, it's always humid in the summer here.

The substrate is mostly whole-grain rice and oatmeal, with some flock raiser added, all ground up in the blender of course. The most readily available moisture source is potatoes (always have those lying around), so that's what I've been using. They have some carrots now, but I don't normally have carrots on hand.
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Oh, I guess I wasn't reading carefully!

Yes, you're probably right. The baby mealies will probably grow fine until large enough to sift out.

I prefer screen vents over holes, because if the holes are large enough to provide adequate ventilation, they can let other bugs in, but you're probably OK in that regard.

The shallower the substrate, the less moisture it can hold. I usually use 1 to 1 1/2 inches. I think I recall someone saying not to use corn meal or the like, I think because it can mold more easily? You will have to watch it being in a humid climate. I use a bunch of small containers, you know, kind of the "don't put all your eggs in one basket" sort of thing.

It sounds like you've got it well under control. Good luck!
I have 2 seperate bins (3 if you count the one the babies are in now), so I completely understand about not keeping all the eggs in one basket! One of them does have window screen over it instead of the lid, I couldn't find dad's drill when I was setting that one up
The one with the mold was obviously not this one
The only problem with the screen is that I had the bins under the sink in the bathroom and the rats are coming in
They found the bins, and pushed the screen in on top of the worms/bugs. The way I noticed is that I was sweeping the bathroom floor and found a mealie.
They were crawling out of the bin on the wire. I've found a few more worms and some bugs crawling around, hopefully I've gotten them all and they don't infest something! I'm sure dad would just LOVE that!

My substrate is probably 1 inch, maybe 1 1/2, but I don't think so. So right now, I have 2 shoebox-sized plastic containers with mostly bugs in them, then I have the babies in an ice cream bucket
Think that'll work?
use a screen on the top to get good air exchange

you can set up a empty aquarium to sort them out of the moldy bedding
drop the moldy stuff in one end and but a little fresh food in the other with a moisture source and let is sit for a few days the little worms will work their way over to the fresh food in a day or too the just scoop them out

i use game bird starter for substrate mixed with brain flakes and brewers yeast
for moisture and a slice of potato or apple for moisture a small slice replace this every other day or so

hope this helps
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