Anyone tried DRIED darkling beetle treats for hens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by urbanutah, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. urbanutah

    urbanutah Chirping

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    So, I bought a bag of dried darkling beetles at a well-known big box online store. I thought I would "mix-things-up" a little and add something new to my girls breakfast blend I make for them, which has a whole host of nutritious things in it. After the bag arrived, I decided to consult Dr. Google and read that "live" darkling beetles are bad and carry all sorts of horrid things and should not be fed to backyard chickens. What I purchased are dried beetles, not live. Fortunately, I keep a very clean coop and have a small flock and don't have a "live" darkling beetle problem. However, I'm concerned about adding these high protein dried darkling beetles to their breakfast blend and wonder if the dried beetles could expose my flock to the terrible diseases or parasites they carry even in their dried form? Can someone shed any light on this? I don't feed my girls mealworms, they get dried soldier fly larvae instead and I hoped these high protein dried darkling beetles would be a nice addition to their breakfast mix.
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

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    If the package says the beetles are adult meal worms, you have absolutely nothing to fear from them. Many of us raise our own colonies to feed to our flocks.

    There are approximately 20,000 kinds of darkling beetles. Many are perfectly safe, especially if you've obtained commercially processed dried beetles. The process would kill any pathogens lurking in them.

    The wild darkling beetles that lurk under rocks and around foundations may carry the harmful pathogens you are concerned about. Care should be taken to keep those away from your chickens. They are usually twice the size of meal worm beetles, easily distinguished from them.
     
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  3. urbanutah

    urbanutah Chirping

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    Thank you! The package does not say "adult mealworms," but I assume they are?? I've attached pics of the bag and the dried beatles. They are definitely commercially packaged, but I also just noted they say, "made in China," which is mildly concerning. The company that sells these sells mealworms, soldier fly larvae, etc. Logically, it would seem the process for drying them would kill any pathogens/parasites....I would think, but we all know what happens when we assume, lol. The picture of the dried beetles makes them appear larger than they actually are, they are approx. 1/4" each in reality, maybe a hair larger. I also read that darkling beetles die below 30 degrees and here in Utah it definitely gets well below that this time of year so any "darkling beetles" that may be living in my yard would be long dead by now. :) I've seen tiny little black beetles on rare occasions in my yard that are smaller than these dried ones, but they are few and far between. Screen Shot 2018-12-06 at 10.10.45 PM.png Screen Shot 2018-12-06 at 10.10.36 PM.png
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018
  4. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

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    Those are adult meal worm beetles. I doubt the Chinese could screw them up. I feed my dead beetles to my chickens and they enjoy them as much as the worms.

    Your local population of darkling beetles are able to survive freezing temps by burrowing into cracks in the soil and under rocks and foundations to live through the winters. After all, beetles have been around for millions of years and they'll be around for millions more after humans have become extinct, which may not be long off.
     
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  5. urbanutah

    urbanutah Chirping

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    You have been incredibly helpful and insightful. I couldn’t agree more about beetles and human beings. For now we have balance in our urban abode and all is well. :) Thank you!
     
  6. Chickassan

    Chickassan Wattle Fondler

    They're fine. As for your supplier iv'e fed from mealworms by the pound for a looong time their quality is pretty good for bulk even if it is chinese.:)
     
  7. urbanutah

    urbanutah Chirping

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    Thank you, that is good to know. I normally buy from another supplier, but this company’s prices are better in bulk. I added the dried beetles to this morning’s breakfast and the girls seemed to like them. I’m hoping the additional protein will help them wrap up their molting season. :)
     
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  8. SURPRISE: Darkling beetles whether wet, dried, alive , or deceased are the adult form of Meal Worms.

    I doubt that it matters whether the beetles are alive or dead they still will be infected with whatever internal parasite eggs or other disease organisms that these beetles possessed in life. Feeding dried Darkling Beetles is just another way that the producers of meal worms are able to pawn off their spent female darkling beetles once they have ceased to be productive layers of darkling beetle eggs. Sorry.

    The amount of darkling beetles that can live beneath the manure cap in a chicken house filled with meat chickens and their spilled chicken feed is enormous. Darkling Beetles a.k.a. Meal Worms can be grown and harvested from commercial chicken houses in enormous amounts.

    Darkling beetles are the NUMBER ONE insect pest in broiler houses in this country. An USDA inspector may get around to visiting any given overseas human organic food producer once in about every 5 to 7 years and even less if the host country will not allow them free access to the places that they wish to visit or see.

    Anyone want to give me odds on how often an USDA or FDA inspector visits the Factories that produce Meal Wormies/Darkling Beetles?

    Regardless of what some on this web sight may think I am not the crazy one on
    BYCdotCOM

     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
  9. urbanutah

    urbanutah Chirping

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    Good to know. I would hope that in a commercial production environment, these beetles would not harbor the same nasty things they would in an uncontrolled/wild environment, but who knows. I did do some checking and they are terminated and dried by an initial burst of high heat followed by lower convection heat to dehydrate them. While I'm not an entomologist/biologist, I do have some scientific background and the heat used to kill, then dry, these beetles would kill the vast majority, if not all, dangerous diseases, bacteria, or pathogens. I would also hope that a reputable supplier would not sell giant bags of these if they could endanger an entire flock. I'm going to give them a try and see how things go. My girls free-range every day and while I have a landscaped, urban backyard I'm sure they find a large variety of bugs, all of which carry a variety of bacteria, parasites, etc.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

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    I would leary of paying top dollar for the beetles as nutrient density is likely a lot less than with the larvae and even pupae.
     

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