Growing mealworms?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by HBHusbandry, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. HBHusbandry

    HBHusbandry Out Of The Brooder

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    I've had a mealworm bin going for quite some time now and I do not see much progress. I've had one good haul but have since not pulled any additional. I've heard apples are a good food source, but I've also heard that apples add too much moisture to the bin. So, I feed our mealworms carrots. They crawl all over the carrots and devour them!
    What I'm looking for is tips or tricks to grow more. It has been, at least, six months of attempt. Any suggestions? I add carrots every 3-4 days. What else should I being doing? Singing them lullaby songs at night?
    Thanks for any help you can provide!
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  2. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There's a very good (and long) mealworm thread. I don't have it handy, but it should be easy enough to find in the search.

    FWIW, my mealworm bin took about 9 months to get going. I had a huge die off at one point, I think I hadn't fed them carrots enough when they started to multiply. So I mostly left it alone (no harvesting) except for the carrots for about 4-5 months. Now, about a year later, it's going very strong. There's one section of the bin that they will devour a whole carrot, nada, nothing left in about 2 days. Other areas take a couple/three days longer.

    Supposedly, keeping the bin in a 80-85F temp area will allow for the most growth. I keep mine in the basement, where it swings from 60-70F during winter and a bit higher in summer. Even in these lower temps, I must have 10-15000 worms in there now, hundreds of beetles. I harvest probably about 1/2 or so a week. Next summer I think I will move it to the garage, where it will be much warmer, yet still dark and protected from direct sun.

    Another thought for you could be your wheat bran. I have heard of a few people claim their worms failed to thrive due to bran from wheat sprayed with pesticides. With conventional (vs organic) crops, you can never know just how much or what kind of pesticides they might have used. And it's certainly feasible that even if there isn't enough pesticide to actually kill the worms, it may lead to defects, slow growth, etc. There's a chance that the farmer used very little or no pesticide, but you can never know unless you knew the farmer yourself.
     
  3. HBHusbandry

    HBHusbandry Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks so much for the information. I will rethink the bran piece of my bins. I know, for sure, that temperature is not an issue. I keep the set-up in the room with our incubators which is warmer than the rest of the house.

    I'll hunt for the mealworm thread to learn a little more.

    Thank you!
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    That pic looks to be all frass(poop) and no bran bedding at at all??

    I use apples in winter(when it's dry in the house and fruit flies and humidity are not a problem) and carrots in summer for moisture/food. Wheat bran for bedding/food heat treated in oven to kill any grain mites.


    Here's the mealworm thread...lots of good info there:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/492636/mealworm-farming
     
  5. HBHusbandry

    HBHusbandry Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the thread @aart! We ground up feed and oats in food processor. Project for today. . . Read thread and take action.
     
  6. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You might be there for a while, I think it took me about 2 weeks to piecemeal my way through that thread!

    You'll gather though through the thread that wheat bran seems to be the most recommended food/bedding for the worms. It's worked great for me but I haven't tried anything else. I would think that things like oats and chicken feed could end up being too dense/heavy for the worms and especially the beetles, making it difficult for them to move around in it. Wheat bran is incredibly light, and they move through it rather quickly.

    Also, like aart said, I first thought it looked like it was mostly frass in the photo, but I looked again and I thought differently. If it is mostly frass, you'll surely want to add some more oats/feed/wheat bran as soon as possible. I didn't need to add any for about 7 months, now with the larger population, I'm adding more wheat bran about every 3-4 weeks.
     

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