How do I harvest mealworms?

swamphiker

Songster
Feb 24, 2020
378
674
161
Florida
I grow my own mealworms for my chickens and find it to be both easy and fun. There are a lot of guides on the internet, here is one that I found helpful: https://www.instructables.com/id/Mealworm-Farm/

My set-up isn't quite as elaborate as the one here, but I like this guide because it discusses mealworms' needs at different life stages. Mealworms can be pretty easy, they basically just need two things: food (wheat bran, oats, chick starter) and water (carrots, apples, other veggies). Separating different life stages into different bins is a big help as well to keep things organized and minimize predation.
 

Cluckstar

Chirping
May 27, 2020
68
129
96
Norfolk County, Ontario, Canada
I started one too, I'll attach a link to my YouTube video of when I first set it up. I started it eight months ago and now have THOUSANDS of mealworms in all different life stages. They are so easy to get started and the life cycle continues on and on without much effort. I haven't filmed an update video, but the set-up in the video is exactly the same as what I have going on now. I rotate the boxes every month. The beetles get new bedding and their old bedding gets mixed in with my other mealworm bins. This prevents the beetles from snacking on the newly hatched mealworms. QUICK NOTE; I feed in larger chunks than I did in the video and I change out the food once per week, not every day.

 
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ChickForLife

Walking my Chicken
Apr 22, 2020
6,627
29,603
866
🌲Connecticut🌲
Okay, so I finished my setup, thank you @Cluckstar, @Perris, and @swamphiker (I did a combination of all of your ideas), an now I was wondering what size mealworm I should get? I was wondering the benefits of bigger or smaller mealworms? Also, what are super worms and are they an option? Thank you!
 

swamphiker

Songster
Feb 24, 2020
378
674
161
Florida
I would be wary of super worms, they are often treated with insect hormone mimics so that they grow to be extra large larvae. If that is the case, they won't pupate or become adults and therefore won't be useful for starting a colony. However, people have bred varieties of mealworms that grow really big without the hormones, but just make sure to have a reputable seller and ask questions if you are looking at superworms.

I'm not 100% sure that I am understanding your question, but the starting size of larvae doesn't make too much of a difference. The large larvae are usually what is available for sale, since that is what most people feed to their reptiles and chickens. Large larvae shouldn't take much additional time to pupate. Sometimes you can also find adults for sale, which further decreases the time it will take you to breed more worms.
 

FeatherLace

Chirping
Apr 7, 2020
372
451
93
Waycross, Georgia
My mealworm bed was extremely simple since they go quite fast. I just took a small plastic tub, filled it completely with plain oatmeal, and would put things like potatoes and cricket drink in it. They thrived. Probably weren't the happiest with their setup, but theyre only chicken (and hedgehog) snacks. They didn't live long enough outside of a belly to complain lol
 

ChickForLife

Walking my Chicken
Apr 22, 2020
6,627
29,603
866
🌲Connecticut🌲
I would be wary of super worms, they are often treated with insect hormone mimics so that they grow to be extra large larvae. If that is the case, they won't pupate or become adults and therefore won't be useful for starting a colony. However, people have bred varieties of mealworms that grow really big without the hormones, but just make sure to have a reputable seller and ask questions if you are looking at superworms.

I'm not 100% sure that I am understanding your question, but the starting size of larvae doesn't make too much of a difference. The large larvae are usually what is available for sale, since that is what most people feed to their reptiles and chickens. Large larvae shouldn't take much additional time to pupate. Sometimes you can also find adults for sale, which further decreases the time it will take you to breed more worms.
People offer different sizes of mealworm like 1/4 in, 1/2 in, and 1 in. I was wondering which size is best?
 

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